Revised April 2009
Table of Contents
Established in 1983, Special Collections serves as JMU Libraries’ primary repository for rare, irreplaceable, unique, or otherwise valuable materials in various formats which warrant special handling or care to assure their long-term availability. Historically, Special Collections has acquired materials that document the Central Shenandoah Valley, the history of James Madison University, as well as other unique materials that support the curriculum of the University. Special Collections strives to build on current collection strengths as well as encourage new initiatives.
Special Collections contains a variety of published and unpublished local history materials, where "local history" is defined geographically as the Central Shenandoah Valley counties of Page, Shenandoah, Rockingham, and Augusta. Items relevant to this area are selected for acquisition if they contribute to an understanding of political, social, economic, environmental, or artistic aspects of life. Because the collecting interests of several other local institutions already focus on works dealing with the history of the Mennonite Church, Church of the Brethren, and family genealogies, such works are generally not acquired for Special Collections. The Local History Collection includes:
In the absence of a University Archives, Special Collections houses materials that document the history of the University. Special Collections does not collect noncurrent office records or function as a University Archives. Neither does it function as a museum; as such, non-textual materials [with the exception of photographs] are generally not accepted. The JMU Historical Collection includes:
Curriculum Support Resources
Materials that do not fall within the categories of Local History or JMU History, but that support established curricula at the University, may also be acquired and housed in Special Collections based on the criteria noted above in the Scope of Collections. Curriculum Support Resources include:
As with the general Collection Development Policy, Special Collections reflects and supports the Libraries’ mission and the University’s goals. Special Collections supports the use of primary source materials within the JMU curriculum and the wider community of scholars.
Materials may be acquired through purchase, transfer, or gift, but selection for placement in Special Collections lies with the Special Collections Librarian, often in consultation with liaison librarians on behalf of departmental faculty. These relationships figure prominently in the selection process, as expertise in a particular subject area, genre, or format is essential for building relevant collections.
Special Collections acquires or provides access to a variety of print materials, unpublished manuscript and archival collections. Acquisitions will be evaluated by the same criteria as for other library materials; however, additional selection criteria specifically applicable to Special Collections will be considered, including but not limited to:
For gifts of print materials, see the JMU Libraries Gift Policy. For gifts of archival collections, personal papers, or manuscript materials, please contact the Special Collections Librarian. In addition to Special Collections’ Deed of Gift Agreement, the following publications of the Society of American Archivists are helpful for understanding these types of donations:
The Special Collections Librarian and support staff, in consultation with liaison librarians as well as Technical Services support staff, will conduct ongoing assessments of the content of Special Collections to ensure adequate and appropriate resources to support the mission of Special Collections, the Libraries, and the University.
Special Collections normally acquires only one copy of a published work or printed material. Exceptions may be made for variant editions or for editions containing significant marginalia.
Special Collections materials do not circulate. Special Collections adheres to the Libraries’ general policy regarding replacements.
Special Collections does not typically weed collections. Should Special Collections determine the necessity of re-appraising its collections, or portions thereof, the following criteria for current collecting guidelines would be used in tandem with the Libraries’ general criteria for liaisons evaluating material to be weeded:
Materials in Special Collections receive conservation/preservation treatment at the point of acquisition and are reviewed after each use for preservation concerns that may arise over time and as resources allow.
JMU Special Collections participates in the Virginia Heritage Project, a database of finding aids in participating manuscript and archival repositories statewide. Special Collections welcomes collaborative or cooperative collecting and/or discovery initiatives.
Return to Library Collection Development Policy