Beth M. Whittaker

University Libraries - University Libraries
Librarian; Director of Spencer Research Library; Assistant Dean for Distinctive Collections
Primary office:
Kenneth Spencer Research Library
University of Kansas
1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence, KS 66045


Beth M. Whittaker is Associate Dean of Distinctive Collections at the University of Kansas Libraries, where she leads special collections, archives, conservation, and international area studies initiatives. She served as the editor of RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, an ACRL journal, for many years, has written and presented widely on a variety of topics related to special collections, cataloging, and cultural heritage, and has held various leadership positions in ACRL's Rare Books and Manuscripts Section.


M.L.I.S., University of Texas at Austin

M.A., History, University of Kansas

B.A., History & French, University of Kansas

Selected Publications

Thomas, L. M., & Whittaker, B. M. (2016). New Directions for Special Collections: An Anthology of Practice, Libraries Unlimited.

Whittaker, B. M. (2015). "Editing RBM". RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, 16(1).

Carter, L. M., & Whittaker, B. M. (2015). Area Studies and Special Collections: Shared Challenges, Shared Strength. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 15(2), 353-373.

Whittaker, B. M. (Ed.). (2012). Vivat Liber: Reflections marking the occasion of Alexandra Mason's retirement from the Kenneth Spencer Research Library (B. M. Whittaker, Ed.). Lawrence, KS : University of Kansas Libraries.

Whittaker, B. M., & Thomas, L. M. (2009). Special Collections 2.0: Using New Technologies to Collect, Describe, Promote and Preserve Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Archival Collections, Santa Barbara, CA : Libraries Unlimited.

Whittaker, B. M. (2008). Using Circulation Systems for Special Collections: Tracking Usage, Promoting the Collection, and Addressing the Backlogs. College & Research Libraries , 69 , 28-35.

Whittaker, B. M. (2007). DACS & RDA: Insights and Questions from the New Archival Descriptive Standard. Library Resources & Technical Services , 51 , 98-105.

Whittaker, B. M. (2006). ’Get It, Catalog It, Promote It’: New Challenges in Providing Access to Special Collections. RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, 121-133.

Selected Presentations

Carter, L. R., Hawley, E. & Whittaker, B. . (06/20/2018). Does Distinctive Mean Diverse?: Exploring the Convergence of Special and Area Studies Collections. Rare Books and Manuscripts Conference. New Orleans, LA

Hanrath, S. Whittaker, B. M. & Miller, K. E. (03/08/2018). Recovering Library Services, Spaces, and Collections . 20th Annual Master Property Program Loss Control Workshop . St. Louis, MO

Whittaker, B. . (06/22/2017). Telling the Story of Our Collections through Space and Permanent Exhibits. Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (Association of College and Research Libraries) Conference. Iowa City, IA

Nowak, S. Coleman, A. Whittaker, B. M. & Haynes, J. . (11/02/2016). Speaking Volumes: Conveying Meaning Through Collections. Kansas Museums Association Conference. Leavenworth, KS

Micham, L. Whittaker, B. & Hawley, E. . (06/24/2016). Common Sense, Charm, and a Glass of Wine: Successfully Navigating Donor Relations in Special Collections. 57th Rare Books and Manuscripts Section Conference. . Coral Gables, FL

Whittaker, B. Donnelly, C. & D'Antonio, S. . (10/23/2015). Exhibit Design to Engage Students in Recovering History. . Missouri Association for Museums and Archives Annual Meeting.. Columbia, MO

Whittaker, B. M. (05/14/2015). Stories from the Spencer. Aldus Society. Columbus, OH

Whittaker, B. M. & Overholt, J. . (06/18/2009). Web 2.0 and Special Collections. Co-moderator, discussion group, 50th Annual RBMS Preconference. Charlottesville, VA

Whittaker, B. M., Wood, L. & Manecke, K. . (05/08/2008). Combined Cataloging: Archives and Objects Collections. Presentation, Society of Ohio Archivists conference. Dublin, OH

Whittaker, B. M. (06/20/2007). Where Does Special Collections Cataloging Belong? The Pros and Cons of Alternative Reporting Structures in Academic and Research Libraries. Seminar moderator and presentation, 48th Annual RBMS Preconference. Baltimore, MD

Russell, B. M. & Helmick, N. L. (05/21/2006). Tracking Use of Special Collections Materials. Presentation, 14th Annual Innovative Users’ Group Conference. Denver, CO

Selected Grants

Thomas, Lynne M, (Collaborator), New Directions for Special Collections: An Anthology of Practice, KU Libraries Committee on Research and Scholarly Activity, $800, (08/02/2016 - 11/30/2016). University (KU or KUMC). Status: Funded.

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