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Rare Books Room: Home

Welcome to the Rare Books Room!


Accessing the Collection

A screenshot of the library webpage with "Evergreen Rare Books" selected in the search bar's dropdown menu.

You can search for titles in the Rare Books Room through the library catalog. Just make sure to select "Rare Books Room" from the drop-down menu to the right of the search box.

Spring Quarter:

  • Sunday: 11am-5pm
  • Monday: 11am-5pm
  • Tuesday: 12pm-6pm
  • Wednesday: 12pm-6pm
  • Thursday: 11am-5pm
  • Friday: 12pm-5:30pm


Contact us via email or by phone to book an appointment or class visit.


Phone: (360)867-6625



Q: What is this place?

A: The James F. Holly Rare Books Collection, located in Library 3302, houses a miscellany of odd, old, and beautiful books. Named in honor of the College’s founding Dean of Library Services, the James Holly Collection testifies to Evergreen’s commitment to the preservation of history and culture through the art of the book. The collection is comprised of handmade and small press books, important first editions, miniature books and hand-printed ephemera, as well as trade books that are both rare and beautiful to look at, touch, and read. We also collect books with regional content and themes, including Northwest authors, Northwest history, and diverse antiquities donated by people who live in the Northwest region. We also provide a home for books that are too fragile to circulate, like pamphlet-type books and older paperbacks (such as are found in the Norman Schaefer collection).

Q: What makes a book “rare”?

A: There are several factors that might contribute to a book’s designation as “rare,” including: scarcity due to limited print run or age, having been hand-printed and/or bound by hand, signed by the author or illustrator, being a first edition, having been owned by a well-known or locally significant person, etc. Check out this site for more basic information:

Q: Are there any rules for entering the Rare Books Room?

A: Yes. We ask that you leave any food, drink, and backpacks outside the room or with the staff member while you browse the collection. Allow staff members to shelve materials for you. Wash your hands before touching the books and be kind to the bindings. We are here to help you handle these objects! Rare books cannot be checked out or leave the Rare Books Room.

Q: Can I touch the books?

A: Please allow staff members to return books to the shelf. You are welcome to touch the books in the collection, but we recommend washing your hands first. For fragile, old, oversize, or deteriorating books, a staff member can help you open and turn the pages.

Q: What is the oldest book in your collection?

A: The oldest books in our collection include the following titles:


Q: What is your favorite book in the collection?

A: We all have our favorites! Ask our staff member at the desk to tell you theirs.


Q: How do you choose new materials to add to the collection?

A: The Rare Books Room has its own collection development policy and selection criteria that it uses to select new materials. If you would like to donate materials or suggest a purchase for the collection, please email

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Daniel J. Evans Library - MS: LIB2300 - 2700 Evergreen Parkway, NE. Olympia, WA 98501 - 360-867-6250