About International Collections

KU Libraries are a strong supporter of international and area studies. For decades KU Librarians and staff have partnered with KU Area Studies programs and language departments to assemble diverse and unique materials from all over the world in support of research and learning at KU. The collection consists of more than 1.5 million volumes and electronic objects, which constitutes approximately 35% of the Libraries print holdings. Holdings are particularly strong for Africa, East Asia, Latin America, Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. Friendly librarians and staff provide a suite of services that specialized faculty research and student learning about international topics and regions of the world.


Africana collections at the University of Kansas Libraries include approximately 80,000 printed volumes. The Libraries receive over 1,000 serial publications, the predominant majority of which are available electronically. In addition to the regular collection of printed holdings, the Africana collections include maps and atlases, U.S. federal and international documents, microforms, videocassettes and DVD’s, digital resources, and several special collections of note.

The primary subject focus of collection development efforts have been the social sciences and humanities, with selected areas of the natural sciences also included. Historically, the collections have been developed at a strong study level, with primary focus on Africa south of the Sahara. Languages collected have included works published in English, French, and Portuguese, and in the African languages taught in the university curriculum, principally Amharic, African dialects of Arabic, Hausa, Swahili, and Wolof.

Learn more about the African collections.

East Asian

The East Asian collection at the University of Kansas primarily supports the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) programs at KU, and the teaching and study of East Asia in the mid-America region. KU CEAS is one of the National Resource Centers funded by the Education Department Title VI grant. For 50 years, the Center has advanced the quality and dissemination of knowledge about East Asia. The library collection supports B.A. and M.A. programs in East Asian Languages and Cultures and Ph. D. programs in anthropology, art history, communications, fine arts, geography, government and policy, history, linguistics, philosophy, political science, religious studies, sociology, theater and film, and women’s studies.  East Asian courses are offered in the Business, Education, Engineering, Journalism, Law and Social Welfare professional schools. As of June 2013, the total holdings of the East Asian collection consisted of approximately 330,000 items including 287,728 print volumes, 29,209 ebooks by purchase or subscription, and 13,182 other materials. Journal and eJournal titles include 4,746 in Chinese, 1,419 in Japanese, and 5,069 in Korean. It is among the top 20 collections in the U.S. and 10th among public funded collections. Primary languages collected are Chinese (modern and classical both in simplified and traditional characters), Japanese, Korean, and English. Secondary languages are Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur, and European languages.

Learn more about the East Asian collection.

Slavic & Eurasian

The Slavic & Eurasian Collection and librarians at the University of Kansas support specialized faculty research and student learning about the Slavic and Eurasian regions.   More specifically, the collection supports the programs of the KU Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies CREES and the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. The collection and staff also serve as a National Resource Center for educational institutions and individuals in the Great Plains region and nationwide. Holdings include over 500,000 bound volumes, 3,000 periodical titles, and numerous electronic documents, images, and other media from and about Russia, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus Region, and Central Asia. The staff consists of three librarians with specialized expertise in the languages and cultures of the region.

The three greatest strengths of the collections are in Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Polish materials, but materials in all other Slavic and many non-Slavic East European languages are also acquired on a selective basis. The preponderance of the collection is in the social sciences, humanities, and arts, with an emphasis on literature, languages, culture, history, political science, economics and geography.

Read more about the Slavic & Eurasian collections.

Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American, & Caribbean

The Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American, & Caribbean Collection at the University of Kansas Libraries include nearly 500,000 titles; its collection on Central America is among the top three in the nation with 106,000 titles. It contains particularly strong holdings on Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Cuba, Haiti, and Mexico. The collection has extensive breadth in literature, language, culture, history, political science, economics, geography, and other fields in the social sciences and the humanities.

Learn more about the Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American, & Caribbean collections.

Global Studies

Global Studies, as a discipline, has been growing steadily over the past two decades. Collections in this discipline support the study of globalization, transnational issues, and a global perspective on the world that goes beyond one country or region. The collection also supports developing programs such as European Studies, Jewish Studies, Middle East Studies, and South Asian Studies. As with all international collections at KU, these small collections are not housed in separate locations, but live within the broader collections of KU Libraries in general.

International Collections

Location & Hours

Watson Library, 5th Floor
1425 Jayhawk Blvd, Rm. 519
Lawrence, KS 66045

Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.