The term "special collections" is used to denote materials, usually books, that are of some value to an institution. This value is typically assigned to materials which are in 1.) poor condition, 2.) on a particular subject, 3.) printed or bound in a certain format, 4.) about a particular time period or geographic area, and/or 5.) if it is especially valuable.
The books in the center of this page are examples from our Library Science Department. Nearly a century ago, many young ladies majored in education and went on to teach in rural areas of the South. These library courses were meant to help them develop book collections to serve and enhance the educational opportunties of their students. Click here for more information.
Listed in the 1921-22 course catalog, Library Managment is described as an "elementary course for teacher-librarians and others conducting small county book stations." The new county library law created a demand for repositories and people to care for them. "This course is not for those planning to take up library work as a profession." Basics taught included ordering, repairing and caring for circulating books, and the use of reference materials. Library Management was taught by Miss Fannie Taber, Librarian, in the winter quarter and worth four credit hours.
An ongoing project, the Archive staff is attempting to transition these books from circulation to special collections.
At UM, Special Collections tend to fall into the following categories: Books of regional importance such as town/county/area histories, Bibles belonging to local clergy/churches, geological studies, etc. Books, or books containing chapters, authored by faculty members. Books important to UM's history such as notable collections or materials purchased as part of the original library collection. And works by scholars/speakers who lectured on campus.