Special Collections Details
Rare Book Collection
The Rare Book Collection was largely a miscellaneous accumulation of old, rare, and valuable volumes that needed special housing and supervised use. The Rare Book Collection currently functions as a caretaker collection for material needing special attention because of age, monetary value, delicate condition, association value, unusual format, or susceptibility to loss. Material in these categories seldom is purchased specifically for Special Collections. Rather, it may be received as a gift or, more often, transferred into Special Collections from another library collection with the concurrence of the appropriate librarian and the head of Collection Management. General criteria that can guide this transfer decision include:
- Publication date before 1850, although this date will vary with the introduction of printing in a particular area;
- Strong and significant association with the SRU community;
- Deteriorated texts which must be retained in their original format;
- Editions of fewer than 1000 copies;
- Current market value exceeding $500;
- Unusual and delicate formats such as miniatures, vellum, special bindings, and manuscripts;
- Books autographed by their authors or by famous people;
- Material that is frequently lost but difficult to locate in the out-of-print market: for example, Pennsylvania county histories;
- Publications authored or co-authored by SRU faculty, administration, and staff.
Publications edited by SRU faculty, administration, and staff will not be included. Publications with only one or two articles published by SRU faculty, administration, and staff will not be included.
This caretaker function is more properly collection maintenance or preservation than collection development. In this case, all librarians do development; the Rare Book Collection simply provides a secure physical environment for the use of special materials.
In 1961 the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, designated Slippery Rock State College Library as a cultural center for Japan. Over a period of years, the book collection, exhibit material, and teaching resources in this subject area (mostly in the English language) have been expanded. Except for certain reference titles and special or rare material located in the Special Collections, the Japan Collection is available for circulation to registered borrowers as well as on interlibrary loan.
Since 1972 the Japan Collection has been cataloged in the OCLC system (WorldCat). In June 1974 a print catalog of the Japan Collection was compiled by Roger B. Lamson and was printed by Slippery Rock State College. A supplement to the print catalog was compiled for the years 1974-1976. These are held in the Archives, room 318 Bailey Library.
Historical Children's Collection
With a view to SRU’s history as a teacher training institution, the Special Collections includes a small number of nineteenth and early twentieth century children’s books in good condition and covering a variety of subjects. This part of the collection is developed primarily through gifts and on a select basis.
The Pennsylvania Collection focuses its local history collection by concentrating on material relating to the counties of Lawrence, Butler, and Mercer in the western portion of the state of Pennsylvania. The Collection Management Librarian seeks all significant historical publications relating to these counties and their townships, towns, cities, and other subdivisions. S/he also seeks publications relating to religious, ethnic, political, social, professional, and trade organizations in these counties.
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