About the Library

The Berntsen Library is named in honor of former University of Northwestern president and chancellor, William B. Berntsen, who served the institution for over forty years. The library provides access to more than 750,000 titles and 100 online collections including streaming video and audio.

Library Features

  • Research Help Desk – assistance from UNW librarians is available for personalized research help most of the hours the library is open.
  • 24/7 chat research help – available through library partnerships
  • Interlibrary resources: Access to millions of items through collaboration with partner libraries in the MnPALS Consortium
  • Reading Room with large windows and a variety of seating
  • Group study spaces
  • Silent study floor
  • Student Lab workstations
  • Listening and Viewing Room that houses the library’s audiovisual collections and playback equipment

Haburn Hovda Archives

The Berntsen Library houses the Haburn Hovda Archives, which contain scrapbooks, sermons, and other writings of William Bell Riley, the first president and founder of University of Northwestern. The Archives also preserve Northwestern publications and materials pertaining to the history of the university.

Access to the Archives is available by appointment only. Please contact the Berntsen Library at 651-631-5241 to schedule an appointment with the Archives staff.

What Students Say

The library connects us to lots of information and resources and friendly librarians that are ready to help with questions.

The library is an inviting place that inspires study and productivity in groups or alone.

We think that means learning happens best in community. Visit us today on campus or online and see for yourself.


The nearest parking can be found along the along the perimeter drive behind the library buildings.


The entrance to Bernsten Library is on street level and easily accessible. There is elevator access to all floors as well as the underground tunnels connecting campus buildings.