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Home: Special Collections

Special Collections


Tampa Library Special Collections Reading Room

Tampa Library Special Collections Reading Room
(813) 974-2731, phone; (813) 396-9006, fax

Tampa Library Special Collections Department


The USF Tampa Library Special Collections Department – established in 1962 – collects, preserves, and provides access to significant collections of Floridiana, archival and manuscript materials, 19th-century American imprints, children’s literature, rare books, science fiction, and sheet music for use by students, faculty, and the general public.

The Floridiana Collection contains monographs, maps, manuscripts, photographs, printed ephemera and realia relating to Florida's history and culture, especially the Tampa Bay region. Particular strengths include Ybor City's immigrant experience and cigar art and artifacts, such as original lithographers' stones, progressive books and labels.

USF Libraries house an important American children's book collection, especially rich in 19th-century literature, 20th-century series books, dime novels, "toy" and chapbooks and early schoolbooks. A colorful and charming group of McLoughlin Bros. chromolithographed picture books forms a high point.

The Rare Book Collection ranges from a 4,000-year-old Sumerian clay tablet to modern fine press books. Costume and botanical books, early printed books, marine science titles, miniature books and leaves from illuminated manuscripts distinguish the extensive collection.

The Libraries' archival holdings comprise USF, political, literary and historical papers from individuals and organizations. Highlights are the papers of Florida governor LeRoy Collins, civil rights leader Robert W. Saunders, Jr., science fiction writers Piers Anthony, Harry Harrison and Mike Resnick, and Ybor City mutual aid societies, as well as two important Second Seminole War diaries.

The Music Collection, another significant area of specialization, offers researchers opportunities to explore African American, Florida and 19th-century sheet music, early songsters and hymnals and the Suchoff/Antokoletz Collection of Bartokiana.

Special Collections benefits from its close relationship with USF Libraries' state-of-the-art digitization unit. Wide-format and film scanners, digital cameras, audio and video computer hardware and other equipment enable on-line access to a thousands of documents and images.


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