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Collection Development & Management Policy of the E.S. Farley Library: Special Collections

The Collection Development & Management Policy of the E.S. Farley Library.

Special Collections


Special Collections at Wilkes University supports research by students, faculty, scholars, and community members whose work relies on primary source materials, rare books, manuscripts, and art. There is particular focus on materials that align with the Wilkes curriculum and faculty research, and on materials that document the history of Wilkes-Barre and Wyoming Valley. 


To acquire, preserve, and provide access to primary research materials in their original formats, including books, manuscripts, and art in support of the educational and research activities of the Wilkes community.


Special Collections serves as the primary repository for rare, unique, or otherwise valuable materials which warrant special handling and care, but which fall outside the collecting guidelines of the University Archives. There is a particular focus on rare or original editions or formats of works that provide information not available in later formats or editions.

Subject Areas Collected

  • History of Wilkes-Barre and the Wyoming Valley
    • Polish immigrant community
  • English Literature
    • Normal Mailer
  • History of Science and Mathematics
  • Political Science and History
    • John Wilkes
    • Admiral Harold R. Stark and World War II
  • Transportation History

Types of Materials

Special Collections collects books, journals, newspapers, manuscripts, ephemeral materials, film, video, works of art, photographs and other original materials. Special Collections also collects furniture and other artifacts when there is an overwhelming historical connection to the history of Wilkes University or the Wyoming Valley. Secondary works that facilitate the use of our special collections by high level researchers, such as critical editions of rare books in the collection, are also collected and housed in the general collection. 

Physical Condition

Due to a limited conservation budget, Special Collections prefers to collect items in good condition that can be preserved easily through basic techniques, such as appropriate housings and temperature controls. 

Transfer of Books from General Collections

Books that meet the following criteria will be transferred to special collections:

  1. Age
    1. All books printed before 1922 should be weeded or moved to Special Collections
    2. Books printed after 1922 are considered if they meet criteria in category 2 and 3
  2. Condition
    1. Books in good condition with original bindings are preferred
  3. Value
    1. Artifactual value:

i.Fine bindings

ii.Valuable prints, photographs, maps, plates

iii.Books with significant provenance (e.g. signed by author)

iv.Fine printing

v.Early 20th century literary works with intact dust wrappers

  1. Bibliographic, Research, or Market Value

i.Importance to a field of study or genre of literature

ii.Desirability to rare books collectors

iii.Barriers to replacement due to cost or rarity

iv.Restricted or limited publication

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