Most of the materials in the Special Collections and Rare Book Department are cataloged in Western Michigan University Libraries' electronic catalogs, accessible from the WMU Libraries homepage. Researchers will want to use an advanced search page to limit their searches to materials in these collections in whichever catalog they prefer.
Some collections have special call numbers such as MIN (miniature), Hist.ChildrenColl (Historical Children's Collection), and MS (manuscript) because these collections are not cataloged using the Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal Systems. Some of the collections (particularly personal or scholarly paper collections) have a record which provides a brief description in the catalog, with a link to a full list of all of the materials in the collection in the catalog record. If you have questions, please come in and ask the friendly desk staff for assistance.
The Special Collections and Rare Books Department at WMU is focused upon instruction and research. Though the materials can not be checked out, students, faculty, staff and the larger regional and academic communities are encouraged to use the collections or simply to visit and enjoy some of the exciting and unusual materials available.
As its name implies, "special collections" departments are not designed to support the entire curriculum or all areas of research, though the books and artifacts in the collection are diverse and extensive, but rather focus upon specific research areas and provides a safe environment for fragile materials. WMU's collections are strong in several areas: