In keeping with the University's nature as a church-related, undergraduate, residential, liberal arts institution, Riley-Hickingbotham Library's mission is to be an integral part of the academic program by providing excellent service through bibliographical, physical, and intellectual access to recorded knowledge and information and, insofar as possible, sharing resources with individuals and institutions in the larger scholarly community.
Riley-Hickingbotham Library serves Ouachita and the community as a learning center, supporting the educational process with varied types of media. It accomplishes that task through the main library - which offers group study rooms, individual study space, Internet facilities, and ease of access to materials - and through branches located in Mabee Fine Arts Center and Harvey Jones Science Building.
Collections and Services
The main library houses a number of different collections. The main book collection, in easily accessible open stacks, holds over 150,000 volumes. As a selective depository of government resources, the library has a wide range of federal and state publications. The periodicals collection provides over 1,000 current serial titles to patrons on paper: popular and academic offerings in addition to local, state, and national newspapers. Another 2,000 are available from any campus computer via the library’s databases, many of them full-text and most going back to 1985 in coverage. Among its microform collections are the complete ERIC (Educational Resource Information Center) File, the American Culture Series (pre-1874 American publications), the Black History Collection, the Literature of Theology and Church History in North America, the University Music Editions reprint series, and the Eastman School of Music’s collection of early music writings.
Classroom access to a variety of instructional video and audio materials is the focus of the library's Instructional Media area. IM also provides portable instructional equipment for short term academic use (including laptop computers for library research) and a variety of instructional media production services.
Special Collections include those of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, Clark County Historical Association, University Archives, and Rare Books section of the main library. A growing collection of political papers--including those of the late Senator John L. McClellan, the District’s two most recent Congressmen, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee--is likewise part of Special Collections.
Patrons may access materials beyond the library's holdings via interlibrary loan and the union catalog OBU shares with Henderson State University's Huie Library. The reciprocal borrowing agreement between OBU and HSU allows patrons to check out books at either university library by presenting a university ID card.