Books and other printed materials that are fragile, rare, valuable, of unusual format, or otherwise in need of special care and protection are housed in Special Collections. These materials include examples of various periods and styles of printing, binding, and book illustration. The College maintains this collection, like all library materials, to support the curriculum.
Gould Library maintains and supports Special Collections to enhance the educational mission of the College by providing curricular support to students and faculty. Our program of class visits and projects using Special Collections materials reflects the College’s commitment to provide undergraduates with dynamic educational opportunities and to integrate a visual perspective into learning throughout the disciplines.
Our purpose is not to provide an extensive research collection or to be a complete repository of materials. Rather we hope to provide faculty and students with a teaching collection that includes examples of important styles and methods of typography, printing, binding, illustration, and format. Our intent is to offer a laboratory setting where students encounter the worlds of other times and places, feel a physical link with earlier generations, and experience the challenge and excitement of working with primary documents. During class and individual visits, we seek to show students beautiful examples of printed materials and to handle cultural artifacts from earlier time periods. In addition, students learn the protocols for using such materials.
Although we use standard criteria to define inclusion in the collection, i.e. rarity, value, date of printing, we have materials in our Collection that fall outside of these criteria, believing that printed materials from any period may have significant value as cultural artifacts, particularly as they supplement existing Collections. We also include other items that present important opportunities for learning and teaching, e.g. facsimiles of early printed or manuscript materials.
Finally, we are committed to proper care of our materials and seek to maintain a balance between providing the Collections with the protection that they require in order to serve generations of students and providing access for today’s students.
Carleton Special Collections will support remote learning and is available to assist with the use of our collections. However, because of the nature of our materials, remote access may not be possible for many items.
Please contact us for more information:
Rebecca Bramlett, Special Collections Librarian
Tom Lamb, Head of Special Collections and Archives
If you have books or a collection that you think would contribute to our Special Collections program, or if you are a Carleton faculty member and would like to suggest possible Special Collections purchases, please contact: Tom Lamb 507-222-7015 / email@example.com