Help us improve this site.
Please Give Feedback
Text a librarian anytime, anywhere! 313-228-3WSU
We now have a 24/7 chat service to answer your questions about library services and resources as well as help you with your research questions, projects and assignments anytime that you need it, day or night.
Read More
Explore Special Collections
The Libraries have many rare and unique materials for you to use in your research.
Read More
Best Bet
Digital Commons @ Wayne State
Books and Media
Digital Collections Search
Research Guides
Can't find what you're looking for?
We can help you find it.
Access resources at other university libraries.
Browse subject and course guides compiled by librarians.

Rare Books and Special Collections in the WSULS

Welcome to WSULS Rare Books and Special Collections

Wayne State University in Photographs Book Cover

Rare Books and Special Collections in the Wayne State University Library System contain materials that support the teaching and research mission of the University.  At WSULS, a distinction is made between Rare Books and Special Collections.

Rare Books are defined as books or manuscripts that, because age, uniqueness, monetary or historic value, scarcity or limited/nonexistent holdings elsewhere, are housed separately from the circulating collections in a secure location.  The criteria may be expanded, as needed, to include other book materials deemed significant.

Special Collections are identified groups of library holdings that have been arranged by theme, provenance, format, or subject comprehensiveness/intentional groupings.  Special Collections are usually housed separately from the general collections, but may be distributed throughout the general collections and intellectually grouped through guides, finding aids, or catalog access. Rare Books may be part of a Special Collection

Wayne State University Digital Collections

Check out the Wayne State University Libraries Digital Collections. It contains some digitized Special Collections materials online, free to all. It includes rare letters to and from Abraham Lincoln as well as fully-digitized versions of rare juvenile literature.

Special Collections Librarian

Cynthia Krolikowski's picture
Cynthia Krolikowski
134 Purdy/Kresge Library
(313) 577-3311

Become A Sponsor

The WSULS Special Collections Team is working hard to preserve the valuable rare materials in the library and to share them with the wider community. If you would like to help, contact Special Collections Librarian Cynthia Krolikowski at

How to Find Special Collections

Antique Magnifying Glass with Map  Find Icon












To find materials in Special Collections go to the Catalog Advanced Search, and enter the collection name in the "Simple search" box, searching by title. This will bring up books in that collection. To search for something specific within a collection, go to the same page and search in the "Keyword search" area. First, change the first search box under "Keyword search" to "Title:" and enter the collection name. You can then search by keyword, author, or subject in the search box below.

Many of these materials are rare and so are stored in closed rooms. To request access, contact Special Collections Librarian Cynthia Krolikowski at


Photos of Previous Displays