In addition to its estimated 80,000 circulating volumes and fine collection of rare books, the library, also a museum, houses art, artifacts and the oldest collection of ceramics in Canada. The special ambiance in the library's present award-winning building, erected in 1989 to commemorate the bicentennial of the university, creates an elegant, peace-filled space conducive to study.
Established by Charles Inglis, the first Bishop of Nova Scotia and founder of the university, the library had accumulated its collection's nucleus by 1802: books in classics, history, foreign languages, literature, the natural sciences and theology. Throughout the 19th century, books, natural history specimens and historical artifacts were added.
The library has a particular emphasis on materials to support the Contemporary Studies, Early Modern Studies, History of Science and Technology and Foundation Year programmes and the School of Journalism.
Members of the King's community may access libraries across the province through the library's membership to Novanet, the consortium of university libraries in Nova Scotia, which operates a cooperative bibliographic database and provides online circulation, a public access catalogue and full technical services support. Students can also take advantage of the electronic resources at Dalhousie, remotely or on site.