A visit to Case Western Reserve University Libraries

** Ed: The Publications Team welcomes this article contribution on Case Western Reserve University Libraries. This would be our sixth post on Libraries in Ohio, United States for the upcoming IFLA WLIC conference 2016.**


The University Circle of Cleveland includes, within easy walking distance, a vast array of world-class academic and cultural institutions. The IFLA tour will include access to all of the following:

  • The Kelvin Smith Library is the main library of the University. As the university’s information laboratory for knowledge connection, collection, curation and creation, KSL is the destination for students, faculty, staff and alumni to meet, explore, discover and collaborate. The tour of the library will feature two services in particular:


  1. the Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship is a cutting-edge facility that provides faculty and students not only with services and advanced technologies to envision and use information in new and exciting ways, but also a “collaboration commons” to engage with other researchers and staff to advance research and learning, and
  2. the Special Collections and Archives, which houses a distinguished collection of rare books, manuscripts, and images that focus upon the history of science and technology, the fine arts, and the history of the book.


Working at the intersection of these two areas, the library tour will also discuss and feature the library’s substantial efforts for digitization of books, manuscripts, audio and video files, and images, both from the library’s collections and its university archives.


Additional Case Western Reserve University libraries on the tour include:

    • the Cleveland Health Sciences Library, which includes the Allen Memorial Medical Library and its Dittrick Medical History Center, internationally notable collections that include endoscopy, medical images, and contraception. Strengths in their rare book include Freud, Darwin, dermatology, obstetrics, surgery, and anatomy, as well as the library of Nicolas Pol, Renaissance physician to the Holy Roman Emperor. The Percy Skuy Collection includes a wide range of contraception items, prototypes, and manufacturing devices, comprising the world’s most comprehensive collection of historical contraceptive devices (numbering over 650 artifacts) that houses rare materials on clinical medicine and surgery, public health, health services administration, legal medicine, and the history of medicine, and the Health Center Library, which covers the life sciences, biology, dentistry, nursing, and nutrition
  1. the Green Law Library, which houses more than 410,000 books and volume equivalents, complete collections of federal and state law, law reviews, specialized legal treatises, a British and Commonwealth collection, and a Canadian collection.
    • the Harris Library of the School of Applied Social Sciences, the oldest social work library in the country and one of a small handful of libraries that are administered by a school of social work. The collection consists of approximately 40,000 books and pamphlets, 325 journal titles and 700 media items.

Other special libraries available to tour during the University Circle are:

    •  Cleveland Museum of Art – Ingalls Library. The Museum is recognized as one of the great art museums in world, and the Ingalls library is one of the very largest art research libraries in the United States, with a collection of more than 500,000 items that were curated over the past 100 years, including a number of rare books and an extensive working collection to support the museum’s art collection (including one of the largest Asian art collections in the United States)
    • Western Reserve Historical Society Research Library, which includes manuscripts, ethnic archives, and published resources that document the rich history, politics, ethnicity and businesses of Cleveland and Ohio. The library holds several collections that are national in scope, including: extensive materials covering religion in America during the 19th century, featuring a world-renowned collection of Shaker materials, and the William P. Palmer Civil War collection, covering slavery, Abraham Lincoln, and other aspects of the American Civil War
    • Cleveland Botanical Garden – Eleanor Squire Library, which supports the work of the first American botantical garden. Garden Center of Greater Cleveland, the first of its kind in an American City.  The collections include special collections on Madagascar and Costa Rica flora, as well as general collections about gardening, horticulture, herbs, flowers, and landscape design
    • Cleveland Clinic Library, which supports the internationally recognized medical centers. The library has an extensive collection of print and online resources and links to key online resources that are embedded in the electronic medical record
    • Cleveland Institute of Art Library, a working collection that supports art studio-intensive undergraduate program at this private art and design school. The collections document the major artists, events, and trends of international contemporary fine arts, photography and video, crafts, graphic and industrial design, illustration and animation, and digital arts and new media
    • Cleveland Museum of Natural History — Harold Terry Clark Library, which includes a first edition of a double-elephant folio Birds of America by John James Audubon on permanent display in the Library, as well as a very large collection of books covering all areas of natural history, including paleontology, archaeology, physical anthropology, astronomy, botany, entomology, ecology, geology, and natural history art
    • Cleveland Institute of Music – Robinson Music Library, which focuses on classical music of the 18th-21st centuries in support of the curriculum and special programs of the Conservatory and Preparatory Divisions of the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Joint Music Program with Case Western Reserve University.

Contributed by Mr Arnold Hirshon, Associate Provost and University Librarian at Kelvin Smith Library, Case Western Reserve University.

Posted by Justin Tan, Editor.