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Jocelyn L. Ladlad 3 August 2012 Introduction
"Special Collections includes books, manuscripts, archives, historical photographs, maps, ephemera and other primary source materials. Primary source materials are those which provide first-hand documentation of past events. These research materials are frequently unique or otherwise rare, either singularly or in the aggregate, and thus: Special... Special Collections, as repositories of primary source material, have a major role to play in the preservation and transmission of knowledge. Preservation, in the broadest sense, is perhaps the most visible activity of Special Collections. Special reading rooms, special facilities, special cataloging, special precautions, special rules; all are outward manifestations of the importance, the primacy, of ensuring the survival of unique and/or rare materials.”( Abraham, 1989) Special collection is defined in many different ways by research libraries. Some use special collection to describe any library material that is more than 100 or 150 years old. Other libraries include newspapers and some electronic materials such as those in art history and related fields. While others consider area studies collections as their special collection. There are times that archival materials are included and likewise rare books and manuscripts are together as special collection. Also, the term is used to define collections that are outside the main collection of a library. Going through all the descriptions of special collection, one could deduce the infinite flexibility in the use of the term “special collection”. In the case of De La Salle University, our special collection is more on those materials outside the main collection of the Library. Some libraries have presented their special collection in well-maintained and beautiful show rooms and often times these collections were cited as special features of the library. But, are these collection being used by the community or only for display purposes and nothing more. According to Melanie Griffin and Barbara Lewis (2011), there is this myth surrounding special collections as “dusty forgotten vaults of expensive, under-utilized blocks of wood pulp.” And Jennifer Howard in her article on Chronicle of Higher Education of October 2009 said “Don't lock your special collections away in neglected corners of the library. Use them to teach students about the possibilities and principles of research”. I think we must heed the
recommendation of Jennifer Howard and really utilize the special collections within our Library especially if we consider space as an important commodity in the library. In other words, we have to see to it that the space dedicated to these special collections are justified and as important and relevant to the academic community. De La Salle University Special collections Four of the many special collections of De La Salle University Library are maintained in separate rooms , setting it apart from the rest that make each one look significant and important while the other special collections are located at the University Archives at the fourth floor of the University Library. The collections are composed of books, primary documents and memorabilia. Those located at the ground floor are seen by students, faculty members, visitors on a daily basis but when asked if they know the content of these rooms or the people to whom the collections were named , one will most likely give a negative answer. Visitors would usually linger and wonder on the significance of these collections and would often ask who these people are behind the collections. Library patrons would often ask if the materials are
accessible for them. Other regular patrons of the library find the rooms nice but would also ask if these materials are being utilized. As to being utilized, the answer is yes. The books in particular maybe access in the on-line public access catalog (OPAC) To market and enhance the usage of these collections the following activities were and are still being undertaken: 1. Brochure Preparation of a simple brochure that contains not only the content of the collection but as well as a short introduction about the donor or the person behind the collection. Based on our library experience, visitors or even our regular patron would usually appreciate to bring with them information material that they can read on their own time. 2. Constructing a website of each of the collection.
This method of information dissemination may not be a new technology but still an effective way of informing the general public of the presence of the collection in our library. This will also open doors to inquiries not only in the national level but as well as international. 3. Exhibits Exhibits introducing the persons behind each of the collection which would include their other contributions to the society at large. The continuous exhibits would draw patrons attentions and will bring into their consciousness on the existence of the collection It is also worthy t5o consider a special occasion in putting up an exhibit example special events such as birthdays, national holidays, other celebrations in relation to the collection or the person behind the collection 4. A lecture or a forum with focus on the person behind the collection. This activity will have a captured audience who could be agents in the dissemination of information regarding the special collections. 5. Film viewing. A small corner with television and headphones that features documentaries or commercially produced films that would entice users to view 6. A prepared audio-visual clips of the person behind each collection that may be access upon entry of a patron in the area. This particular technology is something new to our community and will most likely attract patrons to explore and know more about the collection. 7. A participative activity which may include games that would help introduce the collection and the person behind each of the collection. These may be most attractive to students who enjoy games and in the process will be informed of the existence of the collection. These students may help spread to other students the information and their experience.
8. Pathfinder. A Pathfinder is a guide to the literature and resources in a particular subject area. It is a subject-oriented research guide designed to encourage researchers a selfdirected use of the library. (http://www.dlsu.edu.ph/library/pathfinder/default.asp)
The use of technology and media are powerful instruments to publicize and promote an idea, an activity, a product or even a person hence to reach a greater number of people and participants, the influential media and technology will be used for each of the activity that will be introduced. It is also worthyimportant
References Abraham Terry “Why Special Collections?” November 14, 1989 http://www.uiweb.uidaho.edu/special-collections/papers/whyspcol.htm Aquino, Leticia Espinas,1933- Information services for special libraries in the Philippines. Manila : Association of Special Libraries of the Philippines,c1979. Griffin, Melanie Griffin, Barbara Lewis, (2011) "Transforming special collections through innovative uses for LibGuides", Collection Building, Vol. 30 Iss: 1, pp.5 – 10). Retrieved December 2011. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=01604953&volume=30&issue=1&articleid=1902099&show=html Ladlad, Jocelyn L. 2012 . The De La Salle University Manila Library Special Collections : An Assessment
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