Distinctive Collections at Western Libraries

Western Libraries collects materials in a number of areas as described below. Search OneSearch to find materials in our collections and 38 other academic libraries throughout the Pacific Northwest. 

Facsimile of illuminated manuscript in Special Collections.

Western Libraries Archives & Special Collections document the history of Bellingham, the surrounding counties, and the development of WWU, as well as global topics ranging from the art and history of the book to children's literature, Jewish history, and outdoor recreation. The collections include a wide variety of historical primary source material such as rare books and manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, newspapers, oral histories, maps, and more.

looking up through cedar branches with building behind

CEDAR (Contributing to Education through Digital Access to Research) is part of a global movement promoting open access to education and research. CEDAR enables easy access to the research, scholarship, and creative works of Western Washington University's faculty, staff, and students.


Brick sidewalk with chalk drawing of a face and speech bubble saying, "Come Write a poem!" and part of a written poem in chalk

The Children & Teen Poetry Collection (PoetryCHaT) includes antiquarian books and ephemera alongside contemporary writers, artists, and spoken word poets. Our extensive circulating and special collections support poetry teaching, learning, writing, and illustrating.

Two women reading children's books with pictures

The Children’s Literature Interdisciplinary Collection (CLIC) contains a range of publications that reflect the breadth, depth, and complexity of literature written for children and young adults.

Warm wood bookcases filled with books along a wall, cozy green chairs in front

Curated Collections from the last year that include topics of interest and selected Affinity Month content.

Regional Depository library logo: stylized eagle with open red book on a blue background.

The Government Information Collection includes Federal, Washington State, and Canadian materials located on the third floor of Haggard Hall and online. The collection has a historic focus on the Pacific Northwest with topics such as sustainability, conservation, and environmental policy. Many of the maps in our Map Collection are also government publications.

Rows of books on bookshelves in a library

Mabel houses digital collections from many university departments.

large table with maps spread out and people leaning over the maps

The Map Collection is a diverse collection including over 65,000 contemporary and historical maps, atlases, reference books, and globes. This collection covers various parts of the world, with an emphasis on the Salish Sea, the Pacific Northwest, and parts of Western and Northern Canada.


Parchment with handwritten Mongolian text

Western Libraries Mongolian Studies Collection is one of the largest collections of books on Mongolia and Central Asia in North America, and it serves as an important cultural bridge between America, the peoples of Central Asia, and Mongolists in other countries. With over 18,000 titles and still growing, this collection covers the humanities, social and natural sciences, and medicine.


Wilson Library Reading Room, with tall rounded windows and view of the painted ceiling

Located in the historic Reading Room (Wilson 4 Central), the Northwest Collection includes materials connected to the unique cultural, historical, and environmental heritage of the Pacific Northwest region, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and British Columbia.

Rows of books on bookshelves in a library

The Student Assistant Recommended Reading (StARR) Collection is the result of a program where senior student employees at Western Libraries choose a favorite book or media item to mark their graduation and recognize their service to the Libraries. We place bookplates inside the books and include the student's name in the library catalog record.


Rows of books on bookshelves in a library

Items with the ‘Student Success Collection’ designation are sprinkled throughout the collection.  These items are aimed at early undergraduate students who identify as first-generation, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, neurodivergent, and others that may not fit the traditional college student mold. The collection includes topics like research skills, financial literacy, study skills, conflict management, and self-esteem.

small bookshelf with a collection of books, one clearly titled "The Greenway Imperative"

Located outside the Tutoring Center, the Sustainability Shelf features a rotating assortment of materials related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The collection is intended to educate visitors about climate change, support students’ connection to nature, mental health, and self-care; and create hope for the future, social justice, and climate action.

Bookshelves with various zines featured.

Located in The Corner—a cozy nook between Zoe’s and the Daylight Lounge—the Zine Collection includes   Pacific Northwest-made zines that offer a diversity of perspectives and experiences.