picture of the Kelvin Smith Library at CWRU

American Library Association publishes book based on 2014 Kelvin Smith Library colloquium; staff serve as co-editors

The American Library Association recently published a new book based upon a 2014 colloquium organized by and held at Kelvin Smith Library. The new book, Forging the Future of Special Collections, was co-edited by Melissa Hubbard, the Kelvin Smith Library head of special collections and archives; Arnold Hirshon, associate provost and university librarian; and Robert H. Jackson, the Kelvin Smith Library Distinguished Visiting Scholar.

The book discusses how special collections departments of libraries have been transformed by increased digitization and educational outreach efforts into unique and highly visible major institutional assets. It also provides a series of essays by world-class leaders in the field as to what libraries must now do to articulate and implement a dynamic strategic vision for their special collections.

The book is unique in that the essays bring together the thoughts not only of librarians, but also of university faculty, book dealers, collectors and donors. Hirshon and Jackson were the primary organizers of the 2014 colloquium, but the author of each essay was encouraged to expand upon their original presentations to provide a timely resource for special collections librarians, administrators, academics, and rare book dealers and collectors.

Among the topics included in the book are:

  • The factors that governed the growth and use of special collections in the past;
  • Ways to build 21st-century special collections that are accessible globally, and how to provide the expertise and services necessary to support collection use;
  • Developing and maintaining strong relationships between libraries and collectors, with special attention paid to the importance of donor relations;
  • Critical information on how libraries and their institutions’ faculty can best collaborate to ensure students and other researchers are aware of the resources available to them;
  • Forward-thinking approaches to applying digital scholarship techniques to special collections materials;
  • How changes in the way scholars and authors work (from analog to digital) increases the importance of archives in preserving the aspects of humanity that elevate us; and,
  • Sustainable and scalable approaches to promoting the use of special collections in the digital age (including the roles of social media and crowdsourcing to bring collections directly to the user).

Hirshon has been the associate provost and university librarian at Case Western Reserve University since August 2010. He has an extensive scholarly record that includes many monographs, among them The Library Strategic Planning Toolkit (with Stephen Spohn), and Outsourcing Library Technical Services (with Barbara Winters). A frequent lecturer nationally and internationally, he has given lectures in more than 40 countries on a wide range of topics.

Jackson is a senior partner at Kohrman Jackson & Krantz PLL in Cleveland, and also is a noted writer, speaker and collector of rare books and art. His broad knowledge of, and involvement in, bibliophilic endeavors are reflected in his affiliations with such organizations as the Grolier Club, the Rowfant Club of Cleveland, Association Internationale de Bibliophile (Paris) and the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies, of which he is a founder and past chairman. At Case Western Reserve University, he serves as chair of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities Advisory Board.

Hubbard is the head of special collections and archives at Kelvin Smith Library and she previously served as the rare book librarian at Southern Illinois University.