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Special Collections and Rare Book Department: Home

Outlines major collections, provides links to finding aids and describes services of the Special Collections and Rare Book Room at Western Michigan University.

Finding Special Collections Materials

Most of the materials in the Special Collections and Rare Book Department are cataloged in Western Michigan University Libraries' electronic catalog, 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. 

In the Library Search on the Libraries Home Page, go to Advanced search

Refine your search by using media type, then title, author or keyword, then further refine by location.

The results of your refined search will appear this way in the catalog

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) provide a brief description in the catalog record with an embedded link (within the record) to a full inventory of the materials in the collection.  If you have questions, please come in and ask the friendly front desk staff for assistance.


Special Collections and Rare Books at Western Michigan University

Reading Room Door

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:


  • Medieval studies
  • Monastic studies
  • American women's poetry
  • World War II period serials (German and Allied), photographs and ephemera
  • Children's literature
  • Miniature books
  • secondary material and examples of highlights in book history and typography



Rare Books, Cistercian & Monastic Studies, Medieval Studies

Susan Steuer
3017 Waldo Library
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Office hours held at Walwood Hall at the Center for Cistercian and Monastic Studies Monday 1-3 pm