The Special Collections Handbook

“Preservation without use is an empty victory. It ought to be our primary purpose at all times to minimize barriers to use …”

“[It is] crucial to reach out and demystify special collections, to convey the message: ‘Please touch. This is here for you. You are special enough for special collections’.”

So says John Overholt in a provocative conference summing up*.  He believes that the future for special collections must be about openness (setting texts free to be transformed) and advocacy (demonstrating that they are central to mission and relevant to students).

I agree!

I think many UK special collections librarians and archivists would come to similar conclusions.  At conferences and meetings I hear again and again how much my colleagues value use of collections over preservation for the sake of it, how they see and want to show their importance to their organisations’ missions.

Maybe the piece isn’t so…

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