Studies on the expression of cellular glycans are limited by a lack of sensitive tools that can discriminate specific structural features. Here we describe the development of a robust platform using immunized lampreys (Petromyzon marinus), which secrete variable lymphocyte receptors called VLRBs as antibodies, for generating libraries of anti-glycan reagents. We identified a wide variety of glycan-specific VLRBs detectable in lamprey plasma after immunization with whole fixed cells, tissue homogenates, and human milk. The cDNAs from lamprey lymphocytes were cloned into yeast surface display (YSD) libraries for enrichment by multiple methods. We generated VLRB-Ig chimeras, termed smart anti-glycan reagents (SAGRs), whose specificities were defined by microarray analysis and immunohistochemistry. 15 VLRB antibodies were discovered that discriminated between linkages, functional groups and unique presentations of the terminal glycan motif. The development of SAGRs will enhance future studies on glycan expression by providing sequenced, defined antibodies for a variety of research applications.