Document Type



Purpose – This paper summarizes the importance of rare materials for academic libraries including developments since the arrival of the Internet and the effects of declining library budgets.

Design/methodology/approach – The authors reviewed the literature on the subject coupled with their experiences with collection development.

Findings – Collecting rare materials remains important for scholarly research though harder to justify during a period of budget stringency. Academic libraries should discover creative ways to discover and add rare materials to their collections. Rare materials require special expertise in their acquisition, processing, storage, and use. Digitization is making rare materials more accessible but cannot substitute for the use of the originals in all cases. Practical implications – The authors provide a summary of recent thought on the status of rare materials in academic libraries for libraries that include such collections or for those interested in increasing their holdings of rare materials.

Originality/value – The paper provides a summary of recent trends in collecting rare materials in academic libraries.


Library and Information Science


This is the author's post print originally appearing in Collection Building. v. 26 no. 2 (2010) pp. 48-53.