24 · Survey Results: Survey Questions And Responses
Some staff have subject specialty that may lend itself to a particular exhibit. Occasionally, reference librarians contact
the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections (CTASC) for content and support. Occasionally CTASC staff contact
subject/reference librarians for content, context, and advice.
Sometimes one person takes full charge, other times, other people do. No one person always does everything.
Special Collections are in four different locations and consist of nine separate programs. There is an Exhibits Committee
that manages and coordinates exhibits at our principal library.
Staff are assigned based on current workload, particular knowledge of/interest in collection to be exhibited. One staff
member who is also a professional artist lends expertise on design when needed.
The library has a part-time exhibits coordinator who assists with some special collections exhibits a variety of staff may
be involved with different exhibits.
The Library’s Special Collections Division has several distinct units (i.e., Rare Book and Manuscript, University Archives,
Student Life Archives, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, Map and Geography, and Illinois History and
Lincoln Collections) that create various types of exhibits depending on specific subject themes and curatorial expertise.
The Libraries exhibits program includes special collections materials, but they are not exclusively focused on them
and do not require their inclusion. The exhibits program is managed by an Exhibits Committee, which includes
representation from a subject librarian, Design Services, Development Office, Special Collections, and library staff. Each
exhibit has a curator, which is often a subject specialist librarian outside of Special Collections. Curators work with
Special Collections staff to select items from Special Collections to exhibit as appropriate. In other words, the Libraries’
exhibit program is for the entire Libraries, of which Special Collections is part.
This is primarily the responsibility of the Director in conjunction with various members of the staff.
Various guest curators are invited to use materials in Special Collections for their exhibitions which are installed by
Special Collections staff. The catalogues are written by the curators.
Various members of the special collections divisions (Urban Archives, Special Collections, and the Blockson Collection)
as well as the public programming advisory committee and public programming/communications manager.
We have ~6 to 8 exhibits per year in our Archives and Special Collections Reading room. While some of the exhibits
are related primarily to materials in our topical archives (Water Resources Archive, Agricultural Archive, and University
Archive), some exhibits focus on our Special Collections holdings. Library Technicians, Archivists/Project Archivists, and
Work Study students all contribute to the exhibits. Exhibit topics are discussed by staff during the first staff meeting of
the academic year (September). Special Collections exhibits have included those related to our rare music books, equine
books, small press poetry books and broadsides, and International Poster Collection.
We have three separate special collections departments. Sometimes departments collaborate with each other
sometimes, staff in each department works separately. Although there are primary individuals in each department who
make exhibits, often they are joined by staff who have specific interests or expertise related to the exhibit topic.
We include five different departments or working groups as “special collections.” These have responsibilities covering
local history, regional resources, an art collection, various archives and manuscript collection, and rare materials.
We often get external persons (faculty, experts in the field) to curate our exhibitions. Whoever on staff has the contacts
or interest develops these exhibits in tandem.
We rotate this responsibility depending on the type of materials exhibited. Usually the curator of the materials (books,
manuscript materials, University Archives, photographs) leads a team of other staff members.
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