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Libraries

The three divisional libraries at Sidwell Friends seek to instill in students a spirit of joyful exploration and discovery.

Library programs teach students age-appropriate skills in locating, analyzing, and using information in a variety of formats and contexts. In all three divisions, students are encouraged to use library and technology resources to discover new approaches to problems, to develop global awareness and empathy, to pursue personal and academic interests, and to construct understanding from varied learning experiences. Librarians partner with teachers in their divisions to support the work of students and faculty in and out of the classroom.


The Lower School library’s 13,000 books are accessible to students, faculty, and parents. Students visit each week to check out books, hear stories, and participate in book talks. They also use the library to conduct research projects and create reports, while learning to balance both print and digital resources. The library’s collection focuses on normalizing diversity in fiction texts and illustrations, using nonbiased materials that represent global perspectives and Quaker values. Local and global service are instrumental to the Lower School library experience as students learn and feel passionately about literacy justice issues.


The Middle School library is a busy place, where students use the extensive print and online resources, find the latest in great middle school fiction, or play chess. The Middle School also has a mini mobile library on the 3rd floor of the building. The cart features books of particular interest to older Middle Schoolers and allows students to grab a great book in the middle of their busy day.


The Upper School library’s collection is a blend of print and electronic resources curated to support the academic curriculum. The print collection consists of about 20,000 volumes and features subcollections such as the Ida Fisher Zeidman Resource Center and the Alumni collection. The library’s electronic resources include scholarly e-books and more than a dozen databases. The library has lending privileges with the American University library so that students can request books from AU to support their research.