2/21/17 - Ongoing

Nina Pelaez, Assistant Curator of Public Programs

Reading Room

This archive of community-sourced titles is growing in response to the question:

What book is helping you understand the world right now?

The collection of books in our Reading Room showcase individual passions and speak to the power of collective knowledge-sharing. Together, we are building an archive and creating an evolving portrait of WCMA’s public.

We invite you to join People’s Library by visiting the Reading Room or a local pop-up event. Submit your book title; we will purchase it, make a name plate in your honor, and add it to the shelf.

Logo design by Zoe Design Works

Logo design by Zoe Design Works

Join the Library

Visit WCMA’s Reading Room to sign up in person, or stop by one of our pop-up events to take part.


Reference Desk

Tuesdays and Fridays, July 6–Aug 24, 1–3 PM

Ponder the philosophical and personal with our librarian-in-residence in the Reading Room.


Summer Seminar

Come for lemonade and a lunchtime chat about books submitted to People’s Library. Williams faculty lead the discussion.

Here’s what we are reading this summer:

July 12

Yertle The Turtle by Dr. Seuss

Janneke van de Stadt, Professor of Comparative Literature

July 26

On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

Damian Turner, Professor of Biology

August 9

Thank You For Being Late by Thomas Friedman

Steven Nafziger, Professor of Economics

August 23

The Handmaid’s Tale By Margaret Atwood

Alison Case, Professor of English and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.


In 1889, benefactor Eliza Field envisioned “a literary resort for students” in Lawrence Hall. She wished “to give a more homelike aspect” to the college library, now WCMA’s Rotunda. Two small reading room additions opened in 1890. Today, WCMA’s Reading Room reinvigorates its legacy as a site of social learning and a center for public intellectual life. It is a cozy, intimate space to linger and study, a gathering spot for meetings, and home to collaborative programs, projects, and conversations.

On the Shelves