The Kinsey Institute, for research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction
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Library and Special Collections
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Scroll down for an overview of the library and special collections, or go directly to information of interest:

Library: Online library catalog (KICAT), finding aids, film and video
Special Collections: Archives and Art, Artifacts, and Photography
User Services for All Collections: User policies, service hours, reproduction requests
Information Services: Reference, tours...

Overview of the Library and Special Collections

The Kinsey Institute's library and special collections are privately owned by the Institute. They were initially established by Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey for the exclusive use of the Institute's researchers. Dr. Kinsey understood that access to a wide range of materials depicting and describing human sexuality and the various ways in which societies of the past and present have responded to it would immeasurably enhance the scientific and scholarly work of the Institute staff. Starting in the early 1960s, the collections were made available to a wider constituency of qualified scholars, professionals, and students. The library and special collections are not open to the general public. For instructions on how to apply for access, see the Institute's Collections Use Policy.

[Illustration from Sue E Pian] Materials related to sex provide valuable insights into a culture's interests and values, and are important resources for researchers in a number of disciplines. The Kinsey Institute's collections reflect Dr. Kinsey's view that a sexological library should contain materials from a wide range of fields, including biology, medicine, psychology, sociology, anthropology, counseling, religion, history, law, literature, the arts, and erotica. The primary focus of the collections has been on social and behavioral sciences materials dealing with sexual behaviors and attitudes. There also is an extensive collection of erotic materials. As the Institute's art and literature collections demonstrate, erotica is an ubiquitous, panhistoric and omnicultural expression of the human experience.

Collections at The Kinsey Institute include holdings from six continents, and include books, serials, data sets, flat art and art objects, photographs, films, biographical materials and many other items that document sexual behaviors, interests, and values. Items date from 3200 B.C. to the present and represent various cultures. Holdings are organized into the three collection areas listed above: the library's print and film/video collections, and special collections for archival materials, and art, artifacts, and photography.

All materials in the collections are purchased with Institute income or are donated to the collections. Donations are vital to the continued development of the Institute's collections as a unique resource for use by scholars from around the world.

For further details about the collections, see "Kinsey Collections Reveal the Value of Variety," an article in the September 1997 Research and Creative Activity, an online publication of Indiana University. See volunteer opportunities and student jobs for information on how to contribute to the work of the collections.


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