• Home


Brittany Long Olsen created one of the most interesting missionary journals we have ever seen.

Each day during the eighteen months she was on her mission she drew one image as part of her diary. Later she collected the images from her sketchbooks and combined them into one volume. The result is the book “Dendo” which means “missionary work” in Japanese.

The L. Tom Perry Special Collections is the home to Olsen’s collection and they have created a new exhibition featuring her sketchbooks, photos, and artifacts from her mission,”Dendo in Real Life.” This is a rare opportunity to see the materials behind a unique creative work.

“Dendo in Real Life” is located on level 1 of the library in the entry to Special Collections. It is open during Special Collections hours, Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am until 9:00 pm (closed for devotionals on Tuesday from 11:00 until noon), 8:00 am until 6:00 pm on Fridays, and 10:00 am until 6:00 pm on Saturday’s.

The public is welcome and admission is free.


Collecting, Preserving, Inspiring

The library opened a new exhibition on level 3, the main floor.

Collecting, Preserving, Inspiring was created with input from all of the curators in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections.

The purpose of the exhibition is to teach people the history and mission of Special Collections.

The Friends of the Library have long been supportive of Special Collections, helping purchase many of the unique items that now reside in our collections.

After visiting the exhibition, if you have any questions you are welcome to stop by Special Collections on level 1 of the library where the staff will be happy to help you.

The exhibit is open during all library hours and admission is free.

Commencement Features Library Employee

BYU Photo


This year’s commencement featured a Library Information Technology Department employee, Marcos Gallo, as the student speaker.  

His boss tells us Gallo is fluent in four languages, is graduating with honors, has presented at a national political science conference on his research on human trafficking in Thailand, and is a real wiz with computers.  

The University Communications Office posted an interview with him. You can read it here https://news.byu.edu/news/focusing-people-and-moments-matter-most-qa-student-commencement-speaker.

The library is fortunate to have so many talented students who chose to work here. We wish all the graduating students well in their new endeavors.


Book Collecting Conference 2016



The A. Dean Larsen Book Collecting conference for 2016 was a great success.

On Thursday a small group of lucky participants were able to attend pre-conference workshops on bookbinding or paper making.




On Friday the conference kicked off with breakfast and a welcome from Russ Taylor, the Associate University Librarian for Special Collections.




Sessions included Mormon illustrators, Mormon fantasy authors, the library’s Yellowstone collection, herbal and botanical texts, and more. For a complete list visit https://adlbcc2016.wordpress.com/seminars/







Carol Reid Burr was the keynote speaker. After lunch she told the story of her mother, Rose Marie Reid, the famous swimwear designer.




In the afternoon there was a gallery stroll of the exhibition Rose Marie Reid: Glamour By Design.




The next A. Dean Larsen Book Collecting Conference will take place in March of 2017.


About the Conference:

Because of the generous gift and ongoing support of the late A. Dean Larsen and his family, the L. Tom Perry Special Collections is able to sponsor this unique experience.

In the Spring of the year collectors and enthusiasts of rare books gather together at the L. Tom Perry Special Collections on the Brigham Young University campus to enjoy each others company and participate in the unique experience of the A. Dean Larsen Book Collecting Conference.

Each year offers different and exciting workshops and seminars where  participants  see and learn first hand about many of the treasures located in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections.  Gifted and knowledgeable professionals share their expertise in the beautiful and comfortable surrounding of the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University.

Conference goers may select four out of the many seminars offered.  Add to these seminar sessions two breaks, morning and afternoon for refreshment and socializing; a delicious lunch with a wonderful speaker, and you have a delightful day of biblio-exploration!  And if you want even more, don’t forget the pre-conference workshops.




Train Wrecks and Tabernacles

The last century in Utah Valley has been a time of incredible change. The Harold B. Lee Library at BYU has a new exhibition, Life in Happy Valley: A Historic Survey of Utah County, featuring photographs and artifacts that tell the story of the area’s development. The exhibit starts with artifacts from the construction site of the old Provo Tabernacle: nails, coins, buttons, and a piece of china are on display. You can track the changes on the block, including fires and demolitions, through a timeline from 1851 to 2016.

MSS P 427 #27

Another section of the exhibit shows the development of transportation, specifically the railroads. Following the completion of the transcontinental railroad, freight lines and spurs spread out across the country. In Utah Valley several lines were built including the Utah Electric Interurban Railroad.  With trains the valley was no longer isolated. A person could go from the station near downtown Provo and, through connections, reach either coast in a couple of days. While rail travel made it comfortable to get to and from Utah Valley, it wasn’t always safe. In 1918 Mayor LeRoy Dixon of Provo was one of fourteen passengers injured in a collision between a Denver & Rio Grand Railroad locomotive and a Salt Lake & Utah Railroad train.

The exhibition looks at the two universities in the valley and the history of recreation. You can even see the original sign for Timp Haven.

Timp Haven

The exhibition is the work of Dr. Jay H. Buckley of the Department of History at BYU; Tom Wells, the Photo Archivist of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections; John Murphy, Curator of 20th & 21st century Mormon and Western Americana; and Cory Nimor, BYU’s University Archivist. The four scholars teamed up to bring the best of each of their specialties to the exhibition.


Behind the Scenes

Kendal Samurai


Few people realize that the majority of employees in the library are students. There are students who staff the Help Desks, students who reshelf the books and videos, and students who work for custodial to keep the building clean. The library staff are aware of the importance of providing a positive work experiences where students can learn new skills and develop strong work habits.

Sometimes the students get more than they expected. Over the course of the last few weeks students have been working to promote and display many of the amazing Japanese items the library has in its collection. Student employees had the opportunity to look at 15th century Japanese ghost scrolls and to help photograph a 400-year of suit of armor.

Contributions to The Friends of the Library help us acquire unique items that open the door to a world of discovery for our students.


Emma Scroll


The World is Our Campus: Adapting Our Collections to Keep Up With World Events



The nature of a university is that its students and faculty have interests in a wide variety of fields. Some subjects are easy to access, for example if you want to read the works of naturalists in the western United States you are in luck. We host the journal Western North American Naturalist on our library’s servers. (You can see a list of other journals we host at https://journals.lib.byu.edu/spc/.) Oher topics require us to look further afield. Recent events have driven interest in research materials related to North Korea. In response the library was able to acquire access to NK News.

NK News


“NK News is an independent, privately owned specialist site focused on North Korea. NK News has no affiliation to any political organization or country. The site aims to be a one-stop-shop on North Korea, bringing together news, opinion & analysis, research tools, data, and subject specialists in one convenient place.”

This is just one example of the library’s ability to adapt and support the reserch needs of the students and faculty at Brigham Young University. You can follow the library’s acquisition of new databases by visiting http://lib.byu.edu/feeds/electronic-resources/, once there you can subscribe to the RSS feed.

Your Contributions Bought This

St Johns Bible

Thanks to the many kind contributions of the Friends of the Library, the L. Tom Perry Special collections was able to complete its set of the heritage edition of the Saint John’s Bible.

The Saint John’s Bible is considered by many to be the most significant bible created in the last 500 years. It is the first complete hand written illuminated bible produced in centuries. Saint John’s University commissioned Donald Jackson to produce a one of a kind work. Jackson in turn enlisted the help of a team of calligraphers and illustrators who worked for years to finish the project.

Because of its size the Bible is divided up into 7 volumes. The original pages of the bible and their illustrations are, as yet unbound. From time to time, sections are on display at museums, universities, and church’s across the United States. A limited number of fine press facsimile editions of the Bible have been produced. Named the heritage edition, these fine press copies are available for sale. Kind donors pitched in to purchase most of the volumes and the Friends did their part so that we could have a complete set. These heritage editions are remarkable works in and of themselves. They are equal in size to the original measuring almost 24 inches tall and a yard wide when open. Where the original was made with vellum, the heritage editions are printed on fine paper with remarkable attention to detail. For example, where the original pages have a little bleed through of ink from the back of the page the heritage edition have reproduced that look by printing the pale image of the preceding page behind the text.

Because of their size, the quality of the paper, and the leather bindings each book weighs about thirty-five pounds. The library has two large hard travel cases that allow us to take a pair of books on the road to open houses at other institutions.

In 2013 curators from the L. Tom Perry Special Collections took examples to the Gerald R. Sherratt Library at Southern Utah University. The books were a hit with students from design classes. They also took them to the George Sutherland Archives in the Utah Valley University Library.

SJB UVU Visit 3

The library often puts one of the volumes on display in the foyer of Special Collections on level 1. Each day a student employee opens the display case and turns the page to prevent the book from fading.

SJB UVU Visit 2

The Friends of the Library purchased volume 2 of the Saint John’s Bible, titled “Historical Books.” It contains the books Joshua through 2 Maccabees. You can see a virtual version of the volume by clicking on the link below.


St Johns Open House

For more information on the Saint John’s Bible you can visit their homepage at http://www.saintjohnsbible.org/

Work in Progess

The southwest corner of the library's Reading Room is looking a little rough these days.

The southwest corner of the library’s Reading Room is looking a little rough these days.

Typically the library is a bright clean place where students spend their time, which is why it is a bit of a shock to walk into the Reading Room these days. A section of lights have been removed from the ceiling and the carpet tiles have been pulled and sorted into neat stacks along the wall. There are a variety of industrial machines in the area and from time to time workers enter and are busy building new infrastructure. In the end it will all be worth it as we work to improve what is already one of the most popular places to study on campus. All the work should be done before fall semester and we are looking forward to sharing several new features with our student patrons. We’ll pass along more details on the work as things are completed.


Hidden Historical Treasures

While finding buried treasure may seem like a childhood fantasy, that very thing happened during the recent renovations on campus.

Michael Cowan was assisting with the recent fire alarm retrofit in the Grant Building and happened upon a bit of BYU history completely by chance.

“I set my flashlight down and the beam was shining through a hole in the brick,” Cowan said. “I saw pages and a blue cover so I investigated further and found that the walls in that area are literally stuffed with them.”

To university archivist Gordon Daines’ delight, Cowan had uncovered pamphlets of BYU’s course catalog, some dating back as far as 1938.

“As far as I can tell they were used as a type of grout stop in the masonry walls under the main staircase,” Cowan shared.

Cowan has found other out-of-the-ordinary things.

“While crawling around many of the older buildings at BYU, I have found many interesting objects including many old Daily Universes as early as 1965 and, funny enough, a partially consumed bottle of whiskey that dates back to the 70s,” Cowan said.

Become a Friend

Give to the Library

Donate to the library online or print the membership form and follow the instructions included.

For questions, contact cali_oconnell@byu.edu or call 801-422-2905.

Database Access

Access Databases

* For Friends of the Library Sponsors with an activated database account.