The Rare Book & Manuscript Library is committed to teaching with primary resources. By encouraging the use of library resources in classes and working closely with faculty on curricular issues and relevant library programs, we have made our collections an important part of the curriculum and the educational mission at the University of Illinois. The curators of RBML teach about 200 classes a year. In addition, we welcome high school classes and other local groups for small seminars and presentations. Working with the teaching faculty, we award two prizes each year to students who write exemplary research papers for their classes using primary resources from the rare book and manuscript collections in RBML.

We also take seriously our role as mentors for the next generation of special collections librarians. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library plays the leading role in the Midwest Book & Manuscript Studies program in our Graduate School of Library and Information Science and future Special Collections librarians are offered hands-on experience through student jobs, GAships, grant-sponsored projects, practica, internships, and independent studies. Not surprisingly, the students we train find good positions at universities and special collections across the country.