Overview Special Collections & University Archives

J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives unit is dedicated to connecting people with the knowledge available in unique and rare resources. We work to preserve and share the history and culture of UNC Charlotte and the Charlotte region. 

Our collections include manuscripts (the personal archives of individuals and families as well as those of local organizations), the university's records, rare and unique books, maps, local government documents, and oral history recordings. These  resources are available for use in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. We are open to the public, and everyone is welcome. We offer reference help and instruction services.

Some of our collections have been digitized and are available online. Members of our department also manage the library's state and federal government documents, which are available on the third floor of the library.

Our Department's History

The Special Collections unit was established in 1973 to care for J. Murrey Atkins Library's Rare Books and Manuscripts collections and University Archives. The organization of the unit was stimulated by a substantial gift by local businessman, bibliophile and art collector Harry L. Dalton for the purchase of rare books. In 2015, the name of the unit was changed to Special Collections and University Archives in order to raise awareness of our role as the stewards of our institution’s records and history.

Our Mission

J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives advances scholarship, research, and teaching at UNC Charlotte by building, preserving, and providing access to collections of unique and distinctive value. We work collaboratively with diverse internal and external constituencies to document, preserve, and share the history and culture of the University and the Charlotte region for UNC Charlotte affiliates and for members of the broader community. 

Our Vision

J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections & University Archives will be widely recognized as a trusted and inclusive space for the preservation and discovery of our campus and regional history. Our distinctive collections and innovative services will advance scholarship and student learning in subjects across the curriculum. We will empower communities on campus and in Charlotte to manage their personal and organizational records, maintain institutional memory, and collaborate in the preservation of our shared cultural heritage.

Our Values

Service Excellence

We are approachable, knowledgeable and helpful to all those who use our services.


We ensure equitable, unbiased access to the collections in our care and and work to promote and provide the widest possible access that is consistent with the law, donor agreements, and personal privacy.

Responsible Stewardship

We take proactive measures to preserve and manage the collections in our care now and for the benefit of future generations.


We are trustworthy, honest, ethical, transparent, and reliable in all of our relationships.

Inclusivity and Respect

We work toward an open, participatory environment in which we respect and promote diversity, value labor, and extend empathy to all.

Community Engagement

We are civically engaged, and we reach out to the campus and wider community seeking collaborative relationships rooted in shared goals.

Education and Scholarship

We promote scholarly inquiry, the sharing of knowledge, teaching and learning.


We strive to adhere to the highest standards of the archival and library professions while constantly seeking innovative ways to do our work and create new partnerships.