The Earl Gregg Swem Library (colloquially Swem Library) is located on Landrum Drive at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The library is named for Earl Gregg Swem, College Librarian from 1920-1944. In 2008, the Princeton Review rated William & Mary's library system as the eighth best in the United States. The ranking was based on a survey of 120,000 students from 368 campuses nationwide.
Detailed discussions of plans for the library were held in 1963 and the groundbreaking ceremonies were held later that year on October 11, 1963, at Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall. The actual groundbreaking occurred a few weeks after the ceremonies. The cornerstone of the library was laid on October 22, 1964, and the building was scheduled for completion around December 1965. The building officially opened on January 4, 1966, although it was not fully complete. The official dedication ceremony for the library was held on Charter Day, February 12, 1966. The Tucker-Coleman Room of the library was dedicated on November 11, 1966.
At the time of its completion, the ground floor of Swem Library contained the Botetourt Gallery, an auditorium, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture offices, a rare book room, an honors room, a museum, an audio/visual department, a film preview room, and a faculty lounge. The first floor contained a reserve room, an after-hours reading room, a reference department, and typing and meeting rooms. The second floor contained administration rooms, conference rooms, and stacks. There was a fire in the Botetourt Theater in 1972 that destroyed a projection booth. A Micro Computer Lab opened in the library on February 13, 1984.
Construction officially began on an addition to the front of the library on March 3, 1986, to provide extra stack space, reading areas, administrative offices, and a 24-hour study room and snack area. O.K. James Construction Co. led construction. The addition was dedicated on February 5, 1988. A seven-year renovation and expansion was officially completed in 2005 with rededication ceremonies officially marking the completion on February 5, 2005, during the College's Charter Day weekend.
The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) of the Earl Gregg Swem Library of the College of William and Mary defines the history of the University and promotes and preserves the scholarly pursuits of its faculty, students, alumni, visiting scholars, and friends. The SCRC contributes to the College's scholarly reputation by providing the rare books and unique manuscript and archival materials that make primary research possible. The SCRC is located in the Warren E. Burger Special Collections Wing of Swem Library.