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Clarke Historical Library Collecting Policy

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Clarke Historical Library Policies
Regarding, Collecting and Deaccessioining of Material
Adopted by the Library’s Board of Governors
November 30, 2010


The Clarke Historical Library emphasizes the preservation and collection of documents in three areas:

  • The History of Michigan and the Old Northwest Territory
  • Children’s Literature
  • The Archives of Central Michigan University
Unless otherwise stated, the criteria listed below apply to items purchased by the Library, gifts solicited by the Library, and material offered to the Library that has not been solicited.

When gathering printed material, the Library seeks to obtain hardback editions over paperback editions and original editions over reprint editions. Insofar as possible the Library will also seek to obtain access to electronic versions of material that can be distributed widely. When a paperback, reprint, or electronic edition has been obtained instead of the original edition, the Library will continue to seek the original edition.

The History of Michigan and the Old Northwest Territory

The Clarke Historical Library seeks published and archival material, whether in traditional or electronic format, directly related to the history of the state of Michigan and the Old Northwest Territory.

Scope of Historical Collection and Time Period Documented

The Library seeks to document geological, biological, and human activity within the Old Northwest Territory and Michigan. Documentation of human activity will be collected from the first Native American settlements until each portion of the Old Northwest Territory was admitted into the Union as a state. The Library will not attempt to document the history of a portion of the Old Northwest Territory after its admission into the Union (Ohio, 1803; Indiana, 1816; Illinois, 1818) nor to document those portions of the territory that remained after Michigan’s admission to the Union in 1837 (Wisconsin Territory).

The Library seeks to document the state of Michigan from its admission into the Union until the present.

Historical Collection - Printed Material

The Library seeks to obtain monographic or serial printed items, including relevant electronic and government documents, as well as fiction, that primarily discuss the geological, biological, and human history of Michigan or the Old Northwest Territory. In general, the Library will not obtain works that tangentially or occasionally discuss Michigan or the Old Northwest Territory. With one exception, the Library will neither seek a comprehensive collection of all items printed in Michigan, nor of all Michigan authors. The Library will seek to acquire a comprehensive collection of publications printed in Michigan before 1850.

Historical Collection - Newspapers

The Library seeks a broad collection of newspapers documenting Michigan communities and those papers published in the Old Northwest Territory. In general the Library will collect papers via the Clarke Library’s Microfilm Program, filming selected papers as funding becomes available. The Library will also gain access to Michigan newspapers by subscribing to online databases or, on occasion, by buying microfilm of newspapers considered critical to the documentation of the state from other sources.

Historical Collection - Archival Material

The Library seeks to obtain archival material (personal manuscripts and archival records) that were created by people from or institutions in Michigan or the Old Northwest Territory. Archival material will be collected in accordance with the Library’s Manuscript Collecting Policy.

Out-of-Scope/Declined Material

In cases where the Library declines to accept gift material, the staff will make an effort to suggest another repository to the donor.

Children’s Library

The Lucile Clarke Memorial Children’s Library was established by Dr. Norman Clarke, Sr., in 1972.

The Library will continue to develop and maintain an exemplary collection of significant books through which children obtain literacy skills, books which exemplify the best in creative writing for children, or books which represent important examples of illustration in children’s books. These books will represent both fiction and nonfiction (readers) published for children. The collection consists of:

  1. Authors and illustrators of children’s literature whose works were published fifty or more years ago and whose work has won wide critical recognition.
  2. Authors and illustrators who have been published more recently and have received regional, national, or international recognition. A list of the award-winning books collected by the Clarke can be found in Attachment 1.
  3. Michigan authors and illustrators creating children’s literature.
  4. Selected K-8 textbooks with an emphasis on textbooks used to introduce young children to reading.

Children’s Library - Time Period Documented

For the purposes of the Children’s Library, fifty years refers to the date of a specific volume’s first publication. Textbooks and works created by illustrators may be acquired regardless of the date of their creation.

Children’s Library - Non-Print Material

The Library will collect original art drawn for children’s books as outlined in the Molson Art Endowment. The Library will also accept manuscript material from Michigan-based authors and illustrators or authors and illustrators whose work reflects subjects based in Michigan.

University Archives

The Library serves as the archives for Central Michigan University. The archives will seek to document the University’s activities, as well as those of its faculty, staff, and students.

To accomplish this goal, staff members will work with appropriate University offices (currently Internal Audits) to identify in the University records schedule “permanent records” of historical value to be placed in the archives. The University archives will also accept records of University offices and those of current and former university employees. These may include faculty papers, and papers as well as other records of CMU alumni, or other individuals who have attended the institution, that are of permanent historical value but do not appear on the records schedule.

The Library will accept both printed and archival material that documents CMU.


This policy statement is intended to guide future acquisitions of material by the Library. Material currently held by the Clarke may be deaccessioned if that material does not fall into criteria established by this policy, in accordance with the Library deaccessioning policy.

Attachment I
Award-Winning Children’s Books
Collected by the Clarke Historical Library

  • Jane Addams Children’s Book Award (established in 1953) given by the Jane Addams Peace Association
  • The Americas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature (established in 1993) given by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • Caldecott Medal (established in 1938) given by the American Library Association
  • Carnegie Medal Books (established in 1936) given by the [British] Library Association
  • Hans Christian Andersen Award (established in 1956, separate awards were given to an author and an illustrator beginning in 1966) presented by the International Board on Books for Young People
  • Kate Greenaway Medal (established in 1955, but not given in 1955 or 1958) awarded by the [British] Library Association
  • Ezra Jack Keats Book Award (established in 1985—separate awards are given to a new writer and a new illustrator) presented by the New York Public Library and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
  • Native American Youth Services Literature Award (established in 2006) sponsored by the American Indian Library Association
  • Newbery Medal (established in 1922) given by the American Library Association
  • Phoenix Award (established in 1985) presented by the Children’s Literature Association
  • Society of School Librarians International Awards (established 2005–award categories are "Picture Books" and "K-6 novels")

Manuscript [1] Collecting Policy


Within the framework of the Library’s current collecting policy, this document seeks to define specific goals for collecting manuscript material of historical value.

Policy Statement

The rapid growth of manuscript material over time and the increased availability of contemporary manuscript material make it advisable to collect at different levels of intensity for different time periods. For the purposes of this document, three time periods are defined:

  • Prior to 1837 (Old Northwest Territory)
  • 1837-1900
  • 1900-present

The Clarke Historical Library (CHL) will collect manuscript material created prior to 1837 (Old Northwest Territory) that relates to or describes any part of the Old Northwest Territory. The CHL will not collect material that relates to the non-Michigan portions of the Old Northwest Territory after those areas entered the Union or after Michigan’s admission to the Union.

The CHL will collect manuscript material about all aspects of Michigan, from any part of Michigan, from statehood until 1900. The CHL will collect Michigan material created after 1900 for selected aspects of Michigan history, society, and geographic areas within the state.

For Michigan records created after 1900, the CHL will focus primary attention upon a specific geographic area and will place emphasis on three subject themes.

  • The geographic area of interest will be Michigan’s Lower Peninsula north of a line drawn through the cities of Grand Rapids and Flint.[2]
  • The three subject themes to be emphasized will be economic activity, including Michigan’s oil and gas industry, rural life, and Native American life.

Although emphasis will be placed on economic activity, rural life, and Native American life, information regarding other topics will be welcomed.

Application by Mode of Acquisition


The CHL will purchase material in accordance with the above criteria.

Solicited Gifts

The CHL will solicit gift material in accordance with the above criteria.

Unsolicited Gifts

The same criteria used for purchases and solicited gifts will be applied to unsolicited gifts offered to the CHL. However, exceptions will be made when the staff can present a clear and compelling reason for accepting out-of-scope material.


This policy statement is intended to guide future acquisitions of material by the Library. Material currently held by the Clarke may be deaccessioned if that material does not fit the criteria established by this policy, in accordance with the Library’s deaccessioning policy.

Deaccessioning Policy

  1. Items to be deaccessioned should meet one of the following criteria:

    • Fall outside of the Library’s current collecting policy.
    • Fall within the collecting scope but deemed by the staff to be of minimal intellectual or historical value and having minimal financial value.

  2. The Library’s Director may sell or otherwise dispose of an item or items valued at less than $5,000. The deaccessioning of an item or group of items valued at more than $5,000 will require the approval of either the Executive Committee or the full Board of Governors.

  3. Should changes in the Library’s collecting policy result in currently held material becoming out of scope, the Library’s Director will inform the Board, as part of the Director’s Report submitted at a regular Board meeting, of any plans to deaccession all or part of this material.

[1] A manuscript is traditionally defined as a recording of information that has been manually created by someone or a small group of people, such as a hand-written letter or a report written by a committee for limited circulation, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other means. Today the definition has expanded to include various electronic documents created “by hand,” such as an email, but to exclude widely distributed electronic resources such as commercial databases, email “blasts,” and similar electronic items designed for very wide use or distribution, and thus which have more in common with items that were once printed.

[2] The counties of Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Benzie, Charlevoix, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Genesee, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Gratiot, Huron, Iosco, Isabella, Kalkaska, Kent, Lake, Lapeer, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Montcalm, Montmorency, Muskegon, Oceana, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Saginaw, Sanilac, St. Clair, Tuscola, and Wexford.