Category Archives: Features

New semester, new look

Welcome back to campus! We’ve been busy this summer updating our website and policies.

  1. You’ll notice some changes on our website. We recently migrated to a new version of InfoGuides. Click on the InfoGuides link in the left sidebar of our homepage to check out the fresh new look.
  2. Our Database list has also been updated. You can search for your favorite database, sort by alphabetical order, or browse databases by subject area. Check out the changes under the Find Articles link in the left sidebar of our homepage.
  3. Thanks to your feedback, we’ve changed our food policy. We will now allow snacks and drinks in the library. Please be courteous, clean up after yourselves, and let us know if you need help dealing with a spill.
  4. A photo ID is required to borrow library materials. You can obtain a Student ID in the Student Life Center, which gets you access to other stuff on campus, too. Or we can use another form of valid ID.

Remember, some things never change. Our floor is still a silent study space, perfect for concentrating on homework or doing research. Your friendly library staff members are still here to answer your questions and help you find sources. Email us at or stop by and say hi in person! We are here 8am-8pm Monday through Thursday, 8am-5pm Friday, and 9am-1pm Saturday throughout the semester.

In Support of Wild Lands

This month, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which allows land to be designated as “where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” The George Washington & Jefferson National Forests that provide so much outdoor pleasure in the Roanoke region encompass 23 Wilderness areas.
At a recent Sierra Club Roanoke Chapter meeting, Rupert Cutler, a Roanoke resident since 1991 and former assistant U.S. secretary of agriculture for A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopoldconservation, research, and education in the President Jimmy Carter administration, reviewed the history of wilderness efforts and introduced some of the stewards of the past and their publications. Among the books he recommended were:
Discovering America, 1700-1875” by Henry Savage
The Enduring Wilderness: Protecting Our Natural Heritage through the Wilderness Act” by Doug Scott
And, “A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold, which is available in Brown Library’s substantial collection of nature books. Leopold was one of the founders of the The Wilderness Society.
Also, who could forget the amazing photos of Ansel Adams such as those in “Yosemite and the Range of Light,” which is among five Adams books in the Brown Library collection.
To learn more about the history of the Wilderness effort, view the videos at the Bureau of Land Management  and find the designated Wilderness areas in the Roanoke region.

Comfortable History

Brown Library has a terrific Virginia collection that includes some very old books along with newer publications. One of the more fascinating ones is “Virginia: A Guide to the Old Dominion,” a tourism guide done by the Virginia Writers’ Project.

The guide, part of the American Guide Series published by Oxford University Press, came out in 1940 and had F.B. Kegley of Southwest Virginia on its advisory board. The preface, written by Eudora Ramsay Richardson, State Supervisor, offers this:

“We welcome the traveler to our shrines, and we shall always share with him our spoonbread, Smithfield ham, Brunswick stew, peanuts and tobacco if he will but listen to the tales we like to tell of our worthy ancestors..”

Except for tobacco, those offerings still are part of the state’s attraction. The book includes many photos of scenes no longer available, such as one of salt being pumped from underground in Saltville. The photo was taken by W. Lincoln Highton, who served as the chief still photographer for the U.S. Information Service in the late 1930s.

The book was reprinted in 1941, 1946 and 1947 and reissued by the Library of Virginia in 1992.

The Virginia collection stands in front of comfortable seating on the top floor of Brown Library Building, a good place to hang out.

Pumping salt in Saltville

Pumping salt in Saltville