Resource List



General Information

  • ALA’s Reference and User Services Association’s “RUSA Guidelines for Establishing Local History Collections” is short and sweet, but packed with valuable information such as considerations before you commit to establishing a collection, scope and services, collection development, collection location and access, and fiscal considerations.  It includes bibliography that, although somewhat outdated, is still useful.


Collection Development Policies

  • “Creating a Collection Development Policy for Local Historical Records in Public Libraries” is a downloadable pdf created by the Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board and the Wisconsin Association of Public Librarian with support from NHPRC.  April, 1998.  This document provides logical steps for creating a collection policy (with great examples!) as well as sections on appraisal, transfer of ownership, deaccessioning, and outreach.


Mission Statements

  • Wallace, Linda K. Libraries, Mission & Marketing: Writing Mission Statements That Work. Chicago: American Library Association, 2004. This guide provides good models for mission statement that can inspire you to think of your own.  It can help you better communicate “why what you do is important” and “how your library [and special collections] make a difference in your community.”


 Conducting User Surveys

  • Plosker, George R. “Conducting User Surveys: An Ongoing Information Imperative.”Online, Vol. 26, No. 5 (September/October 2002).  Practical tips and suggestions on how to go about doing user surveys that will hopefully whet your appetite for doing surveys.


  • Brown, Charles, Belinda Yff and Candace Rogers. “The Library Survey: Friend or Foe? Lessons Learned Designing and Implementing User Surveys.” Kentucky Libraries, Vol. 75, No. 1 (Winter 2011).  This article states that survey designs may vary depending on the targeted audiences and that drafting questions is one of its difficult processes.  It also provides an outline on how to conduct a successful user survey, from designing, tabulations, through administration.


  • Eng, Susanna and Susan Gardner. “Conducting Surveys on a Shoestring Budget.”American Libraries 36, No. 2 (February 2005). A down-to-earth and real-life scenario from a two college librarians who conducted a successful survey with few resources.




  • Hansen, Morton. Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity and Reap Big Results. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2009.  Although created for the business world, this book offers advice useful to the librarian as well.  Hansen shows how to get collaboration done right through what he calls “disciplined collaboration,” a practical framework he elaborates throughout his book.



Grant funding


  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), an independent agency of the U.S. government, is the main source of federal support for libraries and museums within the U.S. and offers numerous grants to libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions to support their strategic goal of advancing “innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement”.  For local history collections, some IMLS grants to note are the Conservation Assessment Program, the National Leadership Grants for Libraries, and, for digitization projects, the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants. For information about IMLS grants, see their website at







Social Media

  • “23 Things” websites (starting with the first Learning 2.0 site: If you haven’t tried one of these programs, they are an excellent, self-paced way to discover all sorts of social media options.
  • Theimer, Kate. Web 2.0 Tools and Strategies for Archives and Local History Collections. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2010.  An American Archivist review of the book (2011) describes the use of the book well, “…one of the greatest values of this book is its practicality and applicability in one’s daily work.  [Theimer] effectively provides a roadmap for evaluating, implementing, and managing Web 2.0 services in an archival setting…”  We feel it’s useful in a library setting too for getting the word out about your special collections!



  • NEDCC provides a wealth of resources. NEDCC’s Preservation Services department provides free preservation advice to institutions and individuals worldwide. The Center also provides Preservation Leaflets with information on a wide variety of preservation topics and links to additional resources.


  • The National Archives The website offers a gateway to many things-- often topics that public libraries can incorporate into their own programming.



For suggestions for other resources, please contact Steering Committee member,Daria D'Arienzo  at

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