• SPEC Kit 317: Special Collections Engagement (August 2010)

    This SPEC Kit examines exhibits, events, instruction, and other activities that are targeted to engage students, faculty, and other scholars/researchers with special collections for research and education. It investigates who coordinates these activities, where they are held, how they are promoted, and how they are evaluated.

    By the March deadline, responses had been submitted by 79 of the 124 ARL member libraries for a response rate of 64%. A genuine commitment to outreach activities in special collections is evident throughout the responses to this survey. Over 95% of respondents are staging exhibits, holding events, and engaging students and faculty in the use of collections; most institutions are participating in all of these activities, as well as in many others not specifically addressed in the survey. At the heart of all outreach activities are the collections. Libraries are going to great lengths to promote their unique and specialized collection strengths, employing many creative outreach and engagement approaches. While the traditional methods of exhibits, events, and curricular instruction continue to be the emphasis of special collections’ outreach programs, institutions are also embracing opportunities to be active physically beyond the borders of their campuses and virtually through blogs, social networking sites, and other Web 2.0 technologies.

    This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of policies and procedures, class request procedures, descriptions of class assignments and resources, job descriptions, and exhibit and event promotional methods.

    Berenbak, Adam, Cate Putirskis, Genya O'Gara, Claire Ruswick, Danica Cullinan, Judy Allen Dodson, Emily Walters, and Kathy Brown. Special Collections Engagement. SPEC Kit 317. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, August 2010.