RLI 283 Special at the Core 3 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC 2013 is evident that the current gold standard is a special collections department that is heavily engaged with faculty and students. The working group heard about curricular-based collection development and class sessions tailored for active learning at Dartmouth College. Georgetown University created an intensive special collections–based research experience to develop lifelong academic habits of using primary sources, which is expanding across the university’s core curriculum. University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign described its special collections as an anchor to the curriculum, a cultural center of campus, and an inspiration for academic discourse among faculty and students. University of Iowa leveraged social networking to enhance Civil War resources, an effort that has created a loyal audience, inclusion in classroom instruction, and donations. In this issue of RLI, the working group offers Ohio University’s story of a collaborative effort that combined a common technological platform and archival resources to teach writing in a way that reflects the changing model of knowledge construction and demonstrates the relevance of special collections in the digital age. Centrally Positioned A smaller group of submissions demonstrated that, at some libraries, special collections are increasingly represented at the core. In these institutions, the move to bring special collections into the center of the organization is a driving force for change. University of California, Los Angeles, shared its effort to consolidate special collections silos in order to reduce redundancies, while pushing special collections work out into other library units to create efficiencies. At University of Utah, special collections sits as an equal partner on the library’s leadership team and a variety of library units share the work of surfacing special collections. University of Calgary’s reorganization merged special collections into the overall library structure to expose special materials for use and to streamline acquisitions, description, and processing activities. For this issue of RLI, University of California, Riverside, documents its long- standing strategy to incorporate its Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy into the center of its mission, planning, budgeting, operations, technical services, outreach, and engagement activities. Operationally Integrated Other responses to the working group’s call offered exciting evidence that special collections has been integrated, coordinated, or blended into broad library functions. New organizational partnerships, staffing, and workflows result in efficiencies, synergies, and improvements for both the library as a whole and for special collections. At Pennsylvania State University, Special Collections and Interlibrary Loan worked together to appropriately enhance access to unique materials, testing the boundaries of efficiency, trust, and open access. University of Guelph’s cross-functional teams have woven special collections throughout the organization and the special collections unit contributes to the development of policies, best practices, and projects. University of Pittsburgh’s effort to enhance access to collections through the Documenting Pitt website required unified effort from, and resulted in shared benefit to, various library and university departments. Columbia University submitted case studies describing an organizational turnaround that repurposed staff lines while recasting curatorship as well as intra-library leveraging of efforts to highlight special collections. In this issue of RLI, the working group includes the example Johns Hopkins University provided of how to integrate special collections directly into collection development decision making and into the liaison librarian role.
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