Library in the Nott Memorial

In 1796, the Board of Trustees approved the purchase of books for Union College and thus began the library. Through out the nineteenth century, its resources were supplemented by those of a number of College literary societies, whose materials eventually were incorporated into the general library collection. From 1903 until 1961 when the current building was completed, the central library was located in the Nott Memorial. In the summer of 1961, the books were transferred to what is now known as Schaffer Library. A major expansion and renovation was completed in 1998.

Schaffer Library is a modern building with 110,000 square feet of space and shelving capacity for over 500,000 print volumes. Materials are also housed in the College’s Hattie Street storage facility and the Adirondack Research Library at the Kelly Adirondack Center located at 897 St. David’s Lane in Niskayuna, NY. The Schaffer Library provides over 600 seats including individual study carrels, study tables, group study rooms, and comfortable lounge furniture. The Library has wireless access to the Internet throughout the building and over 50 computer workstations. The Learning Commons on the 1st floor and the Learning Lab on the 2nd floor provide workstations with a robust selection of software programs from Microsoft Office, SPSS, Adobe, ArcGIS, MATHETICA and JMP. The Idea Lab in the basement is a student-designed space to facilitate collaboration and innovation. Four of the group study rooms are equipped with audio-visual and computer technology to enhance collaboration with on campus and off campus partners. There is also a film-editing suite in the basement.


The Schaffer Library offers rich collections and thoughtfully designed 21st century physical and virtual learning spaces that broaden educational experiences beyond the traditional classroom. The library fosters student research and engagement through collaborative faculty, community, and organizational partnerships, and through its commitment to diversity in its collections and hiring decisions.


We contribute proactively to the educational mission of Union College by providing services, information resources, technology, and unique historic and cultural collections for students, faculty and the Union community; by educating our users to engage critically and productively with an evolving and complex information ecosystem; by inspiring creativity through the design of an inclusive, intellectually rich, and welcoming physical environment; and by collaborating with and contributing to the world-wide community of scholars.