The Archives and Special Collections Library is the principal repository of Vassar’s collections of rare books, manuscripts, archival records, and other special materials. At the same time, some items in one of the other libraries at the college may have, or may gain with time and changing circumstances, values that make them candidates to be housed in Special Collections. This policy outlines the steps to be followed for transferring such items.
Identification of Materials
Ordinarily, books and other materials that are candidates for transfer will be identified by a librarian, either as part of a large inventory or a selective review of titles. Sometimes librarians may identify titles as part of their routine handling of books in the processes of acquisitions, cataloging, interlibrary loan, reference, and preservation. It is also possible for students, faculty, and other library users to identify titles that may be candidates for transfer.
Items identified for possible transfer will be forwarded to the Head of Special Collections, who, in consultation with the Head of Collection Development, and possibly other librarians, will decide whether an item should be transferred.
Items may qualify as candidates for transfer based on at least one of the following criteria:
Books printed before 1820. Titles from later years may be considered if they represent the early years of a particular discipline.
Current market value is believed to be greater than $500.
Physical and Intrinsic Characteristics
Limited editions; fine press books; books with significant provenance; books with author inscriptions or other interesting notes; books with special bindings; books with loose items, fold-outs, or other aspects that made handling difficult; books with important illustrations; titles that have few copies reported in Worldcat.
Bibliographic and Research Value
Of special interest are books that relate to the subjects collected by Special Collections.
Preference is given to items that have been preserved in their original bindings and condition. The value of particular titles can be greatly reduced if they have been rebound or damaged.
The final decision about transfer will also take into consideration the number of copies in Vassar College Libraries, as well as any existing constraints relating to such things as personnel, space, and equipment.
Cataloging and Physical Transfer
Items that are to be transferred will be moved in a timely way, and their location will be updated in the library catalog. In some cases, the bibliographic record itself will need to be updated.