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Library Orientation for New Students: Home

Welcome to Vassar and the Vassar College Libraries!

To the VC class of 2027 and our transfer students: Welcome! We're so happy you're here, and we look forward to getting to know you and work with you throughout your years at Vassar. 

We hope that you'll find this guide for new students helpful. We've compiled essential information to assist you in navigating the Vassar libraries. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with us! You can find lots of ways to contact librarians through our Ask a Librarian page. 

2023 Common Reading Guide

This year's Common Reading is Year of the Tiger by Alice Wong. Interested in reviews, interviews, and related resources? Check out this guide

Get to Know the Vassar Libraries

A Message from the Director of the Libraries

Welcome to the Vassar College Libraries!! I have always loved getting lost in libraries; exploring amazing collections, finding comfortable places to work, and encountering new ideas that inspire and challenge me. I know that Vassar's libraries can offer you the same experiences, and I hope you find your time here exciting and fulfilling.

Even though we try to make the libraries as welcoming and accessible as possible, it can be daunting to try to find the right resources for your class assignments, papers, and projects. You can always contact a librarian for assistance, whether it is for help finding the right book, ideas on how to get started on a research project, or any other help you might need to get started in the right direction.

I look forward to meeting many of you in the months and years to come! You can find me in room 142 of the Library, if you ever have any questions or suggestions. 

Andy Ashton

Director of the Libraries


Vassar College Thompson Library

This is a photo of the Main (Thompson) Library. It's just one of the libraries at Vassar; there's also the Archives & Special Collections Library (located inside the Main Library), the Art Library (connected to the Main Library), and the Music Library (located in the Belle Skinner Hall of Music). Collectively, these are the Vassar College Libraries. You'll probably find that people use "the library" and "the libraries" interchangeably. It can be confusing at first, but it's one of the ways we highlight that there are multiple amazing collections and spaces that are available to the Vassar community, and that the library is so much more than a pretty building (although our buildings are definitely beautiful!).

What does a new student absolutely need to know about the libraries? 

  • Stop by the Main Library during orientation week to learn about the libraries and get to know our fabulous people, collections, and services! 
  • Your Vassar ID card is your library card. You'll need to have it with you to check out books (and to get into library buildings). 
  • Library Search will help you discover the books, journals, databases, films, musical scores, and more that the libraries have to offer.
  • Your professors have put many course readings "on reserve" for you. You can search by course number, course name, or your professor's name in Library Search to see what's in the libraries, and consult your course Moodle to find online reserve materials. When in doubt, ask your professor!
  • If you're off campus, you still have access to all of the libraries' online resources. This includes ebooks, journals, databases, streaming video and audio, and more. Go to our Off-Campus page to sign in and get connected.
  • We're here to help you! If you ever have a question about the libraries, check out our Ask a Librarian page and don't hesitate to get in touch! 

There's a librarian for every subject at Vassar! Each department or program has a "liaison librarian" who helps connect students and faculty with library resources and services that are relevant to their needs. 

During your time at Vassar, a librarian might visit your class to discuss research strategies and sources, or your professor might recommend that you get in touch with a librarian while you're working on a project or paper. You are always welcome to get in touch with Vassar librarians! We are happy to answer general questions about the libraries, and we love to help students dig into their research. 

Visit the Ask a Librarian page for more information about contacting librarians. If you're not sure where to begin, email us at and we'll point you in the right direction. 

photos of Vassar librarians


Library Resources

Academic Resources

Library tips for students include exploring everything, finding your spot, asking lots of questions, and taking the library with you