Archives: Special Collections Policy

Trent University
Special Collections

As currently constituted, 'Special Collections' at Trent University include the Trent University Theses Collection, Trent Collection, A.J.M. Smith Collection, Hunter Collection, Seton Collection, Holm Collection, Chalmers Collection and General Special Collections. Of these, the Holm, Hunter, Chalmers and Smith collections are static in that they constitute the existing collections of particular donors. The Seton collection is a subject-based collection to which subsequent acquisitions may accrue. Similarly, materials may be added to the General Special Collections, Theses or Trent Collection as appropriate.


While not aspiring to build a comprehensive, generalist research collection of rare books, Trent University has seen, as part of its responsibility to the community which sponsored it, the importance of preserving the printed record of that community. In addition, a central focus of the university has been, from its inception, a strong Canadian orientation in a variety of disciplines and from a number of perspectives. Special Collections support undergraduate and graduate teaching as well as research at Trent University.

In keeping with the mission statement of the University, the aims of the Library, the policy mandate of the Archives and the comments contained in the external review of the library (Hoffman, 1990), Special Collections should have a strong regional emphasis on the Trent Valley area. A secondary focus would allow growth in subject areas that are already well represented: Native Studies and the study of the North.

Materials previously selected for possible addition to Special Collections will be reviewed and additions made at the discretion of the University Archivist. With the above tenets in mind, the following general guidelines have been developed.

  1. All books, in all editions, pertaining to Peterborough County should be actively sought and acquired for the Trent Collection. Books pertaining to the counties of Victoria, Northumberland, Durham, Haliburton and Hastings should also be added to the Trent Collection.

  2. Books by Peterborough-area authors on whatever subject should be acquired for the Trent Collection. This should include all books written, edited or with contributions by Trent University faculty. Books published under a Peterborough imprint may also be acquired for the Trent Collection.

  3. Canadiana published pre-1900 may be accepted by donation and added to General Special Collections. Those relating to Native or Northern Studies will usually be accepted. There will inevitably be exceptions to these guidelines: Canadiana published after 1900 but deemed to be rare, valuable or otherwise at risk, for example, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Similarly, valuable, non-Canadian materials donated as single items will be handled individually.

  4. Generally, duplicates will not be added, except in the case of Trent Collection materials where heavy use makes this appropriate. Annotated or inscribed copies will be considered for inclusion. Where copies of books are available on microfiche from the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions, books will not usually be purchased for Special Collections but will be accepted by donation.

  5. Erotica, film, theatre and other book materials previously catalogued as "Special Collections" for preservation reasons will not be considered acceptable additions to the collection. Neither will materials removed from the stacks for the sole reason that they are in poor condition.

  6. Materials already in Special Collections which would more appropriately be shelved in the open stacks will be relocated to allow maximum access by students and researchers; similarly, materials of value currently shelved in the stacks will be relocated to Special Collections as they are identified. Materials from the stacks relocated to Special Collections will not be rebound.

  7. We cannot accept books which are donated with the proviso that they physically be kept together as a donor or subject-oriented collection.
  8. Normally, we will require that an appraisal for income tax receipt purposes be the responsibility of the donor.

Policy Developed 1995 through consultation with the University Librarian, Professional Library Staff, University Archivist and with special thanks for the assistance of Professor Michael Treadwell as representative of the Friends of the Bata Library.