The mission of the Southwestern College Library is to contribute to and support learners
by identifying, organizing, preserving, and making accessible resources which are
in support of the college curriculum and general enrichment for students, faculty,
staff, and the community.
In 1998, California voters approved new financing which allowed Southwestern College
to update and expand the Library and the Learning Resource Center (LRC). The three-level
LRC opened in 2003 and incorporates a variety of services, including the Library,
Film, Television and Media Arts (FTMA), Professioanl Development, the Telemedia Center,
the Interdisciplinary Tutoring Center, staff offices, and conference and meeting rooms.
It offers students a number of study spaces, including study rooms and media viewing
rooms, wireless internet access, and a growing collection of print and electronic
Library services and collections are on the second and third floors of the building.
The "Old God" is a universal image in Maya art, and represents wisdom, experience,
and respect accorded the elders of all American native people. Among the Maya pantheon,
the most important is Itzamnaaj (pronounced "Eat-Sahm-Nah"), the patron of learning
and writing. He usually wears an obsidian-mirror diadem on his forehead and sometimes
appears as his alter-ego, the Celestial Bird Itsam-ye. His image on the LRC elevator
shaft was designed by painting instructor Roberto Salas. It is adapted from an illustration
in the Dresden Codex, one of the most beautiful and rare of Maya books (only four Maya manuscripts survive
today; all the rest were burned by Spanish friars in 1560). The Dresden Codex was a kind of almanac, listing eclipses, phases of Venus, and the auspicious days
for various tasks.
The hieroglyph repeated 14 times across the front of the building is adapted from
the stone carving Stela D at the Maya site in Quirigua, Guatemala. A beautiful cast
of the carvings stands in San Diego Museum of Us (formerly Museum of Man) in Balboa
Park. It consists of the head of a chop-fallen (nearly toothless) Old God wearing
the obsidian-mirror diadem, which identifies him as Itzamnaaj. A Maya convention indicated
the god's wisdom by giving them enormous, all-seeing eyes. His head is preceded by
a sideways T-shaped glyph element that reads Nah, meaning "house" or "temple". Thus
the glyph can be interpreted as "House of Itzamnaaj" or "Temple of Learning". It was
designed in the calligraphic style of ancient Maya books by Mark Van Stone, Professor
of Art History at Southwestern College.
The sundial was incorporated into the building design as both a historic reference
to the Maya culture's use of the sun to measure time, and as a contemporary reference
to a student's journey at SWC as they complete their education -- measured in hours,
days, and seasons.
To read the sundial, first determine the season. The top arc will tell the time in
the winter solstice (December), the middle arc will tell the time for the spring and
fall equinox (March and September), and the bottom arc represents the time at the
summer solstice (June). Next, read the time. The glass blocks represent the hours
of the day as the point of the shadow cast by the steel blade lands on the blocks.
The first block represents 7 a.m. As the days pass through the seasons, the time shadow
will fall somewhere on a vertical arc between the blocks to represent the hour of
The library is a center for research, studying, and collaboration. We ask all of its
users to use it with respect and consideration of others. We expect students to comply
with the SWC Student Conduct Policy.
The library is equipped with computers for students to conduct research. Computer
use is on a first-come, first-served basis. Computers in the reference area may be
used by community users. All computer uses must comply with District policies.
When accessing the research databases and other e-resources from off-campus, you will
be prompted to log in. Once you log in with your MySWC account, you will be able to
use the databases, e-journals, and e-books just as if you were on-campus. Off-campus
access is limited to currently enrolled students, faculty and staff of Southwestern
Chula Vista: Monday to Thursday 8:00am to 7:00pm, Friday 8:00am to 2:00pm National City: Monday 2:00pm to 4:00pm, Tuesday to Thursday 10:00am to 6:00pm Otay Mesa: Monday to Thursday 10:00am to 6:00pm San Ysidro: Monday to Wednesday 10:00am to 6:00pm, Thursday 10:00am to 1:00pm