Matt Cole Reading Room

The Matt Cole Memorial Reading Room, housed in the Center for Environmental Studies in Harper House, is a comfortable place to read and study. It includes a seminar room, computer lab with Geographic Information Systems, and student lounge. The Reading Room houses environmental journals, magazines, and newsletters. The adjoining computer lab contains four network computers for student use.

The Matt Cole Memorial Library Fund provides annual income to purchase books, journals, and magazines. Currently (as of 1993), the Matt Cole Collection includes about 13,000 volumes on a wide range of environmental topics, from climate change, to land use planning, to nature writing. (VERIFY) There are several distinct collections in the Matt Cole Collection Library of historical interest, such as a collection of Berkshire County documents, Hopkins Memorial Forest research papers and documents, early books and periodicals on 19th century agriculture, correspondence and working papers dealing with the enactment of the Clean Air Act and other environmental legislation, and a collection of articles and documents on the proposed development of the Mount Greylock Reservation. Collections such as these are an important resource now and for future historians.

Environmental studies related materials formerly held in the Matt Cole Library as well as any new environmental studies materials purchased from the Matt Cole endowment receive a bookplate marked: Matthew H. Cole Class of 1980 Memorial Collection for Environmental Studies. As a result, all of the college’s library resources that support environmental studies, regardless of the funding source, are kept together in Sawyer and Schow Libraries. The important legacy of the Matt Cole Memorial Library, to support the acquisition and use of environmental studies scholarship, continues even though the materials are now combined with the larger body of literature owned by the College.

“While many students at Williams have had an interest in agriculture and some are now farmers, few had the intensity of interest while they were here that Matt did.  In many ways, Matt like Thoreau marched to the beat of a different drummer than do most Williams students. A suburban boy from New Jersey, Matt found the unlikely circumstance of finding satisfaction in studying agriculture at Williams.” 

-William R. Moomaw at the Matt Cole Memorial Library Dedication, October 1982