Special Collections is a closed stack library, meaning that staff pulls all materials that patrons request and book shelves cannot be browsed.
All material is also non-circulating so it must be reviewed on-site in the Reading Room.
Special Collections manages a rare book collection of over 50,000 titles. The primary book collection is called the Sevier Collection, which is named after the first governor of Tennessee.
Other book collections include the Sam Fleming Southern Civilization; Harris D. Riley, Jr. Civil War Heritage Collection; Robert H. West Demonology and Witchcraft Collection; Nettie Hale Rand Collection of Fine Bindings; and the Jesse Wills Fugitive and Agrarian Collection.
Highlights of these collections include a first edition of Ulysses by James Joyce, signed by the author (1922); a rare edition of Chaucer, published by Kelmscott Press (1896); a Book of Hours (1480); and a copy of Malleus Maleficarum, an English translation of the famous Latin treatise on witches and witchcraft (1928).