Private support and philanthropy have made Kenneth Spencer Research Library a world-class research and special collections library, and a point of distinction and pride for the University of Kansas. Many of the collections at Spencer Research Library were established as gifts from collectors, and the building itself was the result of a gift from Helen Foresman Spencer as a memorial to her late husband, Kenneth Spencer.

Private support for Spencer Research Library is critical in these areas:

  • Collections: gifts of books, papers, photographs, maps and other materials, as well as financial support to enable strategic purchases of collections and individual items;
  • Preservation and Processing: monetary gifts that help us preserve valuable and irreplaceable items and ensure that items are well-documented in our catalog and research guides for scholars using the collections;
  • Digitization: support for creating high-quality digital versions of unique collections items of substantial scholarly interest, while observing stringent preservation protocols for fragile items, such as films, and making those digital collections broadly available;
  • Teaching and research: support for those who use our collections (e.g., providing travel grants for visiting scholars), and to create and maintain facilities that help teachers and researchers use the collections more easily, comfortably and effectively.

Your gift supports research across the disciplines at KU and beyond, and may qualify you to join the Vosper Society at KU Libraries.

You can make a gift online or contact Rebecca Smith, Executive Director of Communications, Advancement & Administration, at or 785-864-1761.

Donating Materials

The Kenneth Spencer Research Library collects materials in many forms (books, manuscripts, photographs, and many others) and in many subject areas. We welcome gifts of library and archival material and financial support to enhance the value of the collections for research, teaching and service to the students and faculty of the University of Kansas and to society. Librarians and archivists are available to talk with prospective donors and answer questions. In many cases, they may arrange a visit to examine the material and discuss options. When the Library adds gift materials to its holdings, it takes care to ensure their long-term preservation and to make them accessible to researchers.

Some helpful sources of information about archival and manuscript collections in general can be found in the Society of American Archivists brochures "A Guide to Donating Your Personal or Family Papers to a Repository" and "A Guide to Donating Your Organizational Records to a Repository". The American Library Association brochure "Your Old Books: Frequently Asked Questions About Rare Books and Book Values" provides guidance on making donations of printed materials.

To learn more about donating materials to Spencer Research Library, please contact Sherry Williams, Curator of Collections, at or 785-864-2027.


Rebecca Smith
Executive Director of Communications, Advancement & Administration

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Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection
—American Library Association
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More than 700 Vosper Society members support the mission of KU Libraries