A sculpture by John Adams Jackson (1825-1879), The Reading Girl has resided in the Oberlin College libraries, with one interruption, since 1885. She served as a focal point for the central reading rooms of the old Spear and Carnegie libraries and is remembered by generations of Oberlin students who have embellished her with various articles of clothing and props over the years (she sports a size 6 sneaker most of the time).
The sculpture was placed in storage sometime in the early '50s, and former director of libraries William A. Moffett arranged to move The Reading Girl to her present location, the main level of Mudd, in the early '80s.
The Reading Girl is one of the few unchanging aspects of the library in the Internet age. Her enduring presence reminds us of the longevity of our collections, and of a time when those primarily print materials were housed in one location. She also reflects the centrality of the library's collections and services to the academic mission of the college and conservatory.