About Us

Reading Room — Hours of Operation:

Monday – Friday 9:30am–noon, 1pm-3:30pm
CLOSED Saturday, Sunday, & all University Holidays
To schedule a research appointment, contact Kristen Chinery

Campus Map and Parking

This page includes a full detail interactive parking map.

The Reuther's Mission, Values, and Vision Statements

The Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs has updated its mission statement. Please visit our new page to read more. (Mission, Values, and Vision Statements - Full)

A brief history of the Reuther Library

The Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs was established as the Labor History Archives at Wayne State University in 1960, with the goal of collecting and preserving original source materials relating to the development of the American labor movement. In 1975, the Walter P. Reuther Library was constructed with funds given to Wayne State University by the United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, and through a supplementary grant from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. A later gift from the UAW funded the construction of the library's Leonard Woodcock Wing, completed in 1991.

The Reuther Library is the largest labor archives in North America and is home to the collections of numerous unions and labor-related organizations. Its collection strengths extend to the political and community life of urban and metropolitan Detroit, the civil rights movement in Michigan and nationally, and women's struggles in the workplace. The Reuther Library is also the home of the Wayne State University Archives, established by the Board of Governors in 1958 in recognition of the importance and permanent value of the University's official files, records, and documents.

General researcher information

Many basic research tasks may be accomplished before ever physically visiting the Reuther Library's reading room. Researchers are encouraged to:

  1. Narrow the scope of your research topic as much as possible
    • Read the collection abstract for all collections that sound promising
    • Use the subject headings links (page top of abstract) to find similar content
    • Open or download the collection's guide (page bottom of all abstracts) and note boxes of interest
  2. When accessing our image galleries note the photo ID and URL
  3. Visit other special collections available from the University Library System

The collections housed in the Reuther Library are open to anyone engaged in their research. Persons planning a visit to the archives are advised to e-mail the Reference Archivist at reutherreference@wayne.edu in advance. To view collections and engage in research in-person, patrons must register at the Reuther Library front desk. From the front desk, patrons are guided to the Reading Room or one of several more specialized research areas.

Limited research may also be conducted by a member of our staff. Please contact the Reference Archivist or the appropriate staff member.

Catalog records for many of the archival collections, periodicals, and books may also be accessed on the Wayne State University Library Online Catalog.

Reuther Library Collection Policy

The Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs collects and facilitates access to historical documentary evidence in order to inspire academic research, serve the information needs of the community, and build knowledge at Wayne State University. View or download the Reuther Library Collection Policy for information on donating materials to our collections.

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CollectionPolicy_20141216.pdfCollectionPolicy_20141216.pdf142.26 KB
Good faith Efforts_public.pdfGood faith Efforts_public.pdf485.29 KB