Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Rare Books

Analysis of the Field

A. Chronology

The Rare Book Collection has no chronological limitations, taking an interest in everything from ancient cultures and literatures to tomorrow’s artists’ books.

B. Language

While the Rare Book Collection is home to books in dozens of languages, eastern and western alike, books in western European languages (including Latin) are best represented. There are no exclusions based on language, but preference is often given to material in English, which users generally find more accessible.

C. Geography

Preference for material is not limited by geography. Material on and from all geographic areas is considered, and many of these areas are represented in the collection.

D. Types of materials and formats

The Rare Book Collection contains and considers almost exclusively handwritten and printed material. Realia, digital objects, and audio/visual material are collected only incidentally, though such formats may be appropriate for other areas within Special Collections. Exceptions are considered for material that supports the instructional habits of the collection, such as videos on book history.

E. Data

While not considered for inclusion in the Rare Book Collection, adding research data is a potential step for Special Collections. For guidelines, see http://libguides.lib.msu.edu/c.php?g=139267

F. Date of publication

The Rare Book Collection is not bounded by any particular publication dates, which currently range from artists’ books produced in the current year to a clay tablet created ca. 1800 BCE.