Ware Library

The Ware Library is located in 400 Memorial Tower and is home to an ecclectic collection of books. Faculty, students, staff, and other community members contributed to the rapidly growing collection of over 5000 books. Ware Library rules are designed so all may enjoy. Take books as you please, return books as you please, and donate books as you please!

Most of the bookcases are labeled in the top lefthand corner as "fiction" or "nonfiction." We recognize that these classes are not necessarily clearcut and encourage you to interpret them as you deem appropriate. In addition to the broad classification by bookcase, the collection is divided into a number of classes that are loosly derived from Borges' Animal Classification. The labels for each of these can be found in the center of the shelves on which the books are found. Anyone enjoying the library is encouraged to participate in classifying and re-classifying any of the books in the collection. Furthermore, we like you to creatively add to the growing list of shelf labels. To do so, please visit the Ware House Coordinator in Bodine and ask to print your new class of books using the labelmaker.

Current classes include:

  • books that belong to the Emperor
  • books not included in the present classification
  • books drawn with a very fine camelhair brush
  • people books
  • books worth their weight in gold
  • prized books
  • books that hint at truth
  • ancient books
  • tasty books
  • books that tremble as if they were mad
  • fabulous books
  • other
  • small books
  • books that are trained
  • stray novels
  • incognito books
  • foreign tongues


Below, in no particular order, are the names of the people who have contributed to the library in one way or another. We asked each of the people to write a paragraph or two; text from these individuals is added as it becomes available.

  • Dr. Roger Allen, Professor Emeritus of Arabic and Comparative Literature, School of Arts and Sciences

The books that I donated fall into two categories: most obviously, a selection of works on the Middle East and Islam which have been my areas of interest as a faculty member; and a sampling of our large collection of fiction and general works. - Roger Allen

  • Ms. Kate Currigan, President, Friends of Tredyffrin Library

We are happy to share our bounty of riches with you as you create a library at your location at University of Penn.  All the books came from generous donors here in Tredyffrin Township who support the Tredyffrin Public Library.  In June of 2009, the Friends of the Tredyffrin Public Library, an organization with the sole purpose of championing the community's library opened the Red Fox Book Shop located in the lower level of the library.  We sell donated gently used books and give the proceeds to the library.

Our bookstore only holds about 5,000 books; we receive over 25,000 donations each year.  Our citizens are well-educated book lovers and we receive a continuous stream of high quality books.  We sent to you books that didn't sell in the 3--4 month period that we keep them in the store because of our limited space.  We also sold 884 books online in 2011 through Amazon.com raising an additional $14,000.

We volunteers who work year round thank you for continuing the "recycling" of good books started by our donors.  We've learned that books have many lives: some of our donations have ended up in the back pockets of soldiers in Afghanistan, in schools in Philadelphia, Alabama and Rwanda, and on night stands beside patients in hospitals and nursing homes.  Let us know when you need more. - Kate Currigan

  • Dr. Sidney (Art) D. Caplan, Professor of Medical Ethics

You now have the collection of books that formed the basis of my study of evolution and biology in the 1970s and 1980s.   I am so very pleased that the authors with whom I spent so much time struggling to follow their insights on the foundations of biology have found a place where other students might learn from them. - Arthur Caplan

  • Dr. Peter F. Davies, Robinette Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine
  •  Ms. Patricia Moran, Former Ware College House Graduate Associate

One of my all-time favorite things to do is to go to a Barnes and Noble or local library and spend the whole day looking through books.  I have always loved looking through the philosophy, theology, and psychology sections and leafing through whatever title catches my eye.  I absolutely loved the idea of the Ware Library, as it provides students the opportunity to have a similar experience as they are in Memorial Tower studying. I tend to get in the habit of fervently recommending books which I have read and loved to my friends, and the Ware Library has allowed me the chance to pass on some of my favorites to future residents. - Trish Moran

  •  Dr. Vivianne Nachmias, Professor Emeritus of Cell and Developmental Biology, Perelman School of Medicine
  •  Ms. Ruth Schwartz
  •  Dr. Witold Rybczynski, Martin & Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism; Professor of Real Estate

When I was a high-school student in Montreal, my favorite room was the library. It wasn’t just the sight and smell of all those old books, but the opportunity to make discoveries wandering through the stacks. There was a whole shelf of G. A. Henty, and another of Edgar Rice Burroughs, that I worked my way through during an entire semester. This reading was definitely not a class assignment, and I don’t think anyone recommended the authors to me. I was probably attracted by the books themselves, solid Edwardian creations with colorfully illustrated cloth covers—no cheap paper jackets in those days. Years later, when I started writing, I reenacted those schoolboy adventures when I prowled university library stacks,researching books on subjects such as leisure, domestic comfort, and small tools. Card catalogues were useful, of course, but a more pleasurable research technique was to find the title I was looking for in the stacks, and then simply browse to the right and left of it, seeing what I could find. This doesn’t make much sense in a digital age, but while the precise Internet is a very good tool for finding information, it is much less effective at discovering information. I hope that this library, which will undoubtedly house an idiosyncratic collection—my own contributions cover urbanism, architecture, culture—will serve as a journey of discovery for Ware students. - Witold Rybczynski

  • Dr. Utsav Schurmans, Former Ware College House Dean

The idea for the Ware library originated somewhere in the Sierra Mountains of California. It was there, in 1994, that I became fascinated by Robert Fulghum's "Maybe (Maybe Not)". I was a 19-year old exchange student at the end a one-year stint in Salyer, CA. On the way to a central meeting place in Los Angeles, we stayed for several days in the Sierras with a host family whose name I have long since forgotten. Faced with the conundrum of my imminent departure, the family suggested I keep the book on one condition, that I would pass it along when I was done reading. That wonderfully generous act made a lasting impression. Hopefully this library will represent a small contribution to the free exchange of ideas and a window onto the wonderous world around us. - Utsav Schurmans

  • Dr. Ruth Schwartz Cowan, Janice and Julian Bers Professor Emerita, History and Sociology of Science
  • Dr. Kimberly D. Bowes, Associate Professor of Classical Studies & Dr. Richard Hodges, Williams Director, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Antrhropology
  • Dr. Adrian R. Morrison, Professor Emeritus of Behavioral Neuroscience

The books are given in honor of my wife, Olive R. Morrison - Adrian Morrison

  • Ms. Becky Axelsen, Former Associate Fellow, Ware College House
  • Dr. Bayard Storey, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

If one lives long enough and does science over a protracted period of decades, one acquires many books on diverse subjects, much as a wooly dog collects burrs in an open field.   The idea of a truly free library in Ware College House is a most appealing one.  Hence a rather random, wide-ranging choice of books to contribute, covering not only a range of titles but also a range of publication dates.  Ideas printed in books have a past, and it is often worthwhile sampling those ideas at the earliest source.   There are more books in the office from which these came, and the Ware College House Library is welcome to such of those as may prove useful to its library users. - Bayard Storey

  • Dr. John Hunt, Professor of Design
  • Dr. Nancy Bunin, Professor of Pediatrics
  • Dr. Wendy Steiner, Richard L. Fisher Professor of English

It is a great pleasure to pass on these books to the students of Ware College House.  They are part of my history at Penn.  Some were on the syllabi of my courses;  some, nominated for National Book Foundation and National Book Critics' Circle Awards when I was a judge.  It is lovely to think of students going on turning these pages. - Wendy Steiner

  • Dr. Donald Silberberg, Professor of Neurology
  • Dr. Paul Weinberg, Professor of Pediatrics
  • Dr. Leslie Delauter, Former Director of College House Academic Programs
  • Mr. Tim Fallis, Former Ware College House Graduate Associate
  • Ms. Anam Ashroff-Omar, Former Ware College House Residential Advisor
  • Ms. Sherryl Kuhlman, Managing Director, Institute for Social Impact, Wharton