Special Collections Development Policy | University of Portland

Special Collections Development Policy


The Clark Library at the University of Portland actively engages in collection development to build collections that support teaching and research at the university. This policy describes the objectives, collection areas, resource allocation, and other factors that guide collection development decisions for these collections.  


University of Portland Special Collections reinforces the missions of the University and Library. Through collection, curation, and access to unique and rare materials that reflect our pillars of teaching and learning, faith and formation, and service and leadership, Special Collections supports curricular and scholarly needs of University of Portland students, faculty, and other researchers.  


Special Collections is a resource for active learning, experimentation, and dialogue. To achieve this vision, we will provide innovative opportunities for research, access, and learning that will help our communities use the past to inform the present.  

Collection Scope 

Historically, Special Collections has collected materials that document the history of the Pacific Northwest, represent the institution’s Catholic identity, and/or support curricular needs. Materials purchased for Special Collections or gifted to the University for preservation have sufficient historical, theological, legal, fiscal, or informational significance to warrant long-term placement in the University Library’s Special Collections. We recognize our responsibility to include voices not traditionally documented in university library special collections. Therefore, while Special Collections continues to build on current strengths, we also encourage new collecting initiatives that will address imbalances in our collection. 

Collection Guidelines 

Special Collections employs a strategic approach to collection development to meet the needs of the University and its communities while effectively managing space and financial resources. Before purchasing or accepting a donation or transfer, we are guided by principles that include, but are not limited to collection needs, material condition and format appropriateness, evidential, informational, and intrinsic value, gift restrictions, and anticipated processing, conservation, preservation, and storage requirements. While materials may be acquired through strategic purchases, transfers, or gifts to the University Library, placement in Special Collections resides with the Dean of the Library and the Head of Collection Services, often in consultation with liaison librarians. 

Gifts of Materials 

The support of benefactors is always appreciated. The Library accepts materials that meet collection development guidelines and are gifted to either the Library or to the University of Portland’s Development office.  A completed gift agreement form, transferring ownership to the University or Library, is required. We strongly believe in making our collections as accessible as possible. As such, collections with no restrictions are encouraged.  

Inquiries regarding gifts to the Library’s Special Collections may be directed to Christina Prucha, Head of Collection Services at prucha@up.edu or 503.943.7419 or to the University of Portland’s Development office giving@up.edu or 503.943.7395. 

Taxes and Appraisals 

Donors of collection materials to the Clark Library Special Collections may be eligible for a tax deduction as permitted by law. Library staff cannot provide tax advice or valuations. 

Transfers from Circulating Collections 

University of Portland librarians may transfer items from the main collection to Special Collections when collection development guidelines are met. Materials are also selectively purchased from dealers, auctions, organizations, and individuals following collection guidelines. 

Types of Materials Collected 


Published items including musical scores and incunabula (early books printed prior to 1501). 


Includes holographs created prior to the wide adoption of the printing press, literary manuscripts, and personal papers.  


Includes pamphlets and broadsides 

Materials not Usually Accepted 

  • Bibles
  • Duplicates of existing holdings
  • Widely available publications
  • Reprints or photocopies of original materials
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Commemorative newspapers
  • Trophies and plaques
  • Student coursework
  • Fine and decorative arts
  • Modern encyclopedias and textbooks
  • Single volumes of sets or incomplete sets
  • Yearbooks (from University of Portland or other schools, colleges, or universities)
  • Note: Materials without a clear title are never accepted.

University of Portland Related Materials 

Please consult the University of Portland Archives and Artifacts for the following: 

  • University of Portland history and culture 
  • University of Portland’s relationship to the Congregation of Holy Cross
  • University of Portland realia

Collection Maintenance and Evaluation 

The Head of Collection Services, in consultation with liaison librarians and with the help of Collection Services support staff, will conduct periodic assessments of Special Collections content to ensure the collections continue to fulfill the University’s and Library’s mission and meet curricular needs.  


During collection evaluations, materials ranging from single items to entire collections may be identified for deaccessioning. Candidates for deaccessioning may include duplicates, significantly damaged items, and materials deemed out-of-scope with current collection development practices. Materials considered for deaccessioning are carefully reviewed and adhere to professional best practices and standards.  

Deaccessioned materials may be offered back to the donor or donor’s descendants, if appropriate, transferred to another location within the Library or University, or donated to other institutions or individuals able to provide appropriate care. Destruction is always a method of last resort. Final decisions to deaccession rest with the Library Dean and Head of Collection Services. 

Collection Access 

The University of Portland Special Collections are primarily meant to support the University community, and secondarily as a resource for scholars and other researchers outside the University community.  

The collections are available for use as educational resources. Use is primarily limited to on-site, supervised visits in the Library. Appointments for use may be scheduled through the Library by contacting library@up.edu or 503.943.7111. Further information about accessing Special Collections can be found on the Library’s Special Collections page. 

Special permission may be granted for temporary off-site use or display of items from Special Collections at the discretion of Library Administration. For inquiries, please contact Xan Arch, Dean of the Library at 503.943.7310 or arch@up.edu.

Digital Collections 

Collection digitization, with the goal of making Special Collections more accessible beyond campus, is practiced on a select basis as staffing, funding, and interest allow.  


Use of Special Collections is governed by Clark Library’s Privacy Statement

Adopted May 14, 2024.