Distinctive Collections is the conglomeration of ASU’s libraries that hold rare and unique materials. Included are Hayden Library, Design and the Arts Library, Labriola National American Indian Data Center, and the Senator John S. McCain Papers Project, and we partner closely with the Map and Geospatial Hub and Music library. We are committed to providing access to everyone who is interested in learning about our collections.

We have rare books, manuscripts, photographs, prints, historical newspapers, realia, architectural drawings, materials related to ASU’s history, and much more. Our major collections document the peoples and places of the Southwest Region. We also have collections that provide a window into the history and cultures of North America, Western Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.

Distinctive Collections is committed to providing access to these materials to everyone interested. We also value our partnerships with faculty, students, researchers, university offices, non-profit organizations, museums, research centers, and private donors who play a valuable role in building our collections and defining our services.

  • Archivists Nancy Godoy and Alana Varner demonstrate how to archive and preserve family photographs for an Archives and Preservation Workshop.

    Our team

    The Distinctive Collections team consists of librarians and archivists who have extensive disciplinary knowledge to help students, researchers, and members of the community interested in our collections. Our team also has specialized training in the selection, description, and specialized care of rare and unique historical materials.


  • Interested in a collection?

    Get in touch with an archivist or curator to learn more!

    Ask an Archivist




Our featured collections

  • Chicano

    Chicano/a Research Collection

    Arizona’s largest Latino archival collection that focuses on oral histories and family records.

  • ChildDrama

    Child Drama Collection

    The world’s largest archive that documents children’s theatre from the 16th century to present.

  • AZ

    Greater Arizona Collection

    This collection documents the diverse communities and cultures and political histories of the region.

  • RareBooks

    Rare Books and Manuscripts

    From Chaucer to Star Wars, more than 34,000 rare items spanning 40 centuries.

  • designandarts

    Design and Arts Special Collections

    This collection emphasizes desert-sensitive design and the evolution of midcentury and modern architecture in the Southwest.

  • A person rests their hand on a book that is sitting on a book cradle, strings of page weights are on each side.

    Latin Americana Collection

    This collection supports ASU faculty and students studying the literature, history, culture and languages of Latin America, Spain and Portugal.

Connect with us


Nov 10
An Indian Among Los Indigenas
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm