About the Library

Welcome to the A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center

Smith Library Center’s mission is to help students in their quest to discover and reinterpret knowledge by acquiring or providing those portions of the intellectual record necessary to support undergraduate student’s research.

The Main collection has roughly 390,000 print volumes selected for the research needs and academic support of our students, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Smith Library Center has 1,124,848 total holdings. Check out our catalog and databases to see all the eBooks, streaming media, and online journals we have to offer. 

The library building has three floors. The first floor provides most of the services, while the second and third floors contain the Main collections, Special Collections, and many study rooms and meeting spaces. 

There are 5 alcoves in the library, two on the 1st floor, three on the third floor.

Computers on the 1st floor area are for student use.  All have internet access and the Microsoft Office suite. The library has wifi throughout, so you can use your device anywhere, including our brand new outdoor decks, with ease. 

The library’s website is the main access point for journal articles, the library catalog, and information about library staff and services.

Printers are located on each floor of the library. Wireless printing is available from your personal laptop. Only Southwestern students, faculty, and staff, are allowed printing privileges. 

A Brief History of the Library Building(s)

Cody Memorial Library

The original library on the Southwestern University  campus, was named for Claude Carr Cody, a former teacher and Dean. The building was “financed through funds accumulated by the university…and a grant from the Public Works Administration. The grant was obtained through the cooperation of the Georgetown City Council and was guided through the maze of federal agencies and politics by Congressman Lyndon Johnson. Its formal opening was held November 26, 1939” (Jones, 1973, p.316, 318).

In 1966, a second story was added to the library building. Air-conditioning was installed, and the original section of the library was refurbished. This renovation provided “sixty-nine carrels for individual study, two seminar rooms, and four small informal study rooms” (Jones, 1973, p.326).

The A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center

In 1988, another addition was built to the library, doubling its size and allowing for an “academic computing center, language and graphics laboratories, and a wing of five classrooms.” This new iteration was named after A. Frank Smith, Jr., a university Trustee and Board chair (Jones, 2006, p.506). 

In 2013, the InfoDesk was added to the library, replacing the Circulation Desk, while providing a centralized location for all of Southwestern students, faculty, and staff to access library, technology, and audio/visual services and resources. In 2017, SU Makerspace Studios were created, providing spaces and tools for 3D printing, audio recording, and video creation.  

During the summer of 2019, the first floor commons area of the library was completely renovated. New librarian offices were added, an automated coffee & snack bar replaced an older coffee lounge, and the Debby Ellis Writing Center moved into an updated and refurbished room.  LED lighting and new power outlets were  added. Two banks of new computers finished out the space. 


Jones, R. W. (1973). Southwestern university, 1840-1961. Jenkins Pub.

Jones, W. B. (2006). To survive and excel : the story of Southwestern university, 1840-2000. Southwestern University.