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About Davis Library
St. John's University - Manhattan Campus
The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Library
101 Astor Place, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003
(212) 277 - 5135 (front desk)
The Manhattan Campus of St. John's University is readily accessible by car, bus, subway. We are located at the coner of 8th St. and 4th Ave, directly across from Cooper Union in the East Village.
For travel directions, use Google Maps.
Davis Library Hours
Monday-Friday – 9 a.m.- 9:45 p.m.
Saturday – 9 a.m.- 4:45 p.m.
Sunday – Closed
For more details about specific holidays and closings go to the Davis Library Hours page.
Today’s Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Library at St. John’s University’s School of Risk Management comprises the world’s largest collection of risk and insurance literature, policies, and related documents, and serves students of risk management, insurance, and actuarial science around the world as a center for study and research. The Library’s beginnings date back to 1901, when insurance executives founded The Insurance Society of New York, and began providing study space and material to young people entering the insurance industry.
Since its earliest days, the Library has served as a site for insurance lectures. Over the years, The Insurance Society of New York developed a curriculum based upon these lectures. This ultimately led to the creation of The School of Insurance, followed by The College of Insurance, the predecessor to St. John’s School of Risk Management.
A number of individuals and organizations contributed to the Library’s growing collection throughout the 1900’s. Throughout its history, the Library has served students, faculty, staff, and sponsors, as well as members of The Insurance Society of New York. In 1974, Shelby Cullom Davis and his wife Kathryn secured the Library’s future with a major endowment, and the Library was renamed in their honor.
With the merger of The College of Insurance and St. John’s University in 2001, the Davis Library became part of the St. John’s University library system. Today, the Davis Library remains one of the most comprehensive risk, insurance, and actuarial science collections in the world, serving students, faculty, scholars and industry practitioners seeking specialized knowledge in these areas. It is a place for study and learning, research and insight.
By collecting, organizing, preserving and making available published and unpublished resources about risk, insurance and actuarial studies, the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Library strives to advance the understanding of the insurance industry’s history, analysis, management and business culture. The Library’s goal is to provide these resources to create a unique perspective of the impact the insurance industry has had and will continue to have on the economic, political and cultural development of the United States and the world.
As an ACADEMIC SPECIALTY library and repository, the Davis Library supports the academic needs of faculty and students in the St. John’s University School of Risk Management , Insurance, and Actuarial Science.
As a PRIVATE SPECIALTY library and repository, the Davis Library supports the information and knowledge acquisition needs of the risk, insurance and actuarial enterprise and its practitioners.
As a SCHOLARLY, PRIVATE SPECIALTY library and repository, the Davis Library supports the research needs of the national and international scholarly community.
The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Library carries out its mission and vision by fulfilling its role as a key facilitator of information access for research, user-centered learning and information literacy in the areas of risk, hazards, insurance and actuarial science.
The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Library exists primarily to support the curriculum of St. John's University. Secondarily, the collection is a historical record of the insurance industry. A number of considerations shape our collection policy.
Since several libraries covering the life insurance industry in-depth exist elsewhere, the focus of this collection will continue to be the property/casualty market. We recognize, however, that a core life/health insurance collection will be required. While avoiding constant jumping from one "hot topic" to another, the environment, weather (global warming and natural catastrophes)and the implications of economics on the world's health care policies--on both national and market levels--are strengths within the collection that will continue to be maintained
The library is supported in part by its annual subscription members in the insurance industry. Members have an inportant voice in conjuction with St. John's with input into the depth and breadth of the material collected and in deciding the lengths to which the staff will go to secure information located elsewhere.
Based on consultation with faculty, members, staff, and students, the library solicits and encourages active participation in the selection process. This is accomplished through regular meetings with interested faculty members and annual reviews of serial titles (including newspapers, journals, newsletters and loose-leaf services) prior to subscription renewals. Recommendations as to electronic databases to which our members seek access are welcome and encouraged.
The library seeks materials in a variety of media: print, audio, video and electronic. Primary consideration is given to insurance-related materials. Recognizing the importance of collecting economic statistics and general business and financial management texts that will aid in the analysis of the insurance industry and companies, worldwide, secondary consideration is given to materials covering these areas.
All reference materials (general, business and insurance industry-specific) receive the highest priority. Preference for newspaper, journal and newsletter subscriptions is given to those titles indexed and/or abstracted but not available in full-text on any of the electronic resources subscribed to the library, CD-Rom or online.
Given our large international student population, the library seeks works that explain the American government, politics and the democratic principles upon which this nation was founded, as well as the social structure and fabric of the country. Since attendees of the Center for International Insurance Studies are often first-time visitors to the States with limited time for sightseeing, we continue to purchase maps and tour guides of the region, pointing out landmarks, unusual architecture and other points of interest.
As one of the largest insurance libraries in the world, we recognize the importance of both collecting current materials and maintaining a historical record of the industry over time through established preservation techniques. The library actively seeks materials of historical interest and value in the area of insurance and encourages donations to its collection that will both broaden the scope of the collection and deepen the knowledge base of existing resources.
As a partial U.S. Government Depository, the library receives a wide ranging selection of government documents, primarily relating to insurance regulation and legislation (laws); insurance programs administered by the government, including flood and crop insurance, social security, unemployment, Medicare and Medicaid; vital health statistics (e.g., mortality and natality); statistics on accidents, catastrophes and safety; and a variety of materials on the general business climate. To assure a comprehensive yet focused collection of materials, an annual review of documents available through the depository program is conducted. An additional consideration in making our selection is the availability of each item within the region should we choose not to select it as a depository item.
In order to provide our constituency with the widest possible range of information related to the insurance industry and its supporting disciplines, the library is committed to working with other institutions in the industry, and academic and special libraries both within the US and abroad. Access to the rich and diverse library resources of the City allows us to concentrate our efforts on the insurance industry.
Our staff participates in international insurance information activities through active memberships in many different professional asssociations including The American Library Association (ALA), the International Federation for Information and Documentation's Banking, Finance and Insurance Special Interest Group and two divisions of the Special Libraries Association: Insurance & Employee Benefits Division and Business & Finance Division. Staff is encouraged to build relationships within library and information associations, write articles for newsletters and journals, and present papers at conferences.
This policy is reviewed at the close of each academic year and revised where appropriate in preparation for the beginning of the fall term.
Attention STJ 2016 Grads: Don't miss out on the special membership rate of $25.00 to the Davis Library for the next year. You may use the library any time it's open, borrow books, use traditional and virtual reference services and more. For additional information and to get an application please click on the link below or call 212 277 - 5135.
Individual consultants, practitioners and companies in the business sector may purchase access to the Davis Library. Please click on the link above to review the various options and the related fees.
Fee payment members of the Library and Corporate Sponsors of the School of Risk Management are granted library research privileges as detailed on this page for the duration of their membership. If a patron identifies an item not found in our collection we will make a reasonable effort to provide access to that specific information. To gain access to the Davis Library we ask that members and sponsors bring with them a company ID or letter of introduction from their organization each time they use the library:
- Access to the library collection of 120,000 books and 300 current periodical subscriptions, and a variety of digital (online and CD-ROM) products. Members may now access our Davis Library Catalog online.
- Access to a collection of premier insurance industry databases through InsureAccess. The majority of these resources are limited to the Davis Library, Manhattan campus.
- Members may now access a large number of business and humanities resources through the Davis Library Web site.
- Access to extensive vertical files or articles, speeches, sample forms and policies on a wide range of insurance topics over the past ninety years.
- Basic telephone reference and research services provided by a knowledgeable and responsive library staff (additional fees may apply).
- Bibliographies on specific insurance topics compiled upon request..
- Borrowing Privileges are granted to annual fee paying members and corporate sponsors. Daily, weekly, and monthly users have reading privileges only. The lending period is generally one month but may be less depending on the specific item.
- It's important to note: Library access and privileges are restricted to the Davis Library only and are not transferable.
Tel: (212) 227-5135
Photocopying & Research Fees for Non-STJ Users
|Members||Law Firms/Businesses||Non-Profit Org./Individuals|
|Minimum charge(A)||per request/day||$10.00||$5.00|
|Rush service (Additional)||In 1 hour(B)||$20.00||$20.00|
|Minimum charge||per request/day||$20.00||$10.00|
|Rush service (Additional)||In 2 hours(B)||$20.00||$20.00|
|Interlibrary Loan||per volume||$10.00||$10.00|
|One Day Pass||per person||$30.00||$30.00|
|One Week Pass||per person||$40.00||$40.00|
|Fax (Local)||per page||$1.15||$1.00|
|Fax (Long Distance)||per page||$1.75||$1.15|
(A) After 50 pages in a 7 day period. (B) Depends on amount of items/pages to be processed.
Food and uncovered drinks are not permitted inside the Davis library. Cell phones must be turned off or set to silent mode inside the library and conversations should be kept brief.
The 100,000+ volumes of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Library comprise an extraordinary collection of American and international insurance materials.
The library maintains sets of:
Forms, policies and contracts
Directories of insurance companies and associations, worldwide
Insurance Department reports to state legislatures and selected insurance commissioner annual reviews from around the world
Loose-leaf services for insurance law research (reporters, treatises, litigation reports, case and jury verdicts)
Insurance periodicals in continuous runs, some dating back to the mid-1800's
Insurance laws and regulations from the 50 states and around the world
The diversity of our collection is reflected in terms of:
|Our library contains nearly 100,000 books; 500 microfilm and fiche based resources, primarily in our Government Documents Collection; 50 audio and videotapes; 40 CD ROM products; several databases mounted on the hard drives in the library PCs, including Standard & Poor's Classic Ratings database; and access to two major online database systems, Reuters Insurance Briefing and Lexis-Nexis, and the Internet, including gateway access to numerous business and insurance industry databases.|
|Publications come such countries as Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel, France, Taiwan, Republic of Korea, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Finland, Spain and Sweden.|
|While the majority of material in the library is in English, several languages are prominently represented, including Russian, Chinese, German, Norwegian, French, Korean, Japanese. Several countries send us their law and regulations both in original language and English translation.|
The Davis Library has historical as well as contemporary collections, with the oldest volume dating back to 1569 (A Treatise on Insurance, by Benvenuto Straccha, published in Venice Call# M010 S) and an extensive collection of insurance policies and documents tracing the development of insurance terminology and contracts since 1665.
Highlights of the Davis Library’s Special collections include:
Notable documents such as a life insurance policy for an American slave, and a record of funded annuities for 1775 that includes Marie Antoinette, “the present Queen of France.”
In the Marine Insurance area, the Winter Collection of Marine Insurance is a world leader in terms of the scope and depth of the collected works. It also serves as a memorial to the late president and chairman of the Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, William David Winter. The Association of Average Adjusters’ collection of American and British maritime law is also housed in the Davis Library.
The Heber B. Churchill Earthquake Collection, donated in 1950, provides detailed accounts of major catastrophes from the beginning of the 20th century, among them the Tokyo Earthquake of 1923; the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906; typhoons in Japan from 1920 - 1940; and hurricanes in the North Atlantic, New England and the Caribbean. Since the 1950’s, the Library staff has purchased and catalogued all earthquake material coming to its attention, making the Davis Library’s collection on natural disasters a leader worldwide today.
Additional Specialized Collections
Various insurance organizations have entrusted their collections to the Davis Library. For example, The Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society have selected the Davis Library as custodian for their collections.
The Davis Library contains the archives of The Insurance Society of New York, The College of Insurance, The American Academy of Insurance Medicine, and other important groups such as the Insurance Company Education Directors Society (ICEDS) and the newsletters and scrapbooks of the Insurance Women of New York.
In 1965, the Library was designated as a selective Federal Depository. As such, it receives core (basic) publications automatically, and selects additional items that enhance its insurance collection. It compiles insurance department reports, insurance laws and regulations of the 50 states, and statistical reports.
Click here to browse catalog.