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Rare Books

Guide to Rare Books in the LSU Libraries' Special Collections

Explore the Collections

The LSU Libraries' rare book collections, numbering approximately 120,000 titles, span almost the entire range of human history, from the ancient world to the futuristic landscapes of science fiction writers. Natural history is a special area of focus, with an emphasis on scientific illustration. Many rare books on the history and culture of Louisiana are also held as part of the Louisiana & Lower Mississippi Valley Collection. For general descriptions of these and other collections, please visit the Hill Memorial Library website.

This guide contains detailed checklists and overviews of rare books in selected subject areas. It is intended to suggest materials for research, presentations, and creative projects. Click on the hotlinked titles in each guide to view full catalog records and request materials for viewing in the Special Collections Reading Room or for an activity that you have set up with a library staff member.

You can explore our entire collection via the LSU Libraries' online catalog. We recommend using the Advanced Search and selecting "Special Collections" as library to help you refine your search results.

Teach with Rare Books

Are you interested in incorporating active learning with rare books into your students' classroom experience? We are here to help! Special Collections librarians welcome opportunities to give customized presentations on primary source research, the history of books and printing, and the material culture of books, among other topics. We are also happy to offer advice on materials to include in your own presentations and to assist in developing course-based activities involving rare books and manuscripts. Please feel free to contact us about arranging a class visit.

Find out More!

For more information on Special Collections, please visit our website. You can also connect with us via our blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Be sure to check out our hashtag, #WhyRareBooksMatterLSU.