Research Libraries

Our site has a rather lengthy page on different research libraries with significant science fiction holdings. For those just beginning to research science fiction using special collections, here's a more concentrated list that will profile the largest science fiction special collections, and how you can access them. Please note that this guide only covers collections that are held at universities where the primary language spoken is English, mostly due to the restrictions of the compiler. If you have information on non-English libraries and their holdings of science fiction rare books, please contact AboutSF so we can make that information available.

Library: Browne Popular Culture Library
University: Bowling Green State University
City/State: Bowling Green, OH
Holdings: Their science fiction and fantasy holdings are especially concentrated around pulp magazines and fanzines, as well as materials that document the history of the Star Trek fandom. Finding aids for different parts of the (190k piece) collection are available online -- Fanzines | Pulp Magazines | Star Trek | Manuscript Holdings
Can the public view these holdings?: Yes. Many of their materials are held offsite, so if you're visiting the collection, make sure that the library knows you're coming and what you need to look at.
Will the library photocopy something for me?: The website does not mention whether or not photocopying for researchers offsite is a service that the library provides -- contact the library for more information.

Library: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection at The Cushing Library
University: Texas A&M
City/State: College Station, TX
Holdings: Texas A&M has a strong holding of periodicals up to 1980, and is the repository for all of the books and papers of George R. R. Martin. Cushing Library also has materials from writers like Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. Finding aid: Science Fiction Manuscripts and Papers Collections
Can the public view these holdings?: Yes
Will the library photocopy something for me?: The library website does not seem to indicate that photocopies are available for offsite researchers. However, contact the library if you'd like to be sure.

Library: The Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation, and Fantasy
University: Toronto Public Library
City/State: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Holdings: Toronto Public Library has a collection of over 72,000 items related to science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction at their Toronto Reference Library. You can search the entirety of their holdings on their website.
Can the public view these holdings?: Yes
Will the library photocopy something for me?: Yes. View TPL's website for more information on formats, restrictions, and fees associated with photocopying and reproduction services.

Library: The Eaton Collection
University: University of California at Riverside
City/State: Riverside, CA
Holdings: The Eaton Collection is the largest collection of science fiction and fantasy literature in the world. UCR has a massive catalog of both hardback and paperback books and fanzines, as well as the personal papers of several prominent authors. Finding Aids: Authors's Archives | Fanzine Collection | Search the Entire Collection
Can the public view these holdings?: Yes.
Will the library photocopy something for me?: Yes. Researchers unable to travel to Riverside can request photocopies or digital copies of different works, though no more than 20% of any printed work is allowed to be photocopied. Full information on photocopying procedures and fees is available on the UCR Library website.

Library: Fandom Related Collections at the University of Iowa
University: University of Iowa
City/State: Iowa City, Iowa
Holdings: The University of Iowa's speculative fiction holdings mostly cover fan produced materials -- fanzines, science fiction convention materials, and fan memorabilia. Finding aids for the individual collections are available. The University of Iowa also works with the Organization for Transformative Works on their Fan Culture Preservation Project. Notable Individual collections: M. Horvat Collection of Science Fiction Fanzines | Organization for Transformative Works Fanzine and Fiction Collection
Can the public view these holdings?: Yes
Will the library photocopy something for me?: Yes. The provided link also shows the pricing scheme for ordering scans or photocopies.

Library: Spencer Research Library
University: University of Kansas
City/State: Lawrence, KS
Holdings: Spencer has a large collection of early sf magazines and science fiction hardbacks and paperbacks. Spencer holds the papers of Donald A. Wolheim, P. Schuyler Miller, and other writers and publishers. Most notably, the library has a collection of all of Theodore Sturgeon's papers and manuscripts. Finding Aids: Overview | Search for finding aids
Can the public view these holdings?: Yes. Some of the manuscript collections are held off site. If this is the case with the manuscripts you wish to look at, let the library know three days before you plan on viewing them.
Will the library photocopy something for me?: Yes, the library will photocopy materials for offsite researchers. View Spencer Research Library's policies and fees for this service on their website.

Library: The Science Fiction Foundation Collection at the Sydney Jones Library
University: University of Liverpool
City/State: Liverpool, UK
Holdings: The University of Liverpool has Europe's largest collection of sf research materials. The collection includes the archives of the Science Fiction Foundation, extensive book and magazine collections, and the papers of sf authors like Olaf Stapledon and Ellen Datlow. Finding Aids: SF Catalogue | Articles Index |
Can the public view these holdings?: Yes
Will the library photocopy something for me?: Yes. However, at this time it appears all requests must be made by mail and payment given via check. Check the website for the request form and more information.

Library: The Azriel Rosenfeld Science Fiction Research Collection at the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery
University: University of Maryland
City/State: Baltimore, MD
Holdings: The University of Maryland has an extensive collection of fanzines and pulps, as well as a large collection of early comic books. View more information on their collections here.
Can the public view these holdings?: Yes
Will the library photocopy something for me?: Yes. Visit the library's website for a full description of their photocopying services and associated fees.