In an era when the uniqueness of a library’s collections are distinguished by not only what books it has in the stacks but also what it has in terms of special and digital collections, it is interesting to note a few exceptional examples of rare and unique items that are of interest to scholars: in this case, Latin and Irish manuscripts.
Recently Kenneth B. Steinhauser, PhD, a professor in the Department of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University published a survey of Latin medieval and Renaissance manuscripts he studied at Villanova University. He catalogs the thirteen manuscripts in Falvey Memorial Library and the two in the Augustinian Historical Institute collection. Dr. Steinhauser states in his published article on the subject, “In summation, the manuscript collection at Villanova University emphasizes the Augustinian tradition, specifically works of Augustine himself, Augustinian liturgical material and writings of medieval Augustinian theologians.” See Manuscripta 57.2 (2013): 205-77 (DOI 10.1484/j.MSS.1.103704).
Irish history and heritage is another unique focus of our special collections. A Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in Villanova University, Pennsylvania by William J. Mahon was published by the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2007.
Villanova University’s Special Collections and Digital Library assembles, presents and preserves physical and digital collections that support teaching and research of the campus community and the global network of scholarship; the Rare Book Room houses over 15,000 rare and unique physical documents and artifacts requiring special handling and preservation ranging from medieval manuscripts to early popular American newspapers, while online over 20,000 items are available. The historical record of Villanova University is available in the University Archives, which is also in Falvey.
The physical library collection has more than 500,000 printed volumes, including books and historical runs of major academic journals. Web-accessible resources include over two hundred general and discipline-specific research databases, approximately ten thousand full text electronic journals, and extensive microfilm and audiovisual collections. Online collections also include almost 650,000 digital volumes encompassing the corpus of English-language books from the earliest days of the movable type printing press through scholarly literature of the early twenty-first century. Beyond Villanova’s collection, the regional E-ZBorrow system in which Falvey participates provides one-stop searching and access to over 35 million books from 50 college and university libraries in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and West Virginia. In addition, materials can be requested from libraries world-wide through Inter-Library Loan. See http://library.villanova.edu/about/services/illservices/.