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Special Collections & Archives: Policies and Preparing for Your Visit

Usage policy

GENERAL POLICIES

Please fill out the Item Request Form or email the Special Collections Librarian to retrieve materials.

Most materials in the Special Collections and Archives can only be accessed in the Wardman Library Reading Room or, in the instance of digitized pieces, online. Currently, Wardman Library is only open to students, alumni, staff, and current and emeritus faculty. If you do not fall into one of these categories and wish to access the Special Collections and Archives, please fill out the Item Request Form or email the Special Collections Librarian in order to arrange for an appointment. Visitors who are concerned about their ability to access materials are encouraged to contact the Special Collections Librarian to discuss accommodations and solutions.

While handling collections patrons may use pencils, laptops, notebooks, and digital cameras. Food and drink are not allowed in the Reading Room, but storage lockers are available for use. Many of the items in our Special Collections are rare, unique, or fragile; to ensure their continued stability, you may be asked to follow specific handling protocols.

Handling Archival Items

Handling Rare Books

Donations and Collection Development

Please contact the library if you have materials that you wish to donate.

In order to enhance the quality and usefulness of Wardman Library’s Special Collections and Archives, the Collection aims to acquire, preserve, and share a specific sub-set of materials. These materials include information and artifacts pertaining to:

  • Quaker settlers of Whittier, the San Gabriel Valley, or Southern California;
  • The life, works, and/or influence of John Greenleaf Whittier, William Somerset Maugham, Zilpha Snyder, Jessamyn West, and/or Lola Hoffman;
  • The life, upbringing, and/or political career of Richard M. Nixon;
  • The history and activities of Whittier College, the lives of its students and faculty, and its interactions with the community;
  • Rare, unique, and/or valuable materials, primarily those produced prior to 1950 and relating to the topics listed above or containing an inscription or other unique feature and not accessible online or at partner libraries.  

More subjects may be added to this list on the basis of student/faculty interest or if gifts are made to the college. These materials are maintained primarily for the use and benefit of Whittier College students, faculty, staff, and alumni, but the Special Collections and Archives are also open to use by members of the community, outside researchers, and other interested parties.

The Special Collections and Archives also adhere to the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights,” which asserts that:

    I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

    II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

    III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

    IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

    V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

    VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

    VII. All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.

(Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948;

February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23,

1996. https://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill.)

As such, no material will be turned away or removed from the collection on the basis that the subject matter is distasteful, offensive, or contrary to the values of Whittier College. Access to material that is deemed capable of facilitating harm may, however, be restricted at the discretion of the Special Collections Librarian and the Library Director, as will materials containing sensitive or personal information. Access to materials may also be restricted, or gifts of materials be declined, due to the condition or value of the materials; the Special Collections only maintains those materials that it is able to responsibly care for and preserve.

Materials may be considered for withdrawal only under specific conditions:

  • They are duplications of materials already held within the collections and contain no additional information or potential research value;
  • They are degraded to a point where they endanger other materials or cannot be adequately preserved using Whittier College resources.

Databases

Reproduction and usage of materials policies

Please contact the Special Collections Librarian if you would like photocopies, reproductions, or other facsimile of our materials, or if you would like permission to publish a reproduction or facsimile. Patrons visiting the Special Collections and Archives in person are also allowed to use their own devices to take pictures of those materials not held in copyright and without restrictions. 

Privacy Policy

The American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights” states that, “All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information”. Special Collections must collect some information in order to best serve its patrons, but that information is limited and consciously safeguarded.  

We collect: 

  • Your name; 

  • Your phone number and email address; 

  • Your research topic, if applicable; 

  • Your relationship with Whittier College, if applicable; 

  • Your affiliation with other organizations that motivated your visit, such as your university, place of work, or community group. 

If you are accessing rare, valuable, delicate, or sensitive materials, we may ask for a copy of some form of identification, such as a student ID card. If we do, that copy will be shredded at the conclusion of your visit. 

We do not collect: 

  • Details of what materials you accessed; 

  • Your address; 

  • Your affiliation with any organizations that do not pertain to your visit. 

 

(Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996. https://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill.)