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Center for Research Libraries - CRL

What is the Center for Research Libraries (CRL)?

CRL logo Virginia Commonwealth University is a member of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), an international consortium of more than 200 university, college, and independent research libraries. CRL acquires and preserves newspapers, journals, government documents, archives, and other primary source materials from a global network of sources, making them available to researchers through interlibrary loan and digital delivery.

What does CRL's collection include

CRL’s deep and diverse holdings support research in the history of science, economics, law and government, immigration and population studies, international diplomacy, and cultural studies.


  • Largest collection of circulating newspapers in North America (more than 16,000 titles with strengths in various global areas and historical U.S. ethnic titles).  Some of the earliest African American papers are available for researchers to explore this crucial period of history. A wealth of foreign newspapers is being microfilmed as part of an ongoing project to document information from around the world.


  • Several thousand titles in English and more than 30,000 in other languages, including current and historic science journals, and technology, industrial, and trade journals.


  • CRL currently holds more than 500,000 monographs in a variety of formats available for access by member libraries.

Area Studies Materials

  • Major microform and paper collections from Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

Doctoral Dissertations

  • Over 800,000 foreign dissertations (mostly from European institutions) dating back to the 1800s​.

Reference Book Archive

  • CRL coordinates the Reference Books Archive Project as part of its strategic plan to preserve print materials.  Older reference sources may not be present in newer digital formats. 

Government Documents and Publications

  • Primary legal and government resources, including foreign and U.S. state documents.


More detailed information about Center for Research Libraries Collections

Benefits of CRL membership

VCU students, faculty, and staff enjoy access to CRL's unique physical and digital collections through the membership of VCU Libraries. Materials can be borrowed for extended periods of time.

How can you access CRL materials?

To get started:
To request items:

Once you've found an item, request it using VCU Libraries Interlibrary Loan services.

To request an item not found, contact