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​Rare Book Room


Image of an artist-made bookLocated on the fourth floor, the Rare Book room houses:

  • The Alfred Knight Rare Book Collection - 3400 items including cuneiform tablets, illuminated manuscripts, the second and fourth folios of Shakespeare and a leaf (page) from the Gutenberg Bible. Knight, a retired business executive, willed his books and manuscripts to the library in 1958.

  • An artist-made book collection - established in 1983, this collection includes works from the great presses of the 20th century as well as livres d'artiste, altered books, sculptured books, editions with special bindings and one-of-a-kind books. In 1993, Percent for Arts program funds enhanced this collection.

  • A reference collection on the history of the book and the book arts. 

  • A Washington Press (circa 1895) made by the Ostrander Seymour Company of Chicago and donated to the Library in 1988.

  • ​​Access to materials in the Rare Book Room is by appointment only. Call 602-534-7868 for an appointment.​

Take a Tour of the Rare Book Room

Rare Book Librarian Heather Kendall will offer tours of the Rare Book Room on March 29, May 24, July 26 and September 27.  The one-hour tour begins at 2 p.m.  Tours are free but space is limited.  Call 602-534-7868 to reserve your place.

Image of Ed Zuercher talking to Heather Kendall in the Rare Book Room. 

​Learn more about the Rare Book Room from this interview with Acting City Manager Ed Zuercher and Rare Book Librarian Heather Kendall from .

​State of Deception - Companion Book Art Exhibit

Image of Karen Baldner's book wit[h]ness.View a selection of artist-made books that convey personal stories about World War II, the Holocaust and their lasting impact. The exhibit includes unique formats, photography, free form writing and fine press printing by local and international artists. On display February 20 - June 1, it is located on the first floor of Central Library in the New Book area.

This exhibit complements The State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda - an exhibition from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on the second floor of Central Library