Collection Development Policy for Special Collections


Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library, provides primary source material of significant historical and/or research value that support teaching and learning at The Claremont Colleges. We collect The Colleges' official publications and history, and we build on existing collection strengths. This is accomplished by housing separately those items that are determined to be unusual enough to require special handling. These are items selected because of their value, rarity, fragility, size, subject emphasis, sensitivity, form, or provenance. It is the responsibility of the Special Collections staff to see that these items are protected, organized, circulated, and displayed in a responsible, scholarly manner; and that a reasonable compromise between use, preservation, and security be struck and adhered to at all times.

The following policy is designed to meet Special Collections' acquisitions needs by providing flexible guidelines that rely on the exercise of bibliographic expertise and good taste to complement the department's primary purpose.


Special Collections' primary responsibility is to the faculty, students, and staff of The Claremont Colleges. In addition, we provide service to scholars from the local Claremont community, other institutions, and national and international scholars. Programs supported by Special Collections include the Library’s and the Colleges’ exhibition programs; digital and electronic publications and resources; public relations, development, and outreach of the Library and The Colleges.


Acquisitions to Special Collections fall into two categories: gifts and purchases. These two categories have distinct characteristics and are treated separately below.

Gifts: In general, gifts to Special Collections are always welcome and are especially encouraged. Gifts can come from a variety of sources-development offices, administrations, faculty, businesses, alumni, students, community members, and so on. Special Collections will consider the acquisition of new collections under the following conditions:

The relationship of the donor to The Colleges will be considered when considering gifts.

The Library reserves the right to dispose of gifts as we see fit. For example, if a copy of a rare or valuable item is received that is already owned, the Library must be free to sell the duplicate or the original to an appropriate dealer or individual after careful consideration and consultation with all interested parties.

The Special Collections Librarian can accept small or individual gifts to Special Collections informally. Large gifts are acknowledged according to the CUC Gifts Policy. All gifts are reviewed by the Special Collections Librarian; faculty, administrators, and other parties are appropriately involved in a particular collection's acquisition on an ad hoc basis.

Special Collections actively seeks gifts in the following subject areas:

Purchases: Current collecting priorities are in the following focused areas:

Purchases for these active collections will be made against either a CUC fund for firm orders or a CFR fund; the Special Collections Librarian administers these funds. Appropriate Special Collections purchase recommendations can originate from almost any source, but they must be channeled through the Librarian.

Unless otherwise determined, books being ordered that are valued at over $350.00 should be sent to the Special Collections Librarian for review. (This amount will be reviewed on an annual basis.) When librarians, faculty, or staff recommend books for purchase that are in some form which makes them appropriate candidates for Special Collections, these should be reviewed by the Special Collections Librarian.

Values: While autographic, monetary, artifactual or aesthetic value is important, the chief criterion for acquisition is the research value of collections.

Cost Criteria: The evaluation of all potential acquisitions in whatever format includes a consideration of the likely and potential costs to the Library for acquisition, cataloging, storage, preservation, and reference services.

Transfers: The Special Collections Librarian reviews all transfers of open stack materials that require the special protection and care that Special Collections can provide. Qualities considered in such transfers include fragility, age, artifactual value, aesthetics, association, and market value.

Last updated: 5/23/2012 2:04:57 PM