Section III Part 7: Archives and Special Collections

Archives and Special Collections house some of the most valuable (in monetary and historical terms) items in the library's collections. Preservation of this material is essential. However, as academic libraries strive to become more teaching and learning center, so do their Archives and Special Collections, which must become more than just collections of well-preserved materials. They must become accessible artifacts that encourage researchers to engage with their institution's history, as well as its historical place in various socio-political, spiritual, and artistic milieu.

Since education is the library's primary mission, enhancing access to materials in Archives and Special Collections is essential. To increase access and usage of these two collections materials, the library will first have to enhance the depth of the staffing. The Summer 2012 retirement of its long-time archivist and special collections librarian, who was only working part-time during retirement, creates a great challenge. The director has met with the VPAA, and has been told that administration is supportive of replacing the retired individual possibly in Spring 2013. As of February 2013, the director serves as interim archivist, and special collections is staffed by a volunteer. The following is a list of goals and objectives for Archives and Special Collections. These presuppose a hiring of at least a part-time staff member in Spring 2013.

1.     The archivist and special collections librarian will continue the process of creating an inventory of items in the two collections, a likely 18-24 month project.

1.1.1.      The director will dedicate a student worker to both departments year-round.

1.1.2.      The director will look into consortial entities to find best practices and potential volunteer help for the two departments.

2.      The director will partner the library with a digital preservation consortia, and in Spring 2013 will identify some of its materials for free digitization as part of a grant.

3.      Beginning in 2013, the archivist and special collections librarian will investigate the possibility of further grants, creating grant writing teams with appropriate library staff, and leveraging the already digitized items to better the chance of being awarded the grants.

4.      The archivist and special collections librarian will begin the process of the complete digitization of Archives and Special Collections, to be completed by 2015.

5.      The archivists and special collections librarian will begin the process of preserving the physical realia while making accessible digital copies via the library's OPAC and various finding aids the two collections.

5.1.1.      The archivist and special collections librarian will ensure than no copyright infringement occurs.

5.1.2.      The head of technical services will begin the process of creating a Copyright Clearinghouse, so that all library staff can easily find copyright information. The archivist and special collections librarian will work with the head of technical services.

Ultimately, both departments will be staffed, so that accessible hours can be more reliably maintained. Ideally, the director will expand the departments' hours to 8:00-3:00, Monday to Friday. Flexibility will be the essential aspect of the renovations of the two departments, with the focus eventually evolving to creating instructional space as well as improved public research facilities. Staff processing and work space will be separated from the public space to maintain the security of materials and provide a cleaner and quieter environment for visitors. Exhibit space will be renovated to allow flexibility in the design of new exhibits and make it easier to rotate exhibits more frequently.