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W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library: Start Here

A guide to accessing resources at the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library.

About Us

The Hoole Library is open to The University of Alabama community and to the public, and is a non-circulating collection. The lobby features exhibitions on a regular basis, and is often host to special events, lectures, and readings.

Organized in 1945 by Dr. William Stanley Hoole, UA Libraries Special Collections was renamed in his honor in 1977. The library moved from the fourth floor of the Gorgas Library to its current location in 1993.

Major holdings

  • Manuscript and photo collections from Alabamians
  • Rare books about the U.S., the South, or Alabama
  • University of Alabama publications
  • Sheet music
  • Cookbooks, particularly African American and Southern
  • Comic books


Mary Harmon Bryant Hall, on the University of Alabama campus, Tuscaloosa, Ala.


MWF 9-5 and TR 9-8; Exceptions:

  • Summer I and II: MTWF 9-5 and R 9-7
  • Interim and when classes aren't in session: M-F 9-5

More Information

205-348-0500 / / library website

During Your Visit

Much of our collections are one-of-a-kind or rare, so they require special levels of security and care. This means we have a few rules that all users are required to adhere to. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

  • Please sign in with the person at the front desk before entering the reading room.
  • No bags, purses, briefcases or laptop cases are allowed in the reading room. We can provide you a locker in which to store your belongings. 
  • Paper and pencils are provided at the reading room desk. Pens are not permitted.
  • If you would like to use your laptop, please request permission with the reference librarian. We have two laptops available for patron use. Please check with the person at the reference desk. 
  • Food and drinks are not permitted.

FAQs About Using the Reading Room

  1. Do I need to make an appointment? No. The reading room is open at the hours indicated, and someone is available to help you. However, you are welcome to make an appointment or contact us before your visit to make sure the materials you want to see will be on reserve for you.
  2. Can I check out materials from Hoole? No. Part of the reason materials are here is so we can give them extra care -- climate and security. You'll have to use them in our reading room.
  3. How do I request materials in the reading room? Tell the person working at the reference desk what kind of resource you want to see, and they'll give you the appropriate request form. Our materials are housed on site. 
  4. Do I need to wear gloves? Probably not, unless you're looking at photographs. Washing your hands before you come into the reading room should be sufficient.
  5. Can I take pictures? Yes. You'll need to fill out a form (ask the person working at the reference desk), in which you agree to use the images only for your own research purposes. If you need to request a high-res image or ask for permission to publish it, see our policies page, specifically the section Imaging and Digitization. Please don't take pictures of our space or patrons.
  6. Can I access University Archives materials? It depends. Some portions of the University Archives are open, but for most, access can only be granted by the entity on campus that created the records. We are simply custodians of those materials.

Subject Guide

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Kate Matheny
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Current Exhibits

For Home and Country: America’s Entry into the “War to End All Wars”‚Äč
Gorgas Library, Pearce Foyer (2nd floor)

The Family You Choose: Documenting 30+ Years of LGBTQ+ Life at the Capstone
Williams Collection, Reading Room (Gorgas Library Room 301)

The Day in the Life of a Miner
Hoole Library, Lobby (Mary Harmon Bryant Hall, 2nd floor)

The (Real) Life of (the Hidden) Abraham Lincoln (that Nobody Knows!)
Hoole Library, Reading Room (Mary Harmon Bryant Hall, 2nd floor)

See Current Exhibitions for descriptions.