Celebrating Research

  Library Overviews & Collection Profiles Contact:
ARL Web Manager

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries

Library Overview

Special collections at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) are the product of more than 160 years of dedicated collection and preservation by scores of UNC scholars, officers, alumni, and library staff. They have served as a resource for generations of researchers and as the basis for both scholarly and popular papers and publications. The Louis Round Wilson Library, which was the main campus library from its opening in 1929 until 1985, is now the home for UNC's special collections. Special collections at Carolina comprise four major areas of focus and a strong conservation program. Digital publications drawing on these collections are supported through Documenting the American South.

The North Carolina Collection, organized in 1844, contains more than 120,000 books and 78,000 pamphlets, as well as newspapers, journals, maps, broadsides, photographs, audiovisuals, microforms, and other materials that document the history, literature, and culture of the state.

The Rare Book Collection, begun in 1929, comprises 150,000 printed volumes, 18,000 broadsides and prints, and 1,200 manuscripts, with strengths in English literature, incunabula, 16th-century imprints, French history, Anglo-Irish literature, and 20th-century American avant-garde collections.

The Southern Historical Collection, built on the manuscript holdings of the library and a strong acquisitions program beginning in the 1920s, was established in 1930 and contains over 15 million items. The Southern Folklife Collection, opened in 1989, contains over 200,000 sound recordings relating to traditional Southern music and its many derivatives, including unique field recordings and very rare commercial recordings. Together these collections provide extraordinary resources for studying and appreciating the history of the American South.

The special collections also feature strong archival and published holdings documenting the history of the university, providing alumni, students, and researchers with primary sources for the study of the nation's oldest state university.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Louis Round Wilson Library
Campus Box 3908
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514-8890
(919) 962-8125 (t)
(919) 843-3480 (f)