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Special Collections

Rare books and manuscripts

Special Collections departments are where libraries keep rare books and manuscripts. Rare books are first editions, signed books, or books that are of special interest locally.

TIM'S TOUR: Once he's done in Media, Tim makes his way down the stairs where he meets another classmate, Alex. Alex has been in the library's special collections room reading letters that soldiers wrote home from Vietnam.

Manuscript collections include handwritten and typed papers such as drafts of novels or speeches, personal and professional letters, diaries, meeting minutes, oral histories, photograph collections, and other documents. Maps may also be kept in a special collections section.

Special collections materials usually can't be checked out since they are so valuable. Some libraries even make you wear white gloves to handle the items.

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