Esther Raushenbush Library

Esther Raushenbush Library

Audio Tour Transcript

Welcome to the Esther Raushenbush Library. The library is filled to the brim with resources to support student research, including individual appointments with a research librarian or writing assistant. In addition to over 600,000 volumes and plenty of study spaces, you'll have access to a computer lab, group and individual study rooms, classrooms, a presentation space, and an interlibrary loan system in case there's a book you can't find here on campus. Should you wander down the spiral staircase, you'll find our IT department, help desk, and the College Archives. The College Archives maintain nearly a century of College history, documenting the academic and social legacy of the College.

Since you're standing near the heart of study and research, this is a great opportunity to talk a little about Sarah Lawrence's distinctive academic model. Our students create their own pathways to a degree, unrestricted by rigid general education requirements. This means that in every class, each student is at the table because of a genuine interest in the subject matter, not because of an arbitrary box to check. You'll be surrounded in class by peers from different disciplines and pedagogies, igniting a rich interdisciplinary dialogue with your professor as a guide. All students engage in independent research during their time at SLC, with most students completing a few each year and 12 to 15 over the course of four years. This means you'll graduate with a robust portfolio of work, showcasing your writing, research, and critical thinking skills. When this research happens in partnership with a faculty member in tandem with one of your small seminars, very much in the Oxford Cambridge style, we call it conference work.

While conference work frequently takes the form of a substantial original academic research paper, it often intersects with the creative and performing arts. You might write a play for an art history course, translate music for a Spanish course, or design a video game for a computer science class. In the physical and natural sciences, conferences often connect to lab work conducted directly with faculty. There are even opportunities for students to collaborate on conference work across the disciplines, like two students who work together to interview farmers about how climate change has impacted them for a geography class.

Conference work is a chance for you to connect your interests, even when those interests seem to exist at opposite ends of the academic spectrum. At SLC, you can connect interests in music and math, sustainability and sociology, history and horticulture, classics and cognitive science, film and French. I could really go on. Working with professors, you can expand the Sarah Lawrence curriculum far beyond the boundaries of traditional major and minor structures. Many students remark that working directly with faculty on their conference work is their biggest source of growth as scholars. And time after time, alums reflect on how well the process prepared them for graduate school and their careers. Through an entirely open curriculum and conference work driven completely by your interests, Sarah Lawrence is the perfect place to connect your passions and create your future.