Special Collections is a library that you may not have come into contact with before. It’s a library that contains and preserves all of the items in our collection that are rare, fragile, or one of a kind.
Nothing can leave the building because Special Collections has things like Babylonian clay tablets, pieces of papyrus from the 7th century, Thomas Jefferson’s original drawings of UVA, a collection of almost 15,000 tiny books, two original broadsheets of the Declaration of Independence, over 800 pop-up book, so many great things!
Take advantage of the collection that we have here – it’s one of a kind and faculty are always impressed when students take the extra step to find something in Special Collections. And it’s an easy Library to use! You can search for items in Virgo (the collection video will explain what that means) and the lovely staff there will help with everything you need to know and do.
Special Collections also hosts a variety of exhibits. They have two permanent exhibits for the Flowerdew collection and a Declaration of Independence exhibit that includes letter from the Founding Father and a broadsheet for the Declaration that’s only one of 20 or so that still exist. The other exhibits change regularly and are always worth checking out.
To learn more about Special Collections and how to access these collections, go to [small.library.virginia.edu]
You walk into the Harrison Small building on the second floor. There's one floor above and you and one floor below.
This is another one of those add buildings that's a shared space. The Small Special Collections Library is on the lower floor(s). Actually, the gallery and Reading Room are below ground and there is another staff-only level below that!
It's hard to miss the Special Collections Library as you come down the spiral staircase. The Reference Desk and Reading Room are directly ahead and you can learn more about how to use the Special Collection's Library for Fall 2021 here.
But also take moment to explore the spaces before you get the the Library's doors. On the right, there's a window into one of the closed stacks spaces which features an Edison Cylinder Phonograph as well as a portion of the Library's tiny book collection at the end of the shelves.
On the left, you'll find the permanent Declaration of Independence exhibit which features a variety of items from the Library's collection including letters from founding fathers, an original broadsheet of the Declaration, as well as several anniversary and ?? copies of the Declaration.
There are also two sets of exhibit walls that regularly change. You can take a look at past exhibits here.