Archive for Saturday, June 26, 1999


June 26, 1999


KU libraries have more than 3.5 million volumes.

Kansas University's various libraries and special collections contain about 3.5 million books and some 350,000 maps and aerial photos. The school also subscribes to more than 30,000 periodicals and journals, and the offerings that are accessible or cataloged on electronic and online databases continue to expand. Here are details of the collections:

Watson Library

The largest and oldest of the campus libraries is Watson, which houses most of the circulating volumes that relate to humanities, social sciences and the professional fields of business, education, journalism and social welfare.

Watson is home to three large area-studies collections:

  • The East Asian Library. Located on the fifth floor, this collection has more than 167,000 volumes in the Japanese, Korean and Chinese languages. Strongly represented in the collection are books covering East Asian literature and art history. The holdings are not entirely represented in the online catalog, so students are advised to consult the card catalog.
  • The Slavic Collection. This portion of the library has been actively developed since the early years of the Cold War and now holds more than 300,000 monographs and more than 3,000 periodical titles. The collection is strongest in Russian, Polish, Serbian, Croatian and Ukrainian language volumes of this century, although there are substantial holdings of 19th century material. KU also has developed more than 160 book-exchange programs with libraries in Eastern Europe, Russia and other countries formerly of the Soviet Union.
  • The Iberian and Latin American Collection. With more than 400,000 volumes relating to Spain, Portugal and Latin America, this collection is one of the largest of its kind in the United States.

Anschutz Library

Anschutz Library has about 425,000 volumes and 3,500 periodicals in the fields of astronomy, math, medical research, chemistry, computer science, physics, pharmacy and the history of science.

Spahr Engineering Library

Spahr Engineering Library, connected to the second floor of Learned Hall, contains about 70,000 books and serials and more than 350,000 microfiche items relating to engineering.

Thomas R. Smith Map Collection

Thomas R. Smith Map Collection. On the first floor of Anschutz Library, it is among the largest academic map collections in the United States with more than 300,000, including topographic and thematic maps of all areas of the globe, both historic and current.

Government Documents Library

Located on the sixth floor of Malott Hall, Room 6001, this library has been an official U.S. Government depository since 1869 and the regional depository for the state of Kansas since 1976. It receives and catalogs all publications distributed by the U.S government for its Federal Depository Library program. State of Kansas publications are housed in the Kansas Collection, 220 Spencer Library.

Besides the 2 million items from the U.S. government, this library also maintains official United Kingdom publications, those from the United Nations and the European Union, and selections from various other international organizations. The collection also includes more than 3,000 CD-ROMs and offers access to numerous government-related online databases.

Thomas Gorton Music Library

Located in Murphy Hall, Room 448, this collection has more than 60,000 music scores and books. It also contains more than 20,000 sound recordings and about 200 journal subscriptions. The collection is especially strong in its complete and monumental composer editions. It is the leading music library of the Great Plains. Plans are under way to move the collection into a new facility when Murphy Hall's expansion is complete.

Murphy Art and Architecture Library

This collection, on the first floor of the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum, is one of the largest of its kind in the Midwest. It has more than 122,0000 volumes and 600 periodical subscriptions dealing with art, architecture, studio art, and design. The portion of the collection dealing with Japanese and Chinese art is particularly strong.

Law Library

In 200 Green Hall, this collection is managed separately from the other libraries, but is open to anyone. Most items cannot be checked out.

Regents Center Library

This library is on the Edwards Campus at 127th and Quivira in Overland Park. It primarily serves nontraditional students. There are 15,000 volumes and 300 journals. This library is electronically networked with the main campus.

Kenneth Spencer Research Library

This collection houses material of a historical nature that requires special preservation. All items within it must be used on the premises.

Housed here are the department of special collections, which has books and manuscripts dealing with the history of science, especially ornithology, Linnaeus classifications and medicinal botany. It also has a broad range of rare items dealing with medieval and Renaissance Europe, English history, Irish culture, maps of the 16th through 18th centuries, contemporary poetry and Latin American history.

The research library also houses the Kansas Collection, which specializes in the history and culture of Kansas and the Great Plains. Besides books, maps, diaries, letters and business records, it also has photos, architectural drawings, tape recordings, magazines and newspapers.

The Kansas Collection is considered particularly strong in materials relating to blacks in Kansas. It also includes the internationally known Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements, which documents the activities of approximately 800 American left- and right-wing organizations between 1960 and the present.

The research library also is home to the university archives, which includes one of the nation's foremost collections of sports autographs.

-- Mike Shields' phone message number is 832-7144. His e-mail address is

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