Library Collections

Description of the Collections

The Main and Music Libraries

  •  hold more than 255,000 volumes, subscribe to over 30,000 journals (most of which are available online), and have seating for over 257 patrons.

The Music Library

  • is located on the second floor of the Center for the Arts. It houses over 10,000 scores, a collection of music reference works, composer collected works, and the library's collection of musical sound recordings. This library holds all recordings of School of Music performances. The library is equipped with listening devices such as CD players, turntables, and cassette players and includes viewing facilities outfitted with DVD and VHS players.

The Main Library

  •  also houses several special collections:

Reference Collection

  • The non-circulating reference collection on the main floor is comprised of encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, biographical sources, bibliographies, commentaries, directories, indexes, etc. It is organized by the Library of Congress call number scheme.

Children's Literature Collection

The children's literature collection is on the lower floor. The books are arranged in three broad classifications:

  • Easy (Ages 3-7)
  • Junior  (Ages 8-12)
  • Young Adult (Ages 13-17)

The entire children's literature collection is intended primarily for use by those majoring in education.

Wesleyana/Gunsalas Collection

The Wesleyana/Gunsalus Collection consists of three parts. There is a collection of Church and College publications, a small collection of rare or valuable books, as well as a personal collection donated by Reverend Roy S. Nicholson, who was president of the General Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church from 1947-59. These collections are fully cataloged and available for use within the library. The Nicholson Collection is primarily works about Methodism and publications by or about John and Charles Wesley. John Willet, first graduate of the advanced department of Houghton Seminary in 1901 used the antique roll-top desk at the denominational publishing house when it was located in Syracuse. The smaller desk is said to have belonged to Willard J. Houghton and was donated to the College by Mary Lane Clarke, early Houghton graduate, missionary to Sierra Leone, occasional faculty member of Houghton Seminary, and founder of YMWB of the Wesleyan Church. Consult any librarian for access to the room.


The Archives is on the lower level of the main library and houses both memorabilia and manuscript materials related to the College and the Houghton community. Consult the library director for access to this room.

Video Recording Collection

The video recording collection is located on the main floor, near the Circulation Desk. It contains over 5,000 DVDs and VHS tapes consisting of documentaries, instructional, and feature films. It is used primarily to support and enrich classroom instruction.

Periodicals, Microforms, and Newspapers

Bound periodicals are shelved on the lower level and are arranged alphabetically by title. Current newspapers and periodicals are shelved in the reading area on the main floor. Periodicals and newspapers on microform (microfiche and microfilm) reside in cabinets near the microform reader/printers on the main floor. The print indexes to the periodicals are on the lower level.  Online indexes can be accessed through the GRACE.

Leisure Reading Collection

The leisure reading collection, consisting of donated fiction and non-fiction books, is located on the main floor.

Access to the Collections: 

Main Campus Library:

The on-line catalog (GRACE) is the access point for the circulating collection, the reference collection, the children's literature collection, the Wesleyana/Gunsalus Collection, video recordings and other audiovisual materials, and much of the Music Library. You may access GRACE via this link.


Access to journal and magazine articles is through online through the GRACE web page as well as print indexes and abstracts located on the lower level. Consult GRACE to discover which print journals and magazines (issues, volumes, and years) the library holds.

Arrangement of Books and Periodicals: 

Books: The library's book collections are primarily arranged using the Library of Congress (LC) Classification System, which attempts to place materials together according to their subject matter. All of the books are represented in the on-line computer catalog (GRACE).

Library of Congress (LC) Classification System

A - General Works, Encyclopedias, Yearbooks, etc.
B - Philosophy, Religion, Psychology
C - History
D - History (except U.S.)
E, F - American History
G - Geography, Folklore
H - Social Sciences,  Anthropology
J - Political Science
K - Law
L - Education
M - Music
N - Fine Arts
P - Language Literature
Q - Science
R - Medicine
S - Agriculture
T - Technology
U - Military Science
V - Naval Science
Z - Bibliography, Library Science

Periodicals and Microforms:

The bound periodical collection, the current periodicals, and the periodicals on microform are arranged alphabetically by magazine or journal title.

Children's Literature Collection:

The children's literature collection has three parts: EASY, JUNIOR, and YOUNG ADULT. Each of the three parts has 2 sections: fiction (arranged alphabetically by author) and non-fiction (classified with Dewey numbers). This corresponds to the arrangements typically found in school libraries.

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