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Online Tour: Photos | Online Tour: Text Only

Online Tour: Text Only

Welcome to the Cecil H. Green Library, Stanford's main library in the social sciences and humanities.

Print this tour as a guide or the text version for a walking tour, or tour Green electronically using the links throughout to explore further.

With its collection of nearly 3 million volumes, Green is the largest library on campus. It is composed of two major parts: Green East and the Bing Wing (Green West).

Green East

South Portal

The entrance opposite Meyer Library (next to the large red hoop fountain) is the South Portal. Here you can use a computer to register as a visitor or swipe your Stanford ID to enter.

You will be asked to show the contents of your bags and backpacks as you exit.

Loan Desk

Through the turnstile and just slightly to your right ahead, you will see the Loan Desk (including Privileges). At the Loan Desk you
  • Check out books and bound periodicals with your Stanford ID.
  • Request items that faculty have placed on reserve for their classes to read. Note: If your teacher has placed non-print items such as films or recordings on reserve, those are located in the Media-Microtext Center downstairs. Search the Reserves Catalog linked to the Stanford University Libraries homepage for the call numbers of items on reserve.
  • Fill out search forms for library materials missing from the shelves.
  • Pick up items you've paged from Stanford Auxiliary Library (SAL).
  • Look for lost items or turn in items you find.

At Privileges (far end of counter) you
  • Check out a locker.
  • Sign up for a study carrel (for graduate students and faculty only--check with Privileges to see if you are eligible).
  • Pay fines.
  • Obtain extended privileges (for visitors).
  • Seek help with purchasing copy/print cards. Note: the DART machine for adding money to your Stanford ID or copy card is across from Privileges.

Near the DART machine are two slots for returning library books or reserves. Make sure the reserves go in the correct slot (the one on your left, when facing the return slots) because the fines are greater for them.

Across from the Loan Desk are 3 photocopy machines. They work with cash or copy cards. You will find others throughout the library. There is no change in the library.

Information Center (IC)

The horseshoe shaped desk just beyond the Loan Desk is the Information Center Desk. Here reference staff wait to help you with

Across from the IC Desk you will find computers known as library kiosks connected to the Internet for use of the online catalog or electronic databases. Note: they do not have word processing software. Meyer Library's first and second floors have computers with a wide array of software for the use of the Stanford community. Most library kiosks require a SUNet ID and password, but there are some near the IC Desk and elsewhere that do not. Ask at the Information Center Desk if you are having any trouble finding a library kiosk or getting started. You will find other kiosks throughout the library. All are attached to printers. Printing costs $.10/page.

CD-ROM cluster & IC Reference Collection

Behind the Information Center Desk you will find computers that are open to all. This cluster is designed primarily for the use of CD-ROMs, but the computers can also be used for research on the Internet.

Beyond these machines is the beginning of the Information Center's reference collection. These materials remain in the library to help you answer general questions or begin your research. You will find encyclopedias of all sorts, indexes to major newspapers and periodicals, biographical dictionaries, atlases, plus reference works on history, social sciences, literature and humanities. This collection is supplemented by works in the Bing Wing Resource Centers (discussed later in this tour) which tend to have more advanced or specialized resources and by electronic databases.


Also behind the Information Center desk is a collection of some 300 newspapers from around the United States and throughout the world.

Newspapers from US & Canada are on the shelves closest to the IC Desk, a selection of international newspapers are on the other low shelves, and the rest of the newspapers, organized by continent, country and city, are shelved behind the periodical display shelves.

Back issues of many titles can be found on microfilm in the Media-Microtext Center downstairs.

Current Periodicals

A select number of periodicals are displayed on the shelves near the newspapers (listed as IC-Display in Socrates), but to find most, cross over to the Current Periodicals section. This L-shaped section ends under the windows, but starts around the corner from the sit-down computers across from the Information Center Desk. You'll also find a copier there.

Arranged alphabetically, current periodicals are those not yet bound. Just what is "current" varies, depending upon how often a periodical is issued. "Current" can mean a few months or several years. Once issues are put together in a hard cover, they are treated much like books--given a call number and shelved with the books. The call numbers are given on the boxes holding the current issues. (For the display periodicals, look for a list with call numbers on the post near the shelves.) Current periodicals do not circulate, but bound ones can be checked out for a week.

Shelving Locations

Between the elevator and stairs across from the Information Center Desk is a shelving location guide. Copies are available at the IC Desk. Once you have the call number for a book or bound periodical, look on this list to see where it is shelved. Often the catalog (Socrates) will simply say "Stacks" as the location. This is library jargon for bookshelves, and in this case means those that are not in a special location such as the Information Center or Special Collections.

Lower Level

Take the elevator or stairs across from the Information Center Desk down to the Lower Level. Turn to your left and walk toward a glass-enclosed area. This in the Media-Microtext Center. Along the way, look at the shelves. Chances are good that you will see bound periodicals, as well as many books. Look on the ends of the bookshelves to find the light switches.

Media-Microtext Center

The Media-Microtext Center houses the library's media and microtext collections. You can find many obscure and classic films here. This is where you'll go to

  • View a film, borrow a DVD overnight, or look at media a teacher has put on reserve (current Stanford ID required).
  • Look at old newspapers or publications on microfilm/microfiche. You'll find microtext reader/printers and equipment to capture an electronic image if you wish.

Most of the collection is kept in closed stacks. Check the catalog first for the call number to request an item.

Head back toward the stairs or elevator you came down. On the way, notice the large folio cases on your right. Oversized books (marked with "f" after the call number) are shelved here. Most areas of the library have folio cases. Another place to look for oversized books is on the bottom shelves. Just past the stairs is a communications room with photocopier, computers, printer, and telephones (campus and pay). You will find a room much like this on the second and third floors of Green East.

Continue past the communications room, and you will come to a crossroads. To your right are restrooms and a water fountain. There are other restrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors. To your left you will find a long corridor that leads to the South Stacks (the sign overhead says "South Mezzanine") in the basement of Meyer. Straight ahead and up a few steps is the Bing Wing basement where most of the U.S. Federal Documents are shelved.

Return to the stairs/elevator and go back to the first floor. It is time to explore the Bing Wing.

Bing Wing

Go past the Loan Desk and continue past the bust of Victor Hugo on the right and stained glass windows on your left. In the corner, you'll see more phones, including TTY for those with hearing difficulties. Turn right. You'll see a staircase. Beyond that are restrooms as well as an elevator that you can use to go to the Humanities and Area Studies offices on the third floor or Human Resources on the second. This is also the elevator you can use to go down to the Bing Wing basement if you are in a wheelchair. But for now, continue on into the Bing Wing.

Social Sciences Resource Center (SSRC)

SSRC floor plan

The Social Sciences Resource Center (SSRC) is located on the first floor of the Bing Wing and is the focus of the Libraries' collections, resources, and services in support of advanced social science research at Stanford University.  Subject specialists develop and interpret the social science and government documents collections for the Stanford community.  Researchers engaged in advanced research can contact the subject specialists via email with their questions or arrange an appointment. Subject specialists—in conjunction with the faculty—plan and conduct specialized instruction for classes or other Stanford groups.

An Information Kiosk is located in the Center and provides details about key resources and services. Public kiosks in the SSRC Reception area and in the Jonsson Library stack areas, provide access to Stanford’s online resources.  Group study rooms in the Center are available on a first-come basis. 

Social Sciences Resource Center supports the following collections, resources and services:

Jonsson Library of Government Documents

Jonsson Library Floor Plans (West Wing Stack Levels I, II and Basement)

The main entrance to the Jonsson Library faces the SSRC Information Kiosk.  Collections and Resources are described below:

  • Publications from: U.S. Federal and California state agencies; United Nations; and Organization of American States.
  • An extensive microform collection that includes statistical publications from U.S. federal agencies, California state agencies, and international organizations; United Nations historical documents;  U.S. Congressional and Senate historical documents, reports and hearings; California agency publications; and documents from a selection of international organizations.
  • The Jonsson Library CD-ROM collection of bibliographic and full-text databases are available from dedicated computers, located adjacent to the SSRC Information Kiosk.

The Jonsson Social Sciences Reading Room

Map of the Jonsson Social Sciences Reading Room (PDF)

The Jonsson Reading Room houses an array of reference collections that include:

  • Scholarly encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, directories and guides supporting advanced research in the social sciences and government documents.
  • Statistical yearbooks from foreign governments, historical statistical compilations, current country studies and handbooks, and finding aids and guides for United States and British government agency archives.
  • Current core journals in the social sciences.
  • Circulating collections: Classic texts; Center for the Study of Language and Information; new and notable books.

    Computers in the Jonsson Reading Room provide an array of Stanford’s social science and other online resources and applications that include quantitative and qualitative software for research and instruction.  A Stanford University SUNet ID and password is required for computer access.  

Social Science Data and Software (SSDS)

SSDS staff members provide a variety of services and support to faculty, staff and students in finding and getting social science data and in selecting and using popular quantitative (statistical) software (SPSS, SAS, Stata) and qualitative software (NVivo, ATLAS.ti, SPSS Text Analysis for Surveys) for research and instruction. Services are provided via consultations, workshops, and help guides.

In person consultations take place in the Velma Denning Room during scheduled walk-in hours or by appointment. Contact the SSDS data specialists and software consultants with your question or if you with to arrange an appointment. The Velma Denning Room (120F) is located in the Social Sciences Resource Center (SSRC) on the first floor of Green Library's Bing Wing.

Users visiting The Velma Denning Room can:

  • Drop by for in-person consultations.
  • Access and download a broad range of social science data on CD-ROM from stand-alone workstations.
  • Evaluate a variety of quantitative and qualitative software, including specialized software for advanced statistical methods and spatial analysis. 
  • Browse a reference library of software manuals, textbooks on statistics and econometrics, data set codebooks and a selection of magazines and journals.
  • Obtain printed copies of “Getting Started” guides for using popular quantitative and qualitative software.
  • Humanities and Area Studies Resource Center

    Second floor map

    Lane Reading Room

    The Lane Reading Room offers printed reference collections and specific "mini-collections" devoted to important topical areas, including collections of Stanford history, California history, new fiction, new scholarly books in the humanities, digital culture and humanities computing.

    The Lane Reading Room houses the Humanities Digital Information Service, which provides access to SUL/AIR's growing electronic text and image collections in the humanities.

    There are public computer clusters at both ends of the Lane Room, with a rich suite of software applications. The cluster to the right of the main doors includes a few specially configured computers, including a high-end Macintosh and a Windows machine adapted for use of digital resources in Arabic, Persian and Turkish languages.

    Also to the right is the entrance to a room with printers and photocopy machines. Along the south wall of the room are the Stanford University Presidential Portraits.


    Exit the Lane Room and walk out to the rotunda. Stop at the beautiful, custom-built table featuring wood from a 300-year old Coast live oak that was a favorite of Leland Stanford, Jr.

    Straight ahead you will see a door to the West Stacks. Through that door is the W-4 Stacks.

    To your left is the entrance to the second floor of Green East. Turn to your right and proceed through the Peterson Exhibit Gallery which flanks the grand stair on the second floor. You'll go past restrooms and water fountains. There are others in about the same position on the first floor of the Bing Wing.

    Special Collections and University Archives

    At the other end of the Peterson Gallery is the Field Room, a proctored reading room that houses Special Collections and University Archives. The collections consist of rare works, manuscripts and materials related to the history of Stanford. Some special collections include non-print materials.

    Materials are paged once a day for use in the room. Researchers must sign in, then place all personal belongings in lockers just outside the reading room. No pens, only pencils may be used in the room.

    Bender Room

    When you exit the Field Room, turn right and head toward the Bing Wing elevator. Take it to the 5th floor (Don't push W-5) to see the Bender Room. As you exit the elevator, walk straight ahead. The Bender Room will be on your left.

    The Bender Room, with its wonderful views of the Quad, offers comfortable seating and a quiet atmosphere for study, leisure reading, and reflection.

    The non-circulating collection includes classic works in a wide variety of subjects. For each work there should be a circulating copy elsewhere in the Stanford University Library.

    The books are arranged by call numbers located on the front cover of each, rather than the spine.

    West Portal

    As you leave the Bender Room, turn right and take the elevator to the first floor (or second if you want to walk down the Grand Staircase).

    This elevator goes to each floor of the West Stacks (designated with a "W"), as well as each of the floors of the rest of the Bing Wing. There are generally two floors of the stacks for every main floor in this wing. You will find buttons for the odd-numbered floors such as W-3 and W5, but for even floors such as W-4 and W-6, exit on the second and third floors, respectively, and turn to your right twice to enter the West Stacks. Some main floors, such as the fourth, are not open to the public.

    On either side of the West Portal, you will see the offices of the directors of the Stanford University Libraries.

    If you have picked up any books or bound periodicals along the way, you can check them out at the West Portal.

    Please Remember

    We have an outstanding collection, but we need your help to protect and preserve it.

    • Please do not mark or deface materials.
    • Please do not bring food or drink to the library; even minute crumbs can attract insects who will then move on to nibble the books.
    • If you find something that needs mending, please take it to the Loan Desk or Media-Microtext Desk, depending on the format.
    Please be considerate of others doing research.
    • Turn your cell phones off, and step outside the library if you need to make a call.
    • If you are working on a group project, find a group study room. These are available on a first come basis, with groups having priority over individuals.

    "Hidden" Places

    Some parts of Green Library are especially hard to find.

    • Humanities and Area Studies Curator Offices are located on the 3rd floor of the Bing Wing. Take the elevator just past the restrooms in the hallway between the Bing Wing and Green East. When you get off the elevator, go up the stairs ahead into the McDermott Suite. When all else fails, ask at the Information Center Desk or contact the curator first for instructions.
    • The Raubitschek Collection is located on the 3rd floor of Green East, two right turns off the main stairs, past the rest rooms.
    • Human Resources is on the second floor. Take the stairway or elevator in the hallway between the Bing Wing and Green East. At the second floor turn right and go through the door next to the elevator.
    • Seminar Room used by the History Department is located on the third floor of the Bing Wing. Take the Bing Wing elevator to the 3rd floor. The Seminar Room is straight ahead on your left.
    • Timothy Hopkins Room is located on the third floor of the Bing Wing. Take the Bing Wing elevator to the 3rd floor. The Hopkins room is straight ahead on your left, just past the seminar room.

    Thank you for coming to Green.
    If you have any questions, feel free to come to the Information Center Desk or to e-mail us at


    Last modified: August 14, 2009

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