The LSU Libraries (http://www.lib.lsu.edu) offers students and faculty strong support for instruction and research through collections containing more than three million volumes, microform holdings of more than four million, manuscripts of more than twelve million items, hundreds of electronic databases, and tens of thousands of electronic books and serials. LSU was among the founding members of the Louisiana Online University Information System (LOUIS) network which provides access to most academic library catalogs in the state. The LSU Libraries’ subject strengths include Louisiana materials, sugar culture and technology, Southern history, agriculture, petroleum engineering, plant pathology, natural history, and various aspects of aquaculture including crawfish, wetlands research, and marine biology.
The LSU Libraries belong to the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), which includes the top 113 academic libraries in the U.S. and Canada; the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL); Lyrasis (a merger of SOLINET with PALINET); and the Louisiana Academic Library Information Network Consortium (LALINC).
Middleton Library houses the main collections. Assistance (www.lib.lsu.edu/virtual/) is available in person, virtually, and by phone. Guidance in using an academic research library is available by registering for LIB 1001 for one credit hour or by asking for assistance at one of the public service points. Also housed in Middleton are two collections: Carter Music Resources and Education Resources. For material not found in the Libraries, faculty, staff, and students may borrow materials through Interlibrary Borrowing.
LSU Libraries’ U.S. Regional Depository Library and the U.S. Patent Depository Library collections are housed in Middleton Library. The Library has been a depository for federal government publications since 1907 and has a substantial number of U.S. documents issued before and after that time. The Library became a Regional Depository Library in 1964. The Library was designated an official depository for U.S. Patents in 1981. The patent collection includes all patents issued from 1871 to the present.
The LSU Libraries Special Collections in Hill Memorial Library provides a center for research in the humanities, social sciences, and fine arts. The primary strength of Special Collections resides in The Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, an outstanding integrated collection that consists of materials documenting the history and culture of the region. It provides rare and early imprints pertaining to the exploration and colonization of the region; books on Louisiana subjects; books by Louisiana authors; Louisiana state documents; extensive and prestigious manuscript collections, which include the personal papers of important individuals in the history of the region, including the Long family; records of business, professions, and organizations; and extensive photographic collections.
The University Archives, administered by Special Collections and housed in Hill Memorial Library, is the official repository for all permanent noncurrent records of academic and administrative units of the University. In addition, the University Archives is the office on campus charged with records management duties.
The Rare Book Collection is wide-ranging and eclectic in nature, with concentrations in 18th century English literature and history; book arts and the history of the book, including the Bruce Rogers Collection; New World exploration and travel; economic history; and science fiction and fantasy.
The E.A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection was donated to the LSU Libraries in 1971, in memory of Edward Avery McIlhenny, whose private library forms the core of the collection. Rich in ornithological and botanical art, it is an exceptional resource for researchers in the history of those fields. High points in this collection include the James Audubon's double-elephant folio Birds of America, and the "Native Flora of Louisiana" collection of original watercolor drawings by internationally renowned botanical artist Margaret Stones.
The T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History is part of the Special Collections. The Williams Center for Oral History was established in 1991 as an interdisciplinary program that supports and encourages the collection, preservation, and dissemination of the social, political, cultural, and economic history of Louisiana through the use of recorded interviews. Recordings and transcripts generated by the program and its affiliated researchers are deposited in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections.
LSU Libraries Special Collections participates in the LOUISiana Digital Library (http://louisdl.louislibraries.org/) which highlights Louisiana history, culture, places, and people. Another online project is the Civil War Book Review (http://www.cwbr.com/) founded in 1999.