Reduced Access at John Hay Library, Summer 2023

North side, accessible entrance at the John Hay Library

This summer, the windows at the John Hay Library will be replaced, and there will also be smaller projects to update spaces above the first floor. As a result of this facilities work, there will be changes to the Hay’s hours and access. Please refer to the John Hay Library website for any changes to our hours and our holiday schedule.


May 31 – September 5

  • The Hay will be open Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Only the first floor will be open to patrons.

July 24 – September 1

  • The front doors will be inaccessible (emergency exit only).
  • Patrons will need to use the north side, accessible entrance.

Gildor Family Special Collections Reading Room

May 29 – June 4

The special collections reading room will be closed.

June 5 – September 5

The special collections reading room will be open on this schedule by reservation only. Please see Visiting the Brown University Special Collections for information about scheduling a reading room appointment.

  • Monday, Tuesday, Friday: 1 – 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Thursday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Willis Reading Room

The Willis Reading Room will remain open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Bopp, Bruhn, Lownes Rooms

The Bopp Room (3rd floor), Lownes Room (2nd floor), and Bruhn Room (2nd floor) will be unavailable from May 29 – September 5.

Classroom Requests

Please place requests for classes through the Brown University Library Instruction Request Form.  Some class sessions may be held in the Special Collections Reading Room, depending on the room schedule, size of the class, and staff availability.

Third Floor

The third floor of the John Hay Library will be closed from May 29 – September 5, including the Anne S. K. Brown Military Gallery.

Announcement | Orwig Accessible Entrance Closed 10/5 – 10/6

Orwig facade

In order to make the Orwig Music building more accessible, the door at the accessible entrance is being replaced. The work will occur from Tuesday, October 5 – Wednesday, October 6, necessitating the closure of the entrance. We apologize for any inconvenience caused and look forward to welcoming you through a more accessible door on Thursday, October 7.

The front door will remain open as usual. If you have any questions or concerns, please email [email protected]

Announcement | Orwig Music Library Closure – April 3 Material Request Deadline

From May through August 2021, the Orwig Music Building, including Orwig Music Library, will be closed for renovation. The renovation will involve installation of essential human safety equipment including wet fire suppression in every room and an upgrade to the building’s entire HVAC system. 

Due to the significant amount of work being done in every space, the library stacks must be encased in a protective wrap and some library material will need to be boxed and placed in storage. Consequently, physical materials in the music library collections will be inaccessible. Purchasing of electronic materials (ebooks and similar) will continue during this time.

Please make your requests for physical music-related research and reserves materials for Summer 2021, including distance circulation and digitization requests, by April 3. 

We do not yet have a specific project end date, as planning is still underway. Music material will be made available as soon as possible, once staff members are able to access the stacks and stored items in August. We will keep the community updated as the project progresses.

Please direct any questions and requests to [email protected].

Announcement | A Smile for Goodnight Lights

Sciences Library with smile lights
Drone view of the Sciences Library by Ray McGinnis

Since January 2016, the Sciences Library has participated in the city-wide Goodnight Lights initiative, symbolically saying good night to patients at Hasbro Children’s Hospital by flashing lights on and off from 8 – 8:05 p.m. each night.

To add a personal touch to the effort, the Library has added equipment to the display so that it now flashes in a smile design. According to the creator of the initiative, Steve Brosnihan, Hasbro’s resident cartoonist and board member of the Tomorrow Fund for Children with Cancer, “It is a very entertaining display. Kids love watching it from Hasbro Children’s Hospital.”

We hope this small gesture brings a little cheer to the children and families who view it.

Announcement | Landscape Update at the Rockefeller Library

The landscaping in front of the Rockefeller Library was updated just in time for Commencement Weekend 2019, offering visitors to campus a beautiful view and providing a tranquil home for a meaningful staff memorial.

In the fall of 2017, a storm destroyed much of the tree that had shaded the front of the Rock for many years, necessitating its removal. Library staff and patrons mourned its loss and missed the shade and sense of peace that area had conveyed.

The University generously updated the landscaping in this area during Spring 2019, improving the grade of the space and planting trees, shrubs, and ground cover.

Included in the new design is the Eastern redbud tree and plaque in memory of former Library staff member Mark Baumer, MFA’11. Mark was struck and killed by a car in January 2017 while walking across country to raise awareness around fossil fuels. A group of Library staff members worked with Brown Facilities Management to relocate the tree and plaque to its current spot in the newly landscaped area, surrounded by the new plantings.

We look forward to watching Mark’s tree and the rest of the new plants grow and flourish.

Construction Update | Wernig Graduate Student Reading Room


Construction on the new Vincent J. Wernig Graduate Student Reading Room is well under way on the second floor of the Rockefeller Library, with opening anticipated for October 2016.


Dedicated to all graduate students at Brown, the Center will feature a large study and research room, a seminar/presentation room, lounge with kitchenette, and separate consultation rooms.


The block, plaster, and glass walls are up. The infrastructure that will bring power and data to both the Center and the periodicals study area is complete. The ceilings are being installed and soon the concrete floors will be sealed and polished. Furniture will arrive in September.


The Vincent J. Wernig Graduate Student Reading Room is generously funded by the Sorensen Family (Joan Wernig Sorensen ’72, E. Paul Sorensen ’71, ScM’75, PhD’77, Alice A. Sorensen ’06, Christian P. Sorensen ’06).


ATTN: Faculty and Students, Special Collections Deadline Approaching!

The Brown University Library is excited to announce the launching of the John Hay Library renovation project. Revitalization of this historic landmark will include a refurbishment of the magnificent first floor reading room into an open, welcoming study space for students; the creation of a new state-of-the-art special collections reading room in the area which formerly housed University Archives; improvements to the service and exhibit areas in the Central Hall of the first floor; addition of a student lounge and conference room; handicapped access to the front of the Library and code compliance and fire safety improvements throughout the building.

To accommodate the extensive work involved in the renovation, the John Hay Library will close beginning June 1, 2013, and will remain closed through the duration of the construction project until Fall 2014. During the construction project, there will be no access to the building, and access to Special Collections & Archives materials by faculty, students, and other researchers will be limited.

We will be able to pull a limited amount of Special Collections & Archives materials from the Hay Library stacks prior to the Library’s closing on June 1, 2013. These materials will be shelved elsewhere temporarily for access by classes and researchers during the renovation period. We are asking faculty and others to help us identify Special Collections & Archives materials that will be needed during the period that the Library will be closed. This input must be provided no later than April 5, 2013.

Specifically, faculty who will be teaching a course during Fall 2013 or Spring 2014 that will utilize Hay Library materials must contact the Library at [email protected] by April 5, 2013.

Also, graduate students or undergraduate honors thesis students planning to do research using Special Collections & Archives materials during this period (June 2013 thru Fall 2014) must contact the Library at [email protected] by April 5, 2013.

Please note that any Special Collections & Archives materials located at the Library Collections Annex (as denoted in the Josiah catalog record) will continue to be available throughout the renovation period. These materials may be used at the Annex (10 Park Lane, Providence) or requested for use on campus.

A temporary special collections reading area will be established in the Rockefeller Library to consult Special Collections & Archives materials retrieved from the Annex or that have been requested in advance of the Hay Library’s temporary closing. In addition, the Library encourages use of its digitized Signature Collections (selected Special Collections materials which have been digitized for public use) during the renovation period.

The John Hay Library renovation project is scheduled to be completed by the start of the Fall 2014 semester. With the capable guidance of Seldorf Architects, known for their elegant treatment in designing and renovating cultural institutions, the renewal of this space not only will fulfill important scholarly and programmatic needs of the Library and campus. The project’s completion also will serve to honor the John Hay Library’s founding donor, Andrew Carnegie, whose philanthropy was intended to do “real and permanent good,” benefitting Brown both today and tomorrow. We are most grateful to our generous donors for making this wonderful project possible. The results promise to be a space that will better protect and service the Library’s unique Special Collections, and open both the Library and its collections to inspire Brown students today and for generations to come.

We greatly appreciate the cooperation of all Brown faculty and students and other researchers and friends of the Hay during the period that the Library will be closed. We will provide regular updates on the progress of the John Hay Library renovation throughout the project. Additional information will be available at the project web site (coming soon).

Contact: Daniel O’Mahony

University Archives Renovation

The University Archives’ public space is closed for a renovation project. Please contact the Archives staff for access to archival materials or for research assistance: [email protected]. Researchers will need to request in advance the Brown Daily Herald, Brown Alumni Monthly, and yearbooks.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation during this time. Please contact us with any questions you have regarding the University Archives: [email protected] or (401) 863-2148.