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The New Neilson Library

The Library of the Future

As the intellectual heart of the campus, Neilson Library advances and celebrates learning, benefiting all who come to Smith. Ground was broken in October 2017 for a new Neilson Library designed by renowned architectural designer Maya Lin. Her vision incorporates the original 1909 facade and reimagines the complex as an intellectual commons. The building opened for campus use in March 2021. For access details, see Library Services During COVID-19.

Maya Lin's Designs for the New Neilson Library

The renovation features two new wings, dubbed “jewel boxes” by Maya Lin. The new Mary Maples Dunn south wing brings together Special Collections—the Sophia Smith Collection, Rare Books and College Archives—creating one-stop access to these important, rich materials and the staff who study and care for them. The new Ruth J. Simmons north wing is filled with spaces to support active learning and scholarship, entrepreneurship and innovation. It also includes a café and digital media hub that brings the community together. Natural light, an energy-efficient design, cutting-edge technology and flexible, collaborative work spaces combine to create a one-of-a-kind library for Smith’s next century.