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Philosophy and Purpose

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.