Monday, June 3, 2013

165. Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter NH

I've seen this library called The Class of 1945 Library, The Friends of the Academy Library, The Louis Kahn Library, and The Library at Philips Exeter Academy. By any name, it is amazing. It is reputed to have the largest collection of any secondary school worldwide. My short walk through a couple of levels certainly won't do it justice, but I'll list a few things I noticed and include more pictures than usual in these posts. If this whets your appetite, go to for the full story.

The central area of the library is dominated by a large oval table, a Harkness table, named for a former teacher who taught his classes--no more than about 12 students, I believe--at tables like this. The same teaching method is used today. See for pictures and more information. This central area also houses a very large card catalog, with a note that no additions have been made since July 1994; after that date, the catalog was computerized.

The library is built of a delightful combination of stone, wood, brick, and steel. Seniors have assigned study carrells built of wood, with locking compartments. [$50 if you fail to turn in your key at the end of the year!]

There was a display near the entrance describing a custom I really like: Senior Bookmarks. Seniors provide a list of about six books that they feel have been very important to them. Those books are listed on a very attractive book mark for each person, with a quotation at the top. The display included many of the books students have listed. Unfortunately, no bookmarks were available; as of noon today, they were two weeks late back from the printer...oops.

For more information, go to

6/3/2013, car, with Mary and Victoria


  1. Hello. How do you do? I'm pleased to meet you :D
    I am Chloe^^
    I am a 15 year old girl living in South Korea.
    I am looking forward to study abroad in the U.S.A.
    It was good to see your post about libraries. :)
    I'm so with you!!
    Is this library opened to people who don't go to Philips Exceter??
    If so I want to visit here and read some books too!!><

    1. Hello, Chloe. I'm very happy that you found my blog about libraries.
      Anyone may visit the library at Philips Exeter, but to borrow books there you would have to be a student. Is that where you are going to study when you come to the U.S.A.?
      If you are not going to study at Philips Exeter, don't worry. Every city and almost every town, even small towns, has a library. You will always be able to find a library to visit and read books.
      I hope you will see this reply and tell me where you plan to study. Are you a high school student or a college student?


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