Rare Books & Special Collections

Located in the historic Douglas Library, W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections operates as a research and teaching resource for students, faculty, and the larger community. We preserve and provide access to a variety of materials including rare books, maps, posters, and our impressive Canadiana collection.

Research

  • Reading Room
    Please visit our reading room during our regular hours, Monday through Friday 8:30AM-5:00PM. We welcome all researchers and visitors.
  • Rare Books & Special Collections Retrieval Request
    If you know which items you would like to use, request them ahead of time online.
  • Access & Reproduction in Special Collections
    If you are researching from a distance and have questions about reproducing images or pages, or would like to use an image for publication please review our Access & Reproduction policies and send us an email.

Instruction

W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections welcomes undergraduate and graduate class visits. We offer instructional sessions using collection materials in either our Seminar Room (the Graham George Room) or our Reading Room depending on availability.

  • Teaching with Special Collections
    Our collections are intended for teaching. Special Collections instruction sessions provide students with the opportunity to conduct hands-on research with primary sources, develop research skills, learn how to handle rare materials, and prepare for future independent work in special collections.
  • Schedule a Class
    We kindly ask that instructors request classes a minimum of two weeks in advance. We can generally accommodate a maximum of twenty students, but will do all in our power to meet your needs. Contact Special Collections if you have questions about class size.

Collections

We are home to a variety of collections from the earliest printed books to the personal libraries of great authors such as John Buchan and Robertson Davies. At the heart of our collections is our extensive Edith and Lorne Pierce Collection of Canadiana—a repository of Canadian Studies materials that dates from Canada’s earliest histories and literature to its newest.

  • Material Collections
    Our collection areas include: Canadiana, rare books, history of science, children’s literature, maps, broadsides, posters, newspapers, pamphlets, and sheet music.
  • Finding Aids
    Several of our collections having finding aids to help you locate primary material not listed in the catalogue.
  • Digital Collections
    We are in the process of digitizing our collections. Images of 18th Century British Political Pamphlets, Canadian Pamphlets, stereoscopic view cards, The Young Ladies’ Journal, and World War I Victory Bonds posters are available online through QSpace.
  • Collecting Policies
    We adhere to collecting policies to determine what materials belong in the W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections. Please refer to these documents should you have any questions.
  • Donations
    We welcome gifts-in-kind that meet our collection guidelines, as well as donations of money designated for the purchase of rare materials and/or for the conservation of our collection. Your support is essential for us to accomplish our important mission.

Exhibits & Events

We support a rich exhibition program and hold events throughout the year. Please contact us if you would like to partner with us on a future exhibit or event.

  • Upcoming Exhibits and Events
    A list of our current and upcoming exhibits and events.
  • Past Exhibits
    An archive of past exhibits curated by W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections.
  • Virtual Exhibits
    Virtual exhibits created using rare books or special collections. Included among the exhibits are those curated by our Digital Humanities Assistants—Stereoscopic Views and the Young Ladies’ Journal.

Assistantships

Special Collections partners with the Master of Arts Art Conservation program to offer a one-year Art Conservation Graduate Assistantship. We also offer a Digital Humanities Undergraduate Assistantship to Arts & Sciences students who are interested in pursuing digital humanities research.

Guides

There is a wealth of bibliographic resources available online. The following bibliographic guides have been compiled by our special collections librarians to assist you with your research. We also maintain a large reference collection that you can use in our reading room.

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CORA polling data now freely available

Queen’s University Library in collaboration with the Canadian Opinion Research Archive (CORA) and the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) is making CORA polling data freely available to the public via the Ontario Council of University Libraries’...

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Promoting Active Study Breaks at the Library

The Queen’s Athletic & Recreation Centre (ARC) Get Your 150 campaign and Queen’s University Library are partnering to offer students a designated movement space while they study for their upcoming exams.

Ask Us

For help locating resources, using the library, or to request a research consultation, try our Ask Us service.

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Specialists

You can use our email form to contact a specialist in this area.