Rare Book School

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L-60. Introduction to Archives for Special Collections Librarians

Jackie Dooley & Bill Landis

Libraries with special collections increasingly collect, curate, and service many forms of rare and archival materials within one integrated environment. Managers, curators, catalogers, and reference librarians whose education and experience have focused on published materials must therefore be conversant with archival techniques and issues. This course, intended for those without significant archival education or experience, will explore archival approaches to appraisal, acquisition, description, and access to personal papers and organizational records. Challenges associated with digitization and born-digital materials will be addressed. Aspects of professional culture, terminology, education and history will be compared to those of rare book librarianship. The course will include lectures, readings, discussion, practical exercises, and field trips to the Library of Virginia in Richmond and the Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia.

In their personal statements, applicants should describe their professional education, work experience, archival responsibilities, and any topics they would particularly like to address in the course. Several exercises require the use of a computer, and students admitted to this course are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop to class each day. Please be sure to indicate in your personal statement if you do not have ready access to a laptop that you can bring with you for the week.

Course Resources

Introduction to Archives for Special Collections Librarians

Course History


This course is renamed “Introduction to Archives for Special Collections Librarians.”


Jackie Dooley & Bill Landis teach this course for the first time as “Introduction to Archives for Rare Book Librarians.”