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Library Collections

The Library has developed a number of in-house collections on specialized topics of particular interest to researchers. Many of these materials have been made possible due to funds from grants and from private endowments.

These resources are in a variety of formats: books, periodicals, personal papers, microfilm, CDs, DVDs and sound recordings. They are housed in the main Malpass Library or in the branch libraries.

Archives and Special Collections

Among the many resources of this unit are:

Baxter-Snyder Center for Icarian Studies
WIU Libraries is home to the world's largest collection of materials relating to the Icarians, a French utopianist community who lived in Nauvoo in the 1850s, and later in other locations in the United States.
The Bulletin
This was an official publication of WIU and contained course catalogs and other information about Western, as well as serving as a publishing venue for WIU faculty. First published in 1903 as the Western Illinois State Normal School Quarterly, the name changed to The Bulletin in 1943. It was published regularly through 1959 and then sporadically until 1972. In it you can find articles by faculty on teaching and other subjects, facts about the University, course listings, and detailed descriptions of programs offered by Western. It documents the history of WIU as well as the history of teaching in Illinois.
Center for Hancock County History
This collection contains materials relating to one of Illinois' most historically significant counties. Primary focus is on the Mormon period in Nauvoo (1839-1846), but other periods are also collected.
Civil War Collection
The Civil War Collection contains letters, diaries, and other materials documenting the western Illinois experience in the war.
Decker Press Collection
WIU Libraries is home to the single largest collection of books and other manuscripts relating to the Decker Press, a vanity poetry press located in Prairie City, Illinois from 1937-1950.
Epilogue, WIU's Laboratory School Yearbook
The laboratory school, located in Simpkins and Horrabin Halls at Western Illinois University (WIU) from 1938 through 1973, was a teaching school for K-12 for the teaching program. The Epilogue yearbooks began publication in 1959 and the collection contains every year through 1973. Some of the books came from actual students and their personal inscriptions are included in the digitized pages.
Historical Society Newsletter Collection
This collection features Historical Society newsletters from the west-central Illinois counties of Hancock (1987-), McDonough (1982-) [including Colchester Area Historical Society (1995-)], Rock Island (1966-), and Schuyler (1969-).
Regional History Collection
This collection features printed materials documenting the history of West Central Illinois, selected from the Archives and Special Collections at the Western Illinois University Libraries.
Regional Maps Collection
A collection of historical maps from the western Illinois region, including county plat maps.
The Sequel Yearbook
This digital collection will include all issues of The Sequel, the yearbook of Western Illinois University, which was published from 1905-2006.
WIU Digital Image Collection
One of the largest such collections in Illinois, the WIU Digital Image Collection contains over 4000 fully catalogued and searchable images relating to the history of WIU and west central Illinois.
WIU Sports History Collection
This collection documents the history of athletics at Western Illinois University. Initially featuring football game programs, it will eventually include materials documenting basketball and other sports at Western, including women's athletics.

Art Collection

A listing of art collected at Malpass Library.

Film Collections Searchable Database

These DVDs and CDs circulate from the main stacks of the Malpass Library and its branches. They are available as the result of grant funds from CARLI (Consortium of Academic Research Libraries in Illinois). An enhanced, searchable database of these films has been developed which provides not only a list of titles available through the Library, but also additional information about the film, director and reviews.

  • African Diaspora Films Collection
  • Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian and Transexual (GBLT) Films Collection
  • Homeland Security Film Collection

Index to Plays In Collections

This search tool identifies plays in the Library's holdings. It is used as a supplement to title and author searches performed in WestCat as records in that database may not fully reflect the contents of an item.

Jeff Leibovitz Memorial Holocaust Collection

This memorial collection is a variety of materials related to the Holocaust which are especially suitable for middle and high school teachers and students. It is located at the WIU-Quad Cities Library.

Map Collection

The Map Collection is located at the southwest corner of the fourth floor of Malpass Library. It is part of the Government & Legal Information Unit and contains many U.S. government maps including the popular USGS topographic maps. A wide range of atlases, Illinois county plat books and GIS books are also important elements of the collection.

Nielsen Collection

The late Dr. Maurice Nielsen left a legacy beyond his contributions to the philosophy department he helped establish at Western Illinois University in 1959. His family donated his personal collection to WIU's Malpass Library. It is the largest such donation in the library's history. Comprised of more than 9,000 items including nearly 3,000 books, it is multi-disciplinary in scope, including art, philosophy, history, and religious studies.

Periodical Reprint Series

In these primary source materials, experience the political uprisings of the America in the first half of the 1900s, Great Britain in the first half of the 1800s, and the feminist and anti-war debates of the turbulent 1960s. Many of these items are located in the Microfilm section on the second floor of Malpass Library, but others are in library storage. They can be obtained by asking for assistance at the Circulation Desk.

American Periodicals of the 18th Century (pdf)
Shelved in microfilm cabinets.
HERstory (pdf)
Shelved in microfilm cabinets.
Negro Periodicals of the United States (pdf)
Shelved in Periodicals Storage.
Radical Periodicals in the United States (pdf)
Shelved in Periodicals Storage.
Radical Periodicals of Great Britain (pdf)
Shelved in Periodicals Storage.
Underground Newspapers Collection (pdf)
Shelved in microfilm cabinets.

Petersen Ornithological Collection

The Petersen Collection is comprised of approximately 1,000 unique titles of rare and high quality ornithological books, periodicals, banding cards and records dating back to 1886. Although the major focus of the collection is birds, other animal classifications are broadly represented.

Swofford Popular Reading Collection - (list updates)

The paperback fiction and non-fiction general reading collection on the main level of the Malpass Library is supported by this memorial endowment.

Visual Culture / Graphic Novel Collection

The graphic novel literature form - defined by Merriam-Webster as "a fictional story for adults presented in comic-strip format and published as a book" - certainly has its roots in the comic book genre. But as avid graphic novel readers know, the genre ranges from simple to complicated narratives, often embraces complex themes, at times tackles sensitive subjects and is certainly not limited to adults.

List of Titles - PDF