We are excited to welcome you to Spencer Research Library. Please note that our hours have changed and that the Reading Room is open by appointment only. Learn more about what to expect in Spencer and in other KU library locations during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Welcome to Kenneth Spencer Research Library

Welcome to Kenneth Spencer Research Library, KU’s special collections and archives library. Spencer Library is a distinctive place on campus, an inspiring destination where researchers and scholars in varied disciplines connect with the information that advances their research. The library is also a place to connect virtually, as we offer more and more of our collections digitally to our changing world. 

For more than 50 years, our librarians and archivists have focused on building outstanding collections of primary sources, ranging from the documents of ordinary life in Kansas, to stunning illuminated manuscripts and groundbreaking works of speculative fiction, to vibrant images from our university’s past. We share these resources with KU, area students, community members, family historians, expert scholars, and the curious public around the world. We treasure our stewardship of these materials and realize that your access to them is the heart of our mission.

Whether you visit us in Lawrence or consult our collections virtually from anywhere, we are pleased to work with you to advance your knowledge, your insight, and your inspiration. 

Beth M. Whittaker
Associate Dean for Distinctive Collections
Director of Spencer Research Library


1.5 million visits a year at 7 library locations
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection
—American Library Association
KU ScholarWorks offers access to more than 13,000 items created by KU faculty and students
An international leader in the open access movement
Users check out nearly 300,000 items every year
Users access more than 3.3 million articles online each year
More than 111,000 scores, books, sound recordings, and other volumes in Music & Dance Library
Anschutz Library serves as KU’s 24-hour study facility for students
More than 700 Vosper Society members support the mission of KU Libraries
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