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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

All cataloged Special Collections materials are available for use by patrons in the Reading Room or for instructional sessions held within the department. Their records are searchable in WMU Libraries online catalog. Please note that while most of our materials have Library of Congress call numbers, certain collections (medieval manuscripts, miniature books, historical children's books and archival materials) have local call numbers:  WMU MS, MIN, Hist. Children. Coll., etc.

To locate items in the public online catalog:

1) Go to WMU Libraries main search page, select 'Books and Media' and 'Advanced Search'

2) Search by title, author/creator, subject etc.

3) Further refine your search results by location

4) Your results for items found with this title in Special Collections look like this.

*For help finding our materials in the online catalog, please visit, call or write our Reference desk 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, and a staff member will assist you. Phone: 269-387-5221, Email:





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