The Rare Book and Manuscript library at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign houses one of the largest and most distinguished
collections in the United States. It is a remarkable rare book library, but it is not
your average rare book library. At Illinois the collections come to life through teaching,
exhibitions, workshops, performances, concerts, and even dances. The library is a central
part of campus life with public events ranging from scholarly lectures to children’s programs.
Curators and professors teach more than 200 classes a year, using rare materials in surprisingly
diverse fields. The ideas in these books are unbound, and come to life at Illinois. From
Aristotle to zoology, it’s all here, and it’s not just sitting of the shelf. Literature
speaks to you from first editions and author’s manuscripts. The history of science comes
alive in our collections. At Illinois students and faculty use the real thing, and travel
far beyond their textbooks. The collections are dramatic, literally, ranging from Shakespeare
to costume history, to TV and movie scripts of the 20th century. The Rare Book and Manuscript
library at the University of Illinois brings new life to old books. This is a library that
buzzes with activity – a library where ideas come to life in new and unexpected ways. It
is not your average rare book library, it’s your awesome rare book library.