In brief

Special Collections brings together the University of Washington Libraries' most rare and unique resources. From papyrus to born-digital, our holdings span history and the globe, and offer boundless opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Students, faculty, and visitors are invited to examine manuscripts, printed works, artists' books, photographs, maps, and other materials in the protected environment of the Special Collections reading room.  Our digital collections are available on the web.

The staff of Special Collections stands with our Black community members. In doing so, we renew our commitment to combating institutionalized racism by prioritizing our collecting efforts on resources that document the underrepresented histories of Black, Indigenous and People of Color; collaborating more closely with representatives from these communities; centering these voices in our exhibit content, social media communications, and other teaching and learning initiatives; and increasing our efforts to educate ourselves and diversify our staff. Embedding practices that work to dismantle structural racial injustice is our shared responsibility as librarians, archivists, and library workers.

This commitment aligns with the University’s Race and Equity Initiative and the UW Libraries’ 2018-2023 Strategic Directions to enhance equitable environments for research, learning and working and to grow as a learning organization. In particular, we continuously strive to elevate the voices of historically underrepresented communities at UW and in the Pacific Northwest by partnering to create, preserve and increase access to culturally-relevant information resources. We believe that Black history is our history, and we must not waver in our resolve to ensure that this history is represented in Special Collections. Black history matters. Black lives matter.


We welcome volunteers and interns to assist us in our work. If you are interested in learning more about opportunities available in Special Collections please fill out the form below and we will be in contact.

Annual Report

Special Collections Annual Report 2019-2020