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CRL: Vast, rare, global primary sources

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VCU Libraries’ new membership in the Center for Research Libraries opens vast, rare, global primary sources to VCU.

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is an international consortium of more than 200 university, college and independent research libraries. Founded in 1949, the center supports original research and teaching in the humanities, sciences and social sciences. It preserves and makes available to scholars a wealth of rare and uncommon primary source materials from all world regions. After a hiatus of many years, VCU Libraries is again a member of CRL.

The diversity, global scope and primary evidence materials contained in CRL enable groundbreaking faculty and student research. Among its vast collections and digital resources is the largest circulating collection of newspapers in North America, including more than 1,800 U.S. ethnic titles and some of the earliest African-American papers. Researchers benefit from 38,000 foreign journals and 800,000-plus foreign dissertations, major microfilm and paper collections from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, and more.

Areas of distinction include:

  • Broad collections in the area of primary legal and government resources, with an emphasis on serial publications from central governments including legislative, administrative, financial, and statistical reports. CRL holds several hundred thousand volumes of publications from government agencies of more than 100 countries, including more than 1,750 official gazettes.
  • Holdings of more than 500,000 volumes of monographic and serial publications of U.S. state government agencies and legislatures from the earliest period through 1950, including financial reports and research studies.
  • Rich historical holdings of U.S. and foreign scientific and technical publications. Generally, its collections in science, technology and engineering emphasizes titles not commonly held by other major North American research libraries.
  • Many specialized groups of materials, including a reference book archive, college and university catalogs, primary and secondary textbooks, railroad publications, curriculum guides and foreign central bank publications. Also held are major microform sets in literature, art, theater, music, science, and other fields.

How to use Center for Research Libraries materials

Discover items by using the CRL Catalog or the link to Digital Collections

The Center for Research Libraries is also listed in the A-Z databases list. Physical items may be requested using VCU Interlibrary Loan services. Contact Shirley Thomas, srthomas@vcu.edu, (804) 828-1706 with questions. For more detailed information, please see the CRL Research Guide. 

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