Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Special Collections

Written by : Peter Berg Draft date: December 11, 1996; revised March 5, 2015.

Purpose or Scope of Collection

Special Collections acquires through purchase, donation, and transfer printed books, manuscripts, maps, broadsides, photographs, prints and drawings, sheet music, sound recordings, films, digital images, artifacts, and other formats in support of the information, instruction, and research needs of MSU faculty, students, staff, as well as visiting researchers and the general public. While building on existing and historical strengths, Special Collections also seeks new initiatives in areas which have little coverage elsewhere and acquires new collections in anticipation of or in response to changing academic needs and interests.

Special Collections has three primary charges: 1) Develop unique and/or special research collections of rare or other material in designated subject areas; 2) House and preserve materials which require special custodial care and/or supervised use; 3) Provide access to materials within the guidelines regulating their use.

Development and implementation of collecting in Special Collections is the primary responsibility of the head of Special Collections, in consultation with Special Collections selectors and the head of Collections Management. Within the guidelines of individual collection development policies of Special Collections, selectors from any department in the Libraries may participate in the development of collections under the direction and approval of the head of Special Collections.

With the approval of the head of Special Collections, materials acquired by any subject selector in the pursuit of his/her collection development work may be designated for location in or transfer to Special Collections if rarity or other considerations dictate preservation in the original format and/or protection from theft/vandalism. All pre 1801 imprints; U.S. imprints through 1830, trans-Mississippi imprints through 1850; first or signed editions by notable authors or others collected in Special Collections; and editions under 500 copies should be referred to the head of Special Collections for evaluation. Fine examples of bindings, period bindings, unusual bindings, and works with original art or photography pasted in, erotica, or other illustrative material limited in number or likely to be mutilated should also be considered for location in Special Collections.

Special Collections includes the following collections, all with their own collection development policies:

Rare Book Collection

Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection

Radicalism Collection

Cookery and Food Collection

Comic Art Collection

Sexuality and Gender Collection

Manuscripts and Archives Collection


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