Celebrating Research

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Iowa State University Library

Library Overview

The Special Collections Department was founded at Iowa State University (ISU) Library in 1969, and its mission is to identify, select, preserve, create access to, provide reference assistance for, and promote the use of rare and unique research materials that support major research areas of Iowa State University.

The collections include nearly 15,000 linear feet of archival materials documenting agriculture, natural history, statistics, veterinary medicine, and women in science and engineering. Included are manuscript collections donated by individuals and organizations not necessarily connected with ISU, but reflective of the university's mission. The department also includes the University Archives, consisting of official records and faculty papers, over 1 million photographs, and 10,000 motion picture films. Finally, there are 50,000 rare books, with strengths in agriculture and the natural sciences. The department is actively digitizing selected priority collections and making them available through the ISU Library's e-Library and also through the Iowa Heritage Digital Collections, an online repository of Iowa history.

The department maintains an active public service, outreach, and tour program to both on-campus and off-campus groups, including academic classes, the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, the Honors Program, ISU Learning Communities, Extension and 4-H groups, and K-12 student groups such as National History Day. The department also creates virtual exhibits for online visitors to its Web site, as well as exhibits for the Reading Room area and other locations on campus. The Reading Room, located on the fourth floor of Parks Library, oversees the central campus, and researchers and visitors are always welcome.

Iowa State University Library
Special Collections Department
403 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50011-2140
(515) 294-6672 (t)
(515) 294-5525 (f)