Overview of Collections

The UWM Libraries currently hold 5.4 million cataloged items and offer access to over 87,000 journals. Strength of holdings in the General Collection parallels the campus’ doctoral programs in Africology, anthropology, architecture, biological sciences, chemistry, communications, economics, educational psychology, engineering, English, environmental and occupational health, freshwater sciences, geography, geosciences, health sciences, history, information studies, linguistics, management science, mathematics, nursing, physics, political science, psychology, public health, social work, sociology, urban education, and urban studies.

Special libraries and collections include:

American Geographical Society Library

The American Geographical Society Library (AGSL) contains over 1.28 million items, including maps, atlases, books, periodicals, photographic images, and digital data files. AGSL boasts a wide range of rare resources supporting instruction, research, and outreach.

Its scope is worldwide with coverage from the 15th century to the present, and its resources have been used to produce an ongoing series of digital collections, including an award-winning website on Afghanistan, a comprehensive site on world transportation, sites featuring unique photographic documentation of such places as Tibet, the Republic of Georgia, Korea, and World War II Poland, and a series on cities of the world.

Recent acquisitions have greatly enhanced resources for such places as China, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Arctic.

Archives

The Archives administers UWM’s archives and records management programs, a local history collecting program, and the Milwaukee Area Research Center of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Collections support research and instruction in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Significant collecting areas include Milwaukee brewing history, social action, and underrepresented population groups. The WTMJ-TV news film collection, 1950-1980, is the largest archive of television news footage in Wisconsin.

Special Collections

Special Collections consists primarily of rare and special printed materials that hold long-term, historical research potential. The collections support a broad range of research and teaching activities in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Special Collections boasts a large number of significant holdings including the Book Arts Collection, with over 2000 items and a growing international reputation, and the Fromkin Collection of American Social Justice, which supports the oldest lecture series on campus.

Media and Reserve Library

The Media and Reserve Library supports UWM’s curriculum through a variety of print and non-print resources. Among the resources located here are audiobooks on CD, Browsing Book Collection, DVDs & videotapes, print newspapers, and Reserve materials.

Equipment, including audio recorders, digital cameras, iPads, laptops, portable projector and other media accessories are available in the library for checkout by current UWM students.  Some items are also available for checkout by UWM faculty and staff. An Audio Recording Booth and Media Viewing Room are managed, maintained, and located within the Media & Reserve Library.

The Microtext Research Collection is maintained by the Media & Reserve Library and located on the same level.​

Music Library 

The Music Library holds nearly 70,000 circulating books and scores and more than 60,000 sound recordings. Facilities are available to listen to CDs, cassettes, and LPs on site.

Through a combination of subscriptions to commercial services and local digital preparation, the Music Library provides 24/7 access to well over 2 million individual tracks for both recreational and course-related listening. The Music Library holds the largest collection of Slovenian music in the United States.​

Digital Collections

Digital Collections includes over 130,000 images, maps, books, and audio visual materials drawn from the collections of the American Geographical Society Library, Archives, Special Collections, Music Library, and Curriculum Collection, providing remote access to visual resources on global issues as well as treasures of local cultural heritage.

Curriculum Collection

The Curriculum Collection supports teacher preparation programs and courses in the UWM School of Education, the Peck School of the Arts, and the School of Information Studies, as well as courses across the University. Service is extended to teachers in the Milwaukee area and the local community.

The collection is focused on literature for children and youth, birth through grade 12. The collection features recent publications both fiction and non-fiction, including award winners such as Caldecott and Newbery; resources on ethnic and cultural groups; donated textbooks adopted by area schools.

Government Information

The UWM Libraries are a selective U.S. Federal Government Depository. Federal government publications are housed throughout the Libraries, based on format and subject; others are available via links within Search@UW.

The UWM Libraries also collect selected State of Wisconsin publications through participation in the Wisconsin Document Depository Program.