SPEC Kit 296: Public Services in Special Collections (November 2006)

This SPEC Kit explores public service staffing, reference and public services offered, methods of patron access, types of intellectual access tools used, patron registration, the reference interview process, and public service evaluation and promotion methodsin Special Collections. In addition, respondents were asked to comment on significant changes in reference and public services in the last few years, particularly those related to outreach, instruction, and learning.

The survey was distributed to the 123 ARL member libraries in March 2006. Seventy-nine libraries (64%) responded to the survey. Thirty-five of the responding libraries (44%) have a single Special Collections unit. Twenty-five of the libraries (32%) have one primary Special Collections unit and additional, smaller special collections in other libraries or branches. Eleven (14%) have multiple Special Collections units dispersed across a number of libraries or branches. Respondents who have dispersed units were asked to base all survey responses on services provided at one primary Special Collections unit.

This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of service policies, patron registration forms, job descriptions, and service prices.

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SPEC Kit 296: Public Services in Special Collections (November 2006)