The Special Collections Department at the University of Miami Libraries has significant holdings of rare and unusual books in the fields of Miami and Florida history, the Caribbean, and Latin and South America. These books cover topics such as literature, geography, history, religion (particularly missionary history), art, politics, and economics. The collection includes examples of early printing, private press publications, and fine printing, and it is supplemented by a rich collection of historical maps, photographs, and archival documents.
Special Collections also holds the personal library of Jackie Gleason, which focuses on his lifelong interest in parapsychology and his career in television and film. Other important collecting areas include modern British poetry, British and American economic and social history, aviation (complementing the Pan Am Airlines Papers), printing history, artists' books, zines, and the Craig S. Likeness Collection on the history of photography.
A selection of titles has been digitized and is currently available online, including promotional materials on South Florida, a two-volume work on the architecture and history of the Alhambra Place in Granada, Spain, and several other books on architecture.