In developing our collections, our primary mission is to support the current curricular, teaching, and research information needs of our faculty and students. Our collections include print materials as well as digital collections. As a small liberal arts college library, we cannot own everything that is needed, but we have partnerships that allow us to expand access to resources through Interlibrary Loan, our membership in HathiTrust as well as the Center for Research Libraries. For more information on our collections see our page on Collections Management and Policy.
Keep up to date with our collections – Quarterly Collections Newsletter
New Books – list of new arrivals
New titles will be found listed in our discovery system. In the library, new titles are found on the main level. Shelves are located behind the service desk on either side of the doors leading to the back work area.
Don’t see a book you need?
Use this online form to suggest a book or request a purchase.
Ongoing Collection Management Project
We have an ongoing review of our collections in order to maintain adequate space and keep the collections current. Information about our Collections Management Project will be found on our Library Guide Library Collection Review.
DeWitt Wallace Library is no longer accepting donations of printed books or journals. There are three exceptions to this policy:
- The College Archives welcomes materials that document the origins, developments, activities, achievements and people of the College.
- Donations of unique and rare materials will continue to be accepted and reviewed by our Archivist and Special Collections Librarian.
- The Library welcomes donations of new books authored by Macalester faculty, staff and alumni.
We do provide a means for those who are interested to Donate Books for a Cause – Better World Books
Located on the east side of second level of the library (facing Kirk Residence Hall) next to the library office, the Archives/Rare Books Rooms are where college historical documents and materials that are rarer in nature are kept. These areas are available by appointment only. You may read more information on the Archives Home page
Film, Video, DVD Collection
The Library maintains a collection of more than 9,000 film and video titles. We also provide streaming videos through a variety of vendors including Kanopy, Films on Demand, Alexander Street Press, and Swank. View a list of our streaming resources here.
By far the largest collection in the library is the general collection, or Mac Stacks. The general collection is located on the lower level, third and fourth levels. Materials are arranged by Library of Congress call numbers (using both letters and numbers) beginning with the A’s on the north end of fourth level to the Z’s on the south end of the third level. Here is the general breakdown of what call numbers can be found on which level:
Level 4 – call numbers beginning with A-KC
Level 3 – call numbers beginning with KD – Z, Oversize
Lower Level – call numbers Art N1-NX, Music M1-MT, Bound Periodicals
The Great Scots collection is located in the Harmon Room on the main floor of the library. It celebrates the scholarly and creative works produced by Macalester faculty, students, staff, and alumni. The collection includes the most recent five years of publications. The titles migrate to the stacks after they have been on display for five years.
To save on space and to better preserve some materials, they have been converted to microfilm or microfiche. These materials include newspapers like the NY Times and government materials like older census records. These materials are located across from the lower level information desk. Microform equipment is located nearby for use with these materials.
The Periodicals collection includes the many magazines, scholarly journals, and newspapers to which our library subscribes. This collection can actually be found in two different locations: newer issues are kept on the south end of the main level; and older issues are kept on the lower level of the library. In both cases, they are arranged in alphabetical order by title. Bound periodicals now circulate and may be checked out by library users.
The Library also provides access to electronic subscription journals, magazines, newspapers, etc. Online versions can be found and/or accessed via WorldCat Discovery or individual research databases on the Research Databases page.
Some materials are just physically too large to fit on the regular shelving. These materials are kept on special shelving located at the end of the general collection on the third level.
Located in the north alcove on the first floor, the Popular Reading Collection includes newly purchased materials and items that are more popular in nature. This collection is where you’d find that latest suspense novel or controversial new nonfiction title that everyone is talking about.
Collections in the Rare Books Room in the Library include materials spanning from the 13th century to the present, including works that are rare, valuable, unique, or that require special handling. For more information, please see the Rare Books page.
The Reference collection is located on the main level of the library near the Service Desk. It includes information sources such as encyclopedias, almanacs, atlases and dictionaries that are frequently used by reference librarians in assisting library users. Generally speaking, these materials cannot be checked out by library users and must be used in the building.
The Reserves collection is located behind the service desk and includes high use materials that have been identified by faculty as being needed by a class. In collaboration with Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) the library maintains a textbook reserve program which offers limited copies of select textbooks for short term checkout.
The library’s sound recordings are located in the south reading room on the first floor. The library also provides online music services. See our list of music resources.
Located on level one near the entrance to the library and across from the service desk, the Wellness collection aims to support wellness efforts for the entire Macalester community. Items in this collection cover topics such as physical fitness, stress management, diet, meal planning, mental health, aging, and caregiving.
The Wood Collection is our library’s children’s book collection. It is located in a room north end of the second level of the library between the BI Room and the elevator. The Wood Collection includes all of the Caldecott Medal Winners and all the Newberry Medal winners as well as a wide selection of other children’s book titles. Wood Collection books may be checked out.