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Collections at the Alfred University Libraries.


Items which can be checked out of the library are sometimes referred to as circulating materials. The most common circulating materials in most libraries are books.

Herrick Library houses books relating to the liberal arts and sciences, business, and general reading (including fiction and popular non-fiction).

Scholes Library houses books (and other materials) focused on art and engineering.

In addition to physical books in Herrick and Scholes, Alfred University Libraries provide access to a large collection of ebooks (electronic books). Ebooks can be searched for and accessed through Primo.

Using the filter or advanced search drop down option for "Material Type," select "Books/Ebooks" to search the catalog for only books (physical and electronic). Adding the filter "Held by Library" will limit search results to physical books.

Alfred University is affiliated with all institutions in the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) systems, and AU students can borrow books from other SUNY or CUNY schools. Using the "SUNY and CUNY" search category in Primo will search books available at other SUNY and CUNY schools, which you can request be delivered to Alfred for you to check out.


"Periodicals" is a category which includes academic journals, newspapers and magazines -- materials which are published periodically, as opposed to a one-time publication like a book. Articles are the individual pieces published within a periodical. In addition to knowing the title of the publication, you will also need to know the volume and/or issue number to be able to cite an article.

Many articles are available electronically and can be searched for and accessed in Primo or within a specific database. Older articles may not be available electronically; Alfred University Libraries have many academic journals in physical form, going back decades and in some cases centuries. If you're trying to track down an older article, a trip to one of the library buildings may be needed.

Paper journals are frequently bound together by year and look more like large books than magazines or booklets. Periodicals do not circulate (cannot be checked out), but you can read them in the library or make scans of pages.

Scholes Library has periodicals focused on art and engineering while Herrick Library has more general resources, including business and liberal arts & sciences.

Articles not available through our databases or in the libraries can be ordered through interlibrary loan.  Ask your personal librarian if you're having trouble finding something.

Course Reserves

Course reserves are materials that instructors have asked the library to make available for their students. Items may include books, articles, homework assignments, solution sets, sample exams, audiovisual materials, and more. These materials are usually in-library use only; if a reserve item can be checked out, it will be for a very short loan period.

Link to Course Reserves page

Microfilm / Microfiche

Microfilm and microfiche, collectively known as "microforms" allow for a large amount of materials to be stored in a very small amount of space, by taking pictures of pages and then making them very small. If the images are stored on a strip of film on a roll, it is called "microfilm." If the images are stored on a card, about the size of an index card, it is called "microfiche."

Some older periodicals (magazines, newspapers, journals, etc.) in the library collection are on microform. A special reader, located in Herrick Library, is used to display the content and scroll through microfilm (the microfiche card is moved by hand), allowing you to see the content at full size and take notes.

If you need help finding something on microform or using the microform reader just ask!

Videos / DVDs

Documentaries, educational movies, and movies just for fun are part of the Alfred University Libraries collection available on DVD. You can search the library catalog for DVDs by using the advanced search drop down or filter for "Material Type" - "Video/Film." You can also browse the DVD collection at Herrick and Scholes by looking at copies of the DVD box covers. Bring the box cover to the front desk to receive the DVD and check out.

Some educational media is available through streaming services provided by the Alfred University Libraries such as Kanopy or Academic Video Online (AVON).


Theses (the plural of "thesis") are the final, or capstone, projects in some academic programs. They are usually a substantial written paper (tens to hundreds of pages). The final projects for PhD students are sometimes referred to as dissertations. Theses (and dissertations) are researched and written by students and then presented to a committee of professors and experts, who will review the work and ask the student questions (this process is a "defense"). The committee will then determine if the work meets their expectations, and they may give the student revisions (edits) that must be completed before the committee will approve (pass) the work.

At Alfred University, theses and/or capstone projects are part of the programs for School of Engineering students (BS, MS, and PhD), some School of Art and Design students (MFA, BS in Art History), graduate students in Counseling and Psychology, and students in the Alfred University Honors Program. All Alfred University student theses become part of the Alfred University Libraries collection and are available to other students and scholars.

School of Art and Design and School of Engineering theses are housed in Scholes Library. Counseling, Psychology, and Honors Program theses are part of the archives collection in Herrick Library. More recent theses are available electronically in our institutional repository, AURA, but a large number are in physical form only.

Archival Materials

The Alfred University Libraries also contain the Alfred University Archives (housed in Herrick Library) and the New York State College of Ceramics Archives (housed in Scholes Library). Archival materials are connected with, and of historical value to, specific people, institutions, areas, etc. The vast majority of materials in the archives are not published and are relatively unique. Common archival materials include administrative records, correspondence (letters, emails, etc.), photographs, and office / research notes.

To learn more about researching the history of the Town / Village of Alfred, Alfred University, or the College of Ceramics, contact the Archives at

Special Collections

Items in special collections are catalogued like other books in the library. Unlike other library books, however, these items are unusually rare, old, fragile, expensive, etc. Because of this, special collections items are kept in a separate place and access must be coordinated with a librarian or library staff member. When you want to look at something in special collections, someone from the library (or possibly a professor in coordination with a librarian) will let you into the room, get the item(s) off the shelves, and show you how to handle the material. Don't let this scare you, though; we want students to access and learn from special collections materials.

Items in special collections at Herrick and Scholes can be accessed during business hours and appointments are recommended but not required. Contact or a librarian to make an appointment.