Beginning last week the assistant librarian will be working each day. As she is in charge of ILL’s and is an extra person able to work circulation duties. Also Monday morning volunteers are greatly appreciated in shelving items and straightening the library from the weekend (We love our volunteers and thank them profusely). I am very pleased that these two instances will allow me more time to work on the special collections and archive collection policies.
This past week I spent time reviewing the policies for the special collections and manuscript archive. I find myself in a quandary over whether I have too much or not enough in the collection policy. In order to sure up spots of concern I changed the lending policy from allowing researchers to use one box at a time to one folder at a time. This advice came from the SAA Lone Arranger roundtable listserv related to reading room and staffing limitations.
As we have no reading room I feel better about letting researchers only have one folder at a time. This will also be controlled by each folder having a barcode which will then be checked out to the patron. If the researcher is not a patron then the folder may be checked out to the archive backed up by information from the researcher instructions form to be filled out by each person using the archive.
A second area that I have been working on this past week was creating various forms for researchers to fill out. These forms were not necessarily created, but instead modified from other archives using similar forms. Three forms have been completed some requiring more modification than others. These forms include researcher instructions; materials request; and permission to publish, broadcast, or exhibit.
On the researcher instruction form I adjusted some of the rules to suit our small library and made room for users to include their patron barcode or a driver’s license number to help with security. As to the permission to publish, broadcast, or exhibit form I followed advice again from the SAA listserv. Three things that are definitely included are the explicit notice that researchers gain permission from the original copyright holders as the case may be, second that the permission accounts for only one use of the item and third that there must be proper credit given to our library.
Other forms I hope to include will be a deed of gift form as well as a photocopying request form. The deed of gift will be worded to cover both normal and digital copyright issues. And the photocopying form will track usage and exposure to light via the photocopier. In this writing I realize that with the occurrence of digital photography I need to add information in this regards to the researcher instruction form. The request should be that no digital photography occur due to the possibility of the use of flash and related damage thereof.
Another fortuitous posting on the listserv recently covered accession numbering. This I have also included in the collection policy in a section on guidelines, documentation, and collection care. As the collection will include special collections books now shelved in the reference section these will hopefully be changed to the cutter SC for special collections and continue to keep traditional Dewey Decimal classification.
For the manuscript archive I have decided to use MS as seen in other collections followed by the year of accession and the number of that collection for that year (e.g. MS2012-01) taken from listserv suggestions. For any realia items I decided to included them under the special collections portion, but combine the manuscript numbering (e.g. SC2012-01).
I hope that I will have the policies completed quite soon and definitely approved by the Library Board before the end of the year. It is exciting to work on these policies although I do have a lingering feeling that I will leave something out. Still even the best policies need continuous review and modification from time to time and having this in place for our Special Collections and Manuscript Archive will do wonders for our collection.