Special Collections


For more information on our Reading Room hours, please visit this page.


Special Collections, part of the University Libraries, collects and preserves rare materials, including books, manuscripts, photographs, and artifacts. The Department is made up of three meta-collections: General Rare Books and Manuscripts, the University Archives, and the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine.  Special Collections supports the academic mission of the University by inviting classes to use its collections in hands-on exercises where students learn research skills.  

For a more in-depth history of Special Collections, click here.

The General Rare Book and Manuscript Collection contains a collection of rare books donated to USM and the papers of individuals or records of groups associated with the University of Southern Maine. There are named book collections, donated by a single collector and covering a specific topic.

The University Archives contains the records of the University of Southern Maine as well as its precursors.

The Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine collects material documenting the ongoing histories of diverse communities. Current collections represent the African American, Jewish, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ communities. 

To get started searching our collections, see this Guide to Finding Materials in Special Collections.


Reading Room Policy

Information about the use of the Special Collections Reading Room.

Request for Reproduction and/or Permission to Use

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Watch a short film about the Sampson Center HERE.