Within its overall collection of five million printed volumes, the University of Iowa Libraries holds over 200,000 rare books. It also houses over 15,000 linear feet of manuscripts, unique archival records, hundreds of thousands of documents, photographs, and ephemeral publications, thousands of non-commercial sound recordings, motion pictures, and videotapes, and, increasingly, records “born digital.”

Non-circulating collections may be old, fragile, highly valuable, or easily disorganized, so they must be retrieved for readers from closed stacks and their use is supervised. Photography, scans, and photocopies are generally permitted.


To survey and browse these non-circulating collections, keyword search in InfoHawk+, in Collection Guides, ask a librarian, or go to:


Image of a handwritten diary with a drawing of a catSpecial Collections

Special Collections includes rare book collections, the Iowa Women’s Archives, the University Archives, the International Dada Archivemaps, tens of thousands of pamphlets, photographs, posters, sound recordings, and oral histories. Special Collections is located on the third floor of the Main Library.



Image of a Peace March in Iowa CityUniversity of Iowa Archives

The University of Iowa Archives collects, preserves and provides access to information about The University of Iowa that is of enduring historical, fiscal, administrative, or legal value. It is located in Special Collections on the third floor of the Main Library.




Louise Noun and Mary Louise Smith Iowa Women’s ArchivesImage of young African American dancers

more than 1100 manuscript collections and oral histories that chronicle the lives and work of Iowa women, their families, and their communities. These personal papers and organizational records date from the nineteenth century to the present.  It is located on the third floor of the Main Library.



Image of a sonata score with elegant cursive textThe Arthur and Miriam Canter Rare Book Room

a collection of 2000 books, scores, and manuscripts that document classical music of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is located in the Rita Benton Music Library.




Illustration of a surgery with intestines from Icones anatomicae, 1801The John Martin Collection in the History of Medicine

5000 volumes of medical history dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries. It is located in the Hardin Library of Health Sciences.




Some non-circulating collections exist throughout the UI Libraries’ collections & locations and that information will be reflected in the record in InfoHawk+.