The Schumacher Center Library
Home to a number of special collections and archives, the Schumacher Center’s Library was established in 1990 to meet the growing need for a research center to steward the rich tradition of community economics. Housed in South Egremont, Massachusetts, the library has grown to over 20,000 unique books and documents that explore the theory and practice of building ecologically and socially responsible economies.
The library catalog is accessible online via the LibraryWorld database program, and books can be searched by title, author, specific collection, and keywords. The majority of the holdings have been indexed with the keywords (subject headings) assigned by the Library of Congress. More specific keywords were added when standard classification seemed too general to adequately reflect the unconventional and independently published literature. A Selected Keyword Index facilitates the identification of alternative and decentralist materials that might be overlooked by standard keyword searches.
Includes the general collection, E. F. Schumacher’s personal library, and additional individual / special collections.
The library’s general collection contains theoretical and practical knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. Topics include appropriate technology, development of renewable sources of energy, land reform, peace and nonviolent resistance, democratic governance, worker ownership, alternative agriculture, and environmental sustainability.
The bulk of Ernst Friedrich Schumacher’s personal library and archives were donated to the Schumacher Library in 1994 by his widow, Verena Schumacher. The 2,500 volume collection of books, many containing Schumacher’s research notes, and some inscribed by their authors, span a surprising range of topics.
The Schumacher Center Library has received generous donations of materials belonging to individuals who have made significant contributions to decentralism. These incredible individuals have entrusted their personal libraries and, in some cases, their life’s work to our collection.
Includes E. F. Schumacher’s personal papers and articles, Robert Swann’s personal papers and manuscripts, and the local currency archives.
A noted peace activist and advocate of new economics, Robert “Bob” Swann was the founder of the E. F. Schumacher Society, now the Schumacher Center for a New Economics. Robert Swann’s archives consist of letters, manuscripts, articles, memorabilia, and lecture and background notes, which can be viewed at the Schumacher Center Library.
The Schumacher Center’s Library is currently undertaking the expansion and indexing of our Local Currency Archives, the only collection of its kind in North America. The Local Currency Archives contain a wide variety of materials gathered from over fifty different alternative currency projects around the globe.
Schumacher Library Renovation
In early 2020, the Schumacher Center completed a 1,600 square foot renovation of the ground floor at our offices at 140 Jug End Road in South Egremont. Books from our essential collections were moved from the 2,500-square-foot, sun filled upper floor of the building to a humidity and light controlled environment at the ground level.
To view photos of the renovation, click here.
Although the library is a non-lending, research collection, open by appointment, its catalog is available online. We hope this will lead students, educators, researchers, and activists directly to material that can then be requested at their local libraries. It is our hope that the library collection will contribute significantly to the growing momentum carrying us toward a more rational, just, and appropriate-scale society by introducing young people—our future leaders—to the ideas of Fritz Schumacher.
Contact the librarian for assistance with questions in regard to the collections, archives, or in setting up an appointment to visit or do research at the Schumacher Center Library.