The Rare Book Collection at the Ward M. Canaday Center is focused on several authors, literary genres, and subject areas:
- William Faulkner
- Henry David Thoreau
- Eudora Welty
- Ezra Pound
- T.S. Eliot
- William Dean Howells
- Leigh Hunt
- Imagist poets
- African-American literature (i.e. Paul Lawrence Dunbar)
- History of books and fine printing
- Stock market and financial speculation
In addition, the Center has a large collection of books published in the 19th century and early 20th century on women's social and literary history, as well as a collection on the history of the University of Toledo and the surrounding communities.
The Canaday Center Rare Book collection has been cataloged in the University of Toledo Library Catalog. Materials in the Rare Book Collection do not circulate within the University of Toledo Library system and must stay in the Reading Room area. Researchers wishing to use rare books should request them from the Canaday Center staff. Depending on the condition of the materials and any applicable copyright codes, photocopies can be made by the staff. Staff reserves the right to refuse to make copies of certain books based on these or other criteria.