VIU Library’s Special Collections Guidelines (under review, 2021)
The Vancouver Island University Library’s Special Collections will identify, collect, organize, preserve, and provide access to material which supports the educational, research, and scholarly needs of the VIU community.
Due to the rare, valuable, and unique nature of this material, Special Collections is non-circulating and is held in closed stacks, separate from the rest of the library collection to provide security and preservation measures.
II. Standards and Guidelines
The Special Collections (SC) Guidelines supports both VIU’s Academic Plan (https://www.viu.ca/academic-plan?_nr=nr) and addresses relevant strategies outlined in VIU Library’s 2018 Strategic Plan (https://libguides.viu.ca/ld.php?content_id=34664485).
They also reflect the guidelines and position statements for Special Collections provided by the following library organizations: Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), Association of Research Libraries (ARL).
III. Collection Focus
The main collection areas focus on the history and culture of Vancouver Island, primarily for the mid and north island regions, as well as the Sunshine Coast; Canadian exploration and discovery, primarily for coastal British Columbia; and selections of institutional publications.
In addition to print books (including rare books), SC contains a range of materials and formats comprising of magazines, newsletters, newspapers, journals, maps/atlases, reports, photographs, unpublished items (e.g. letters and manuscripts), DVDs, CDs, 3D artifacts, and digitized materials.
Special Collections does not function as the repository of VIU records.
IV. Collection Scope
Special Collections will expand the breadth and scope of the Vancouver Island collections, while continuing to develop the depth of its exploration and discovery collections. In addition, selected institutional documents consisting of faculty, staff, and student publications in print and other media will continue to be collected.
Collection development will remain open to opportunities to initiate new collections not currently anticipated that would support our research and scholarly community and may not be collected elsewhere.
Special Collections will include, but not be limited to the following areas:
1. History and Culture of Vancouver Island
- focuses on the history and culture of Vancouver Island, primarily for the mid and north island regions, as well as the Sunshine Coast
a. Ethnic Peoples
b. First Nations Peoples and Metis
c. History and Settlement
d. Arts & Culture
f. Coastal Islands, British Columbia
2. Natural History and Environment of Vancouver Island
- focuses on the natural history and environment of Vancouver Island, primarily for the mid and north island regions, as well as the Sunshine Coast
a. Flora and Fauna
b. Ecology and Environment
3. Exploration and Discovery
- consists of works on early Canadian explorers and explorations, particularly of coastal British Columbia such as Captain James Cook, Captain Vancouver, Alexandro Malaspina, Francisco Eliza, Dionisio Alcala Galiano, Cayetano Valdes, and Captain Robert Gray (Fort Defiance)
4. Vancouver Island University Publications
A selection of publications by VIU staff, students, faculty, and administration such as student handbooks, collective agreements, convocation programs, student newsletters, staff bulletins, human rights reports, The Blue Book, Research & Scholarly Activity, VIU Book (Viewbook), The Journey, The Portal, The Navigator, and Mainly Mal.
V. Selection Responsibility
Special Collections is selected and developed in collaboration with the Special Collections Coordinator, the Subject Liaison Librarians, the Collections Coordinator, the University Librarian, and in consultation with instructional faculty. Final approval, regarding the inclusion of items to this collection, is the responsibility of the SC coordinator.
VI. a) Access
The VIU Library’s Special Collections is open to members of the VIU community, visiting researchers, and members of the general public.
Researchers wishing to access material in this collection are requested to make an appointment.
Researchers are asked to consult the Reading Room Procedures (https://library.viu.ca/specialcollections/access) prior to making an appointment and then to complete a Materials Request Form located on the Special Collections website: ( https://libguides.viu.ca/c.php?g=246946&p=3188272 )
Special Collections is non-circulating; therefore, research must be conducted in the Reading Room. Alternative arrangements may be required for class bookings (see Class Visits).
Access to some material may be limited due to donor restrictions, poor physical condition, privacy concerns, or legal issues.
b) Class Visits
Class visits (tours) in Special Collections are available by appointment and are usually conducted in the SC Reading Room.
Instructional faculty may book a visit with their students to view or use SC materials or be given a general overview of the collection. Depending on class size, small groups may use the SC Reading Room, while larger groups may be required to use an alternative room in the library building (e.g. Room 507). Please contact the SC coordinator to arrange times, location, and to discuss students’ research assignments.
In both cases, appointments must be arranged in advance with the SC coordinator and instructors are requested to complete the Class Visit Form located on the Special Collections website: https://libguides.viu.ca/c.php?g=246946&p=3188280
VII. Reading Room Procedures
The procedures for researchers working in the Reading Room is available online on the Special Collections website https://library.viu.ca/specialcollections/access on the Library’s web page, and in print at the Service Desk.
Collecting is primarily in English; however, other languages may be collected within the scope of some areas that reflect cultural importance (e.g. First Nations and other ethnic cultures).
IX. Acquisitions & Deselections
The acquisition of material for Special Collections will be achieved by the following strategies:
Donations & Gifts - Acceptance
Special Collections welcomes donations of appropriate rare and unique material and encourages prospective donors to consult with the Subject Liaison Librarian and the Special Collections Coordinator to ensure that the potential donation complies with the collection criteria specified in the SC guidelines.
Donors wishing to donate material to our Special Collections are asked to contact the Collections Coordinator, Jean Blackburn. When a donation is accepted, a donation form must be completed with the SC Coordinator which is then past on to the VIU Foundation for processing.
Donations & Gifts – Refusals
Special Collections may refuse potential donations considered inappropriate for reasons such as the following:
Special Collections material may be deselected for the following reasons:
Unless stated by the donor in the original donation form (e.g. a request to be returned to donor), deselected items will be dealt with according to the terms of the Gift Acceptance Policy & Form. If material is sold, the resulting funds will be applied towards the VIU Library’s Special Collections.
X. Special Collections – Digitization
When possible and appropriate, items in the Special Collections will be digitized to facilitate access to users and to assist in the preservation of the original material. These digitized items are available on the Library’s site: VIUSpace http://viuspace.viu.ca/handle/10613/24
XI. Cultural Stewardship
In special cases at the request of a community or a cultural property holder, the VIU Library’s SC will serve in a stewardship capacity for cultural material needing housing, protection, and preservation.
Procedures for appropriate care, access, and use will be determined with authorized representatives or with the intellectual and cultural property owners.
The Special Collections will return (repatriate) materials to the community or cultural property holder upon request of an authorized representative as agreed in the stewardship agreement.
Access and photographic reproduction of Special Collections material is for personal use/research and does not imply copyright permission for publication or performance.
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission from the copyright holder.
Please refer to the library’s guide on Copyright Licences http://libguides.viu.ca/licenses
An Act to Amend the Copyright Act, 2012 http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=5697419
VIU Policy 31.02: Copyright (Under review)
In accordance with ACRL guidelines, Security and Theft in Special Collections, researchers are only allowed in the Reading Room of the Special Collections designated as the ‘public space’ for this area. There is restricted access to the SC vault where the collection is held.
A Special Collections Materials Request Form must be completed by users before they have access to the Reading Room and materials. Photo identification must be provided by a researcher at the commencement of an appointment, and will be returned at the conclusion.
Researchers should be familiar with the Reading Room Procedures and these procedures should also be posted in the Reading Room.
Keys to Special Collections are limited to staff with SC responsibilities.
XIV. Collaboration with Other Institutions
Special Collections libraries on Vancouver Island and throughout British Columbia were considered as part of the guideline development process in order to facilitate complementary holdings. Our special collections process will be responsive to opportunities for collaboratively sharing and developing collections with peer institutions.
XV. Guideline Review
The VIU Library’s Special Collections Guidelines will be reviewed periodically to ensure that it continues to reflect changes and developments in this collection and to support the institution’s collection needs.
Special Collections Guidelines, 2016. Updated Nov. 2018.