Wilson Library was completed in 1929. Photo credit William Yeung. (Source)

Louis Round Wilson Library, or Wilson Library, is located on the campus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Completed in 1929, it houses special collections of the UNC-CH library system.


Wilson Library under construction in January, 1929. Photo credit UNC North Carolina Collection Photographic Archive. (Source)

Architect Arthur C. Nash, (1871-1969), designed Wilson Library in the Beaux Arts style, alongside firm McKim, Mead and White. Wilson Library served as the university’s main library from 1929 until 1984, when Davis Library opened. Wilson Library was built during a period of quick expansion for the university; 23 campus buildings were constructed between 1920 and 1931.


Wilson Library later expanded through two significant additions: In 1952, construction added two wings and additional stack space for books. In 1977, the stacks were expanded further.

After the completion of Davis Library in 1984, Wilson Library underwent an extensive renovation process to both modernize the building and prepare it for use in preservation of rare materials and other special collections. Wilson Library now houses those collections in addition to many other library services.



Louis Round Wilson, (1876-1979), served North Carolinians as a librarian and as an educator. Wilson, born in Lenoir, North Carolina, was an 1899 graduate of UNC-CH. Wilson played a key role in developing the North Carolina Library Association, and he secured funding to continue the university’s library expansion.


Main Collections:

Wilson Library houses several collections. These collections include:

  • Southern Folklife Collection

    • The Southern Folklife Collection houses archives relating to preserving art, music, and culture about the American South.

  • North Carolina Collection

    • The North Carolina Collection spans four centuries worth of state history. The collection includes three divisions: the Research Library, the North Carolina Collection Gallery, and Photographic Archives.

  • Southern Historical Collection

    • The Southern Historical Collection houses information regarding the culture and history of the American South.

  • Rare Book Collection

    • The Rare Book Collection houses more than 200,000 printed volumes, which spans publications prior to 1501 to present day. The collection includes Renaissance manuscripts, graphics, and historical papers, among other items.

  • University Archives and Records Management Services

    • University Archives and Records Management Services (UARMS) serves the university as an official archive and repository system.

Wilson Library's Grand Reading Room. Photo credit John Bule. (Source)

Other organizations and features located within Wilson Library:



Wilson Library’s regular hours are:

  • Sunday: 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

  • Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

  • Saturday: 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

See the library's website for details on holiday, intersession, and exam schedules.


Contact and visiting information:

Phone: (919) 962-3765

Email: [email protected]

Directions, Parking, and Access Concerns


External Links:

Wilson Library’s official website


Sources used in this article: