Special Collections

Students use special collections in the Donohue Rare Book Room to research everything from history and philosophy to art and English literature.

Special Collections

The Library's special collections are housed in the Donohue Rare Book Room, and feature more than 17,000 items including books, manuscripts, photographs, drawings, engravings, and other artworks.


The Donohue Rare Book Room is on the 3rd floor of the library and is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m..

“There are certainly many rare and valuable items in the collection, but we make it accessible. This is an important academic resource, and we want our visitors to use and engage with it, not simply admire it from afar.”

—John Hawk, Head of Special Collections and University Archives

Locating Books

Materials located in the Donohue Rare Book Room are cataloged in the Online Catalog. To request material located in the Rare Book Room, record the title and call number and take it to the Rare Book Room, where staff will retrieve the item for you.

Access to Collections

Special Collections materials are available to students, staff, faculty and the University Community; non-affiliated patrons and researchers may access the collection by calling the Rare Book Room in advance to schedule an appointment.

  • Special Collections and University Archives materials do not circulate.
  • Only pencils may be used in the Rare Book Room. Pencils are available from staff.
  • The Rare Book Room is for use by Library patrons using special collections material and is not intended for study hall use.
  • Photocopying of special collections material may be available at a cost of 50 cents per page.


Contact Info

John Hawk, Head of Special Collections and University Archives

9AM to 5PM, Monday thru Friday

GL 311 (415) 422-2036