About the Department
The Department of Library Special Collections (DLSC) is dedicated to the preservation
and appreciation of Kentucky's cultural heritage. It also strives to conserve other
rare materials which may enrich researchers. Although each area of the Department
differs in types of materials, hours, and accessibility of collections, the mission
of serving the University and the general community remains constant. The complementary
resources and services of all areas provide researchers, scholars, and visitors with
broad-based overview of Kentucky's history, culture, and people.
Timothy Mullin, Head
Department of Library Special Collections
|Collecting Kentucky, the Special Collections Library serves as a time capsule for
Kentucky history. Learn more about the Civil War, World War II, Kentucky authors,
Mammoth Cave, early university life, Kentucky ancestors, folklore, South Union Shakers
History of The Special Collections Library
The Kentucky Building was established by Western Kentucky University's first President,
Henry Hardin Cherry "to preserve Kentucky's history and heritage." Over 4,000 Kentuckians
provided financial support to begin construction of the Kentucky Building in 1931.
After a temporary delay caused by the difficulties of the Depression, the facility
opened in 1939 as a permanent home for the growing collection of Kentucky materials
and artifacts. In 1976, a three-year, two-million-dollar renovation and expansion
project began to provide more room for the thousands of books, manuscripts, photographs,
newspapers, museum artifacts, genealogical material, audiotapes and videotapes housed
in the Special Collections Library (formerly Kentucky Live) and the now independent
Kentucky Museum; the building formally reopened on July 4, 1980.
The Special Collections Library includes Manuscripts and Folklife Archives and University
Archives. These areas contain thousands of rare books, maps, photographs, genealogical
materials, unpublished letters, journals, and family and political papers. The library,
in partnership with the museum in the Kentucky Building, provides researchers, scholars,
and visitors with a broad-based overview of Kentucky's history, culture, and people.
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Who's Who in the Department of Library Special Collections
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