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What is Special Collections and University Archives?

The unit of the library that is responsible for materials having to do with local and University history, government information, and unique materials. These include rare books, manuscripts, archives, oral history interviews, government documents, and digital collections. 

What are rare books?

Any book or periodical that we would not be able to replace if something happened to it, generally due to the book's age, scarcity, specialness of the edition or binding, its historical interest, or monetary value.

What are special collections?

Materials in any library that are unique and/or rare so they are made available in a special room in the library. These may include rare books or various kinds of archival collections. Some special collections are primarily available online, such as oral history interviews.

What are archives?

Records in any format (papers, documents, audiovisual recordings, photographs, etc)  that we preserve and make available for research because they have historical value.

What are University Archives?

University Archives serves as the collective memory of UNC Charlotte. That means we identify, preserve, and make available records that tell the history of the University's activities, decision-making, and impact on the community. Records can be anything from handwritten notes to photographs, and even websites!

What are manuscripts?

A type of archives that consist of the personal papers or organizational records of individuals, families or organizations. The manuscript collections in Atkins Library cover a variety of topics, but they all have a connection to Charlotte or the surrounding region.

What is an oral history interview?

A recorded interview that provides an account of events in the past or someone's life experiences.

Where do I find the rare books and archives?

Ask for them in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library.

Can I check out rare books and archives?

All rare books and archival materials must be used in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of the library.

What are your hours?

Typically 10am - 5pm Monday - Friday during the academic year, but our hours vary so please consult our calendar of hours.

How can I get help with research using rare books and archives?

Contact us or stop by the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. For a research consultation appointment or to get help with completing an assignment using rare books or archival materials, use the Research Consultation Request Form and choose "Special Collections and University Archives" as the Subject.

What is your oldest book?

Sermones de patientia in Job et de poenitentia by John Chrysostom, which is a 1471 Latin edition of sermons on the Book of Job. Call Number: BR65 .C42 1471

What is your oldest item?

Cuneiform tablets, from the Sumerian City of Ur in modern day Iraq, circa 3000 BC.

What are some highlights of the rare book collection?

Please see our Rare Books libguide.

How does the library get rare books?

We acquire rare book mainly through donations, although we do have a small amount of endowment funding we can use as well. If you are interested in making a gift that would go towards funding the purchase of rare books, please contact us. If you would like to inquire about donating books, please see our Donate Materials page.

Do I have to be a University student or employee to use rare books and archives?

No -- we welcome the public to use Special Collections and University Archives!

How much is my old book, letter or photograph worth?

You can find out by getting a monetary appraisal. Many sellers of rare books and manuscripts provide appraisal services. To find one, try searching the database at the Antiquarian Bookseller's Association of America website or contact Armadillo Books in Chapel Hill, NC. For more information about your old books, see the website of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the American Library Association.