Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2003

KU libraries home to large collections

August 16, 2003


After touring Watson Library with her English class her freshman year, Erin Sailler said she was intimidated and wasn't sure where to go.

"We had some knowledge of were to get information, but even now it confuses me sometimes," said Sailler, Overland Park junior.

Bill Myers, director of library development, said library officials are hoping to consolidate the service desks at Watson to clear the confusion. The information, reserve, and interlibrary loan desks are all at different locations of the library.

Another important resource at the library is the librarian, he said.

"We advocate that the first thing you do when you come to the libraries is speak to a librarian," Myers said.

Sailler, a history major, said she had become more familiar with the library. She prefers to study in the stacks at Watson.

"There's really never anyone down there, so you have no interruptions," Sailler said.

Another popular library on campus is Anschutz Library, which is open 24 hours a day Sunday through Friday.

Watson and Anschutz will become better places to study in the fall with upgrades made in response to the Watson Reconfiguration Task Force Report. Myers said a survey of 948 graduates, undergraduates, and faculty taken at the end of 2002 helped decide what would be new in the libraries this fall.

Six new computer workstations were added to both Watson and Anschutz. The computers are equipped with Microsoft Office, Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat. They're attached to a scanner.

Many new online and electronic systems have been added, including the new KU Digital Library System ENCompass ( and nine new journals and databases.

All recent changes and upgrades were paid for with the $150,000 raised by the Kansas University Endowment Association's annual Campaign for Libraries.

Here's a brief look at KU's libraries. For more detail, visit the libraries' Web sites at

Watson Library

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

It's also home to three large area-studies collections:

  • The East Asian Library. Located on the fifth floor, this collection has more than 178,000 volumes in the Japanese, Korean and Chinese languages. Strongly represented in the collection are books covering East Asian literature and art history.
  • 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 380,000 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.
  • The Iberian and Latin American Collection. With more than 500,000 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 750,000 volumes and 3,500 periodicals in the fields of astronomy, business, math, medical research, chemistry, computer science, physics, pharmacy and the history of science. It is also the new home of KU Info's walk-in service. See story, page 7A.

Spahr Engineering Library

Spahr Engineering Library, connected to the second floor of Learned Hall, contains about 100,000 books and serials and more than 385,000 microfiche items relating to engineering.

Thomas R. Smith Map Collection

On the first floor of Anschutz Library, the collection is among the largest academic map collections in the United States with more than 420,000, including topographic and thematic maps of all areas of the globe, both historic and current.

Government Documents Library

Now in Anschutz, 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.

Thomas Gorton Music Library

On the upper level of the south addition to Murphy Hall, Room 240, this library contains more than 111,000 scores, books, sound recordings, videos, microforms and serials, and holds the leading music collection in the Great Plains region. It opened in June 2000, integrating music and dance materials from the former Thomas Gorton Music Library, Anschutz Library and Watson Library.

Murphy Art and Architecture Library

This collection, on the first floor of the Spencer Museum of Art, is one of the largest of its kind in the Midwest. It has more than 130,000 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 Street and Quivira Road in Overland Park. It primarily serves nontraditional students with its 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.

Kept 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 research library also is home to the university archives, which includes one of the nation's foremost collections of sports autographs.See map, page 30A.

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