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John Hay Library

John Hay Library Renovation Update:
The John Hay Library is closed for a major renovation. Staff are spending the summer months preparing the newly renovated building for reopening in early September 2014. Due to the enormous amount of work involved in re-shelving materials and reorienting staff and services in the new space, requests for assistance during the summer (June-August) will be reserved for research related to Brown University’s 250th anniversary.
There will be no other Special Collections services during Summer 2014.

250th Anniversary Researchers:
Please contact the University Archives ( for reference or access assistance.
See Accessing University Archives for appointment information.

Faculty needing Special Collections for Fall 2014 courses:
Please contact the Library at immediately.
The John Hay Library will reopen in early September 2014, at which time the Special Collections Reading Room and reference services will resume.

Please visit the renovation website for additional information.

The John Hay Library houses the University Library's collections of rare books and manuscripts, the University Archives, and many special collections on a wide variety of topics. Notable areas of strength include American literature and popular culture, political and diplomatic history, the history of science, and book arts and graphics.

The John Hay Library opened in November 1910, serving from that time until 1964 as the main library of the University. It was designed in the English Renaissance style by the eminent Boston architectural firm of Shepley Rutan & Coolidge. The Library is named for John Hay, class of 1858, who served as Abraham Lincoln’s private secretary during the Civil War and later became Secretary of State. His papers and personal library form part of the collections at the John Hay.