What is Special Collections? (And why is it locked up?)
by Jason Stuart, Reference Librarian
The University Library’s Special Collections & Archives are a treasure trove of unique primary source materials and artifacts. Researchers have travelled from all over the United States and Great Britain to unlock the secrets of our vault.
Although the Library’s Special Collections is becoming an important destination for 20th Century Christian history research, the 2014 Customer Satisfaction Survey suggests that most students are unaware of Special Collections. Here are two of the comments we received:
- “I have not used this service.”
- “What is Special Collections? Isn’t that the area that’s always closed off and unavailable?”
So what exactly is in there? Just a few of the highlights include the John Wimber Collection, the Rev. Dennis J. Bennett Papers, and the William Standish Reed, M.D., Collection. All three of these men were important leaders in the Charismatic / Renewal Movements of the mid-to-late 20th Century. The archives contain memorabilia and documents chronicling the history of CBN and Regent University. Some of the other notable artifacts include a collection of early English printed Bibles and a 2,000-year-old Greek amphora.
Items from Special Collections & Archives show up in search results from the Library’s catalog and One Search. Since these materials are rare, unique, and often priceless, they are locked away to protect them from thieves (sticky-fingered scholars included), as well as the damaging effects of light, humidity, and other environmental hazards.
If you would like to conduct research in Special Collections or simply want to view some of the treasures housed there, contact a member of the Special Collections staff. For more information about this service, including an introductory video, policies, and contact information, see our Special Collections webpages.