SPEC Kit 317: Special Collections Engagement · 23
For the South Caroliniana Library, the responsibility is shared among all or most of the staff. In Rare Books and Special
Collections, the Director and the Outreach Librarian divide the responsibility for the exhibits. In the South Carolina
Political Collections, the Director is chiefly responsible. For the Moving Image Research Collections, one individual leads
a team of staff.
Head of Special Collections has ﬁnal authority for approving and scheduling all exhibitions. Individual curators are
responsible for installing and promoting their own exhibitions.
Individual staff members step forward to curate exhibits. Our current exhibit (on Bloomsbury) was curated by the head
of special collections. A previous exhibit (Science Fiction) was curated by a staff member. Another 2009 exhibit was
curated by the AUL working with his admin assistant.
It varies with the location of the exhibit and its subject matter. Some cases fall under the responsibility of the campus
libraries where the cases are located; others are managed by Special Collections and University Archives, and still others
are the responsibility of the director of special projects. We communicate with each other to help make them work
Librarians in other departments and teaching faculty sometimes curate exhibits with input from special collections.
Our exhibition program rotates principally among the three “custodial” units that constitute the Special Collections
Library: Rare Books and Manuscripts; Historical Collections and Labor Archives; and the University Archives. While some
exhibitions draw broadly from more than one unit, exhibitions typically highlight the resources of one of these units.
Our exhibits have involved elements of our African American Literature Special Collection as well as the Irwin T.
and Shirley Holtzman Collection and two small collections, one concerning Abraham Lincoln and the other Florence
Nightingale. In each case the exhibits were organized on an ad hoc basis. The WSU Libraries’ Information Ofﬁcer has in
each of these cases been responsible for the overall design of the exhibits and the accompanying graphics.
Our special collections are housed in several units and each is responsible for its own exhibits: Department of Special
Collections (Memorial Library), University Archives, Historical Collections (Ebling Health Sciences Library) and the Silver
Buckle Press (Memorial Library). In addition there are other sites with exhibit spaces for displaying their collections
such as: the Mills Music Library (special collections and the Wisconsin Music Archive), the Kohler Art Library (Artists’
Book Collection), the Ruth Ketterer Harris Special Collection (afﬁliated with the Allen Textile Collection), many museum
collections, and special collections units within the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS is not a part of the University of
Wisconsin), including the joint UW-WHS Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.
Outreach team has no designated leader. Responsibility shared between department head, research seniors, and
outreach team. Position typically charged with coordinating exhibits has been open for over a year.
Overall planning has been a job description element for one position in Special Collections, but curation, promotion,
installation, etc. are performed by various people in the library and university community.
Rare Books and Special Collections/University Archives: exhibit on Emma Crosby, reference librarian was the primary
coordinator; exhibit on Chung Collection, outside ﬁrm was the primary coordinator; exhibit on Drippytown (cartoons),
RBSC gave technical advice. Asian Library Special Collections: varies with language and subject. Irving K. Barber
Learning Centre: varies with topic.
Responsibility varies depending upon subject expertise or current staff and the topic of the exhibition.
Responsible person would vary depending on whether it was a physical or digital exhibit and the subject matter of the