The rare book collection occupies a special temperature controlled room in the library and numbers 4,000 volumes. Among these will be found 57 of the oldest and rarest books in print. These prized 57 are called "Incunabula" and are registered with the United States Library of Congress.
"Incunabula" is a Latin word meaning "in the cradle", referring to the cradle days of printing - from the invention of movable type to the turn of the century, from 1450 to 1500.
Close to 50 years ago, the Franciscans began to assemble the old and rare books from their different houses in the United States. Four thousand were collected, all printed before 1850, and housed in St. Louis. When Brenner Library was complete, these books were moved to their new home on the Quincy University campus.