The Reanimation Library is comprised of three distinct yet interconnected collections: the Primary Collection, the Reference Collection, and the Copyright Collection.

I. The Primary Collection

The Primary Collection is the heart of the Reanimation Library. It is comprised of materials that are generally considered to be "outdated," "obsolete" and lacking the privileged cultural status and/or market value that adhere to such artifacts as first editions or manuscripts. It includes items that, due to their age and their pedestrian nature, are often discarded from other library collections and that in some cases have never been cataloged. This collection is designed to provide source material for individuals embarking on and engaged in creative projects.

The items in this collection are selected on the basis of both the quality and quantity of their visual information. Many Primary Collection items address subjects that contain significant amounts of graphic material; examples of these include, but are not limited to, psychology, religion, futurology, geography, oceanography, geology, biology, physics, astronomy, sports and exercise, boating, engineering, sex, teaching and education, architecture, decorative arts, crafts and hobbies, theater design, mathematics, computer science, sound, optics, meteorology, geology, zoology, animals, insects, reptiles and birds, human anatomy, perception, health and fitness, dentistry, plant cultivation, veterinary science, hunting and fishing, transportation, space exploration, aviation, photography, printing technology, cooking, military science, and library and information science. While an item's visual characteristics tend to be the most important consideration in its acquisition, other factors, such its subject matter and overall aesthetic impact, can also play a role. While it is anticipated that many of these images may be used in the production of artworks, the items in the Primary Collection do not include those generally understood to be about "art" or "artists". The Primary Collection does not contain works of fiction or materials lacking images (with some exceptions, see below).

Images in the Primary Collection demonstrate a wide diversity of graphic styles including line drawings, black & white and color photography, scientific, medical, and technical diagrams, etchings, charts and graphs, and hand-drawn illustrations. This collection concentrates on items that were produced prior to the 1980's when photography and computer-generated graphics emerged as dominant forms of visual representation. While the publication dates of works in the collection range from the 1890's to the 1990's, the bulk of the collection was published between the 1950's and the 1970's.

Ia: The Text and Symbol Collection

The Text and Symbol Collection is a subset of the Primary Collection that contains books possessing strong visual and linguistic characteristics, but whose content would not traditionally be understood in visual terms. Items in the Text and Symbol Collection include mathematical textbooks, calculation assistants, shorthand dictionaries, stenotype readers, translation dictionaries (often of an unusual nature), books composed in other writing systems, navigational logbooks, and phonetic readers. In some cases, Text and Symbol items may also posses traditional "images," but these tend to be less central to their overall nature.

II. The Reference Collection

The Reference Collection aims to highlight the breadth of creative projects that have been realized using found sources. It also contains material that illuminate aspects of the Primary Collection, such as works that address the development and use of information graphics, the role of perception in visual cognition, the processes of image-making, the relationship between text, symbols, and images, and the nature of collecting. As such, the Reference Collection acts as a kind of meta-collection by placing both the anticipated uses and the inherent characteristics of the Primary Collection into a broader context.

The items in this collection include, but are not limited to, exhibition catalogs of artists who work with collage and found images, writing and art projects generated from archives and libraries, books about writing systems, books that posit reformulations of libraries, investigations into information design, collections of punk rock flyers, explorations of classification systems, taxonomies and typologies, and books about book design, graphic design and typography.

The Copyright Collection brings together resources having to do with copyright law, intellectual property, the public domain, and fair use; it places special emphasis on those items that relate to artists and to the production of creative works. Because individuals who work with found materials run the risk of encountering legal obstacles, this collection is designed to illuminate the notoriously convoluted legal landscape for those working with the source material of the Primary Collection.

Anticipating that most of the Library's users will not have a background in law, the Copyright Collection does not include serious legal texts and treatises; rather, it contains works written for a general audience, with an attempt made to include the wide spectrum of thought regarding Copyright Law.

The library provides access to copyright law-related electronic resources through its links pages.