About the Library

The Semans Library serves as the library for the UNC School of the Arts, a public co-educational arts conservatory located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The School grants high school, undergraduate, and graduate degrees and was founded in 1963 as the first public arts conservatory in the United States.

The Library provides materials and services which support the University of North Carolina School of the Arts' educational, artistic, and performance objectives, and which serve the intellectual, informational, and cultural needs of the students, faculty, and staff of the school, as well as other members of the local community.

About the name: James and Mary Semans

The library was named in honor of Dr. James H. Semans (1910 - 2005) and Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans (1920 - 2012), longtime friends and benefactors of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. The late Dr. Semans, a noted surgeon and philanthropist, served as chairman of the board of trustees for the school’s first 17 years. In helping to establish NCSA in the 1960s, Dr. and Mrs. Semans gave aid and comfort to untold numbers of budding artists for their educations and careers. The library endowment, scholarship funds and Semans Art Fund, a grant program that provides ongoing support for student-initiated projects, represent only a portion of the many ways in which these two generous supporters have served this school and this library. In 2000, the Semanses were recipients of the prestigious Giannini Society Award, given in recognition of meritorious service to the School of the Arts. As Chancellor Robert Suderburg wrote of them in April, 1978:

It is fitting that the library, the heart of any campus, should be named in honor of the two persons who have provided the heart of the School of the Arts since its inception.  Their constant devotion and tireless spirit made possible the full birth and growth of an incomparable dream.

Chancellor Robert Suderburg, April 1978