University of Waterloo Library, Special Collections & Archives

Identity area



Authorized form of name

University of Waterloo Library, Special Collections & Archives

Parallel form(s) of name

    Other form(s) of name


      • University/College

      Contact area



      Street address

      200 University Ave. West





      Country name


      Postal code

      N2L 3G1


      519-888-4567 ext 42619




      Description area


      The University of Waterloo Library's Special Collections & Archives department is housed in the Dana Porter Library. Our Doris Lewis Reading Room is named in honour of Doris Eileen Lewis, the first University Librarian of the University of Waterloo. The department opened on June 2nd, 1976.

      Geographical and cultural context

      Mandates/Sources of authority

      The mandate of Special Collections & Archives is to acquire and make available material that supports the goals of the major teaching and research programs at the University of Waterloo. The collections are considered working collections that have been developed systematically around special subjects that reflect the above goals. Special Collections & Archives does not acquire collections of artefacts but may accept a small number of artefacts within an archival collection.

      Administrative structure

      Records management and collecting policies



      Now numbering over 70,000 volumes, the rare book collections have particular subject strengths in the following areas: women's studies, local history, the history of mathematics (especially Euclid's Elements of Geometry), architecture, dance and ballet, fine printing, spiritualism and theosophy, and urban planning.

      Architecture titles from the Rosa Breithaupt Clark Architectural Collection and the William Dendy Library are housed in the Musagetes Architecture Library.

      Historical and literary archives are maintained in a variety of subject areas that, for the most part, complement the book collections. The collections are considered working collections that have been developed systematically around subjects that reflect the goals of the University of Waterloo's major teaching and research programmes.

      The University of Waterloo Archives is also part of Special Collections & Archives. The University Archives houses official records of the University of Waterloo. Included are correspondence, reports, minutes, publications, architectural and building plans, photographs, ephemera, and memorabilia.

      Special Collections & Archives resources are available for use by students, faculty, and staff, visiting scholars, and by the public.

      Finding aids, guides and publications

      The Archives Database provides descriptive information about the literary and historical collections maintained by Special Collections & Archives at the University of Waterloo Library.

      Access area

      Opening times

      Open Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

      Access conditions and requirements

      Material housed in Special Collections & Archives does not circulate and can only be used in the Doris Lewis Reading Room. Please note that access to some archival material is restricted. Scanning and reproduction is granted on a case by case basis.

      Please contact us if you wish to consult the University of Waterloo Archives.

      Our holdings are unique and irreplaceable. To ensure the longevity and security of our collections we ask that the following rules be observed:

      • All researchers present an appropriate piece of identification such as a valid library card, student card or driver’s licence. Researchers must complete a "Reader Registration” form.
      • Coats and bags must be left in the secure storage lockers provided on-site.
      • Food and drink are not permitted in the Doris Lewis Reading Room.
      • Pens, highlighters or mechanical pencils are prohibited. Please use the pencils provided for use in the Doris Lewis Reading Room.
      • All material must be handled with clean hands and with care. Staff will advise researchers about the appropriate way to handle the collection being consulted.
      • The order of files in archival collections is to be maintained.
      • Each researcher is responsible for material signed out in their name until it is returned to a Special Collections & Archives staff member.


      Services area

      Research services

      Reproduction services

      Public areas

      Control area

      Description identifier

      Institution identifier

      CA ON00351

      Rules and/or conventions used


      Level of detail

      Dates of creation, revision and deletion

      Revised December 2023 by DR.




          Maintenance notes

          Access points

          Access Points