Special Collections Policy


Special Collections Policy

Policy Information

Issuing Office

Jerry Falwell Library


Affected Parties

University faculty, staff, students, and guest users


Policy Language

The special collections policy establishes the framework for governing the collection development, organization, preservation, access, and promotion of the Library’s special collections.


Policy Rationale

The special collections unit of the Jerry Falwell Library seeks to acquire, organize, preserve, provide access to, and promote primary resource materials in their original formats on select topics in support of the research, teaching, and learning mission of the University. The library also seeks to contribute to the preservation of Christian culture by functioning as a library of record for certain Christian literature and scholarship. Current collection areas are referenced. These materials require handling above that expended on typical library acquisitions.


Definition of Glossary Terms

None specified.

Procedural Information


1. Collection Development.

1.1. Collecting Areas.

1.1.1. Liberty University. The Liberty University Archives preserves the history of Liberty University, Thomas Road Baptist Church, Jerry Falwell ministries, and Baptist traditions in general. This is done by gathering records of enduring value, organizing, and preserving these research materials by employing appropriate and adequate methods and technologies, and making them available to scholars and other interested parties via either traditional or electronic access options as the material formats allow.

Archives will acquire material from and about the following entities: Liberty University, Thomas Road Baptist Church, Jerry Falwell Ministries, the Moral Majority and the Old-Time Gospel Hour. Archives will acquire unpublished documents and records, books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, maps, posters, photographs, audiotapes, video tapes, film, other media, digital materials, memorabilia, and other printed materials.

Archives will collect additional materials with the following foci: organizations and individuals who had close connections with any of the above mentioned entities; leading figures who played an important or prominent role in the above mentioned entities; histories, themes, and impacts of Baptist traditions in the United States. Materials may be added by gift, bequest, purchase, or any other transaction by which title passes to archives. Final decisions about which materials will be added to the collections are to be made by the Archivist in accordance with standard archival appraising guidelines. It is the responsibility of the donors to ensure that archives has their current contact information in case of withdrawals or researcher requests for exceptions to restrictions. In order to maintain and improve on the quality of the collection, materials may be deaccessioned at any time due to irrelevance, lack of space, duplication, irreparable condition, or transfer to another archival institution. Any deaccessioning of materials must be approved by the Archivist. If materials are deaccessioned, archives will first attempt to contact the original donors and return the materials to them before the materials are disposed of in other ways, unless the owners have indicated that they do not want the materials back.

1.1.2. Christian Fiction. Whereas Liberty University has a compelling interest in highlighting contemporary storytellers who have sought to impact their culture for Christ, the Jerry Falwell Library seeks to collect outstanding exemplars of Christian fiction for study by future generations. The Library will acquire copies of works that have achieved finalist or winner recognition in all categories of The Christy Award® competition. Additionally, the Library maintains extensive holdings of works published by noteworthy, groundbreaking, or University-affiliated authors such as Lynn Austin, Terri Blackstock, Stephen Bly, T. Davis Bunn, Ted Dekker, Grace Livingston Hill, Angela Elwell Hunt, Jerry Jenkins, Jan Karon, Karen Kingsbury, Tim LaHaye, Stephen Lawhead, Beverly Lewis, George MacDonald, Bill Myers, Jeanette Oke, Frank Peretti, Michael Phillips, Francine Rivers, Lauraine Snelling, and Bodie and Brock Thoene.

1.1.3. Civil War History. Kenny Rowlette, founding director of the National Civil War Chaplain’s Museum, collected and donated the materials for this collection. This special collection covers topics such as religion in mid-nineteenth-century America; the Civil War seen as a religious conflict; the roles of Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant chaplains during the Civil War; and the influence of religion upon the lives of Confederate and Union soldiers during the Civil War. The collection includes over 1,700 items in various formats, including books, magazines, DVDs and CDs.

1.1.4 Hymnals. A core collection of hymnals was bought from Jim Lutzweiler. The collection focuses on Christian Hymnals, but also includes volumes on musical instruction and general historical music scores. It includes over 1900 items mostly in book format with a few magazines.

1.1.5 Conservative Christian History. Dr. Elmer Towns donated a number of materials relating to the history of the Sunday school movement. Materials include books, framed materials, realia and photographs.

1.1.6 Local History. As Liberty University is a part of the local community, the library collects materials on local history.

1.1.7 Conservative Political History. The Jerry Falwell Library’s Herbert Philbrick Collection represents Mr. Philbrick’s reading interests on a wide variety of topics--some topical and others philosophical—which give valuable insight into his interests. This collection is also important because of Mr. Philbrick’s transition from a neophyte Communist to an undercover spy for the FBI, a transition represented by the adage, “we are what we read.” Thus to understand his personal shift to conservatism, this collection is maintained as a unit.

2. Methods. Methods used to acquire special collections materials include donation, transfer, and purchase. Whenever possible and appropriate, the Collection Management Department will coordinate receipt of materials, including the issuing of a gift acknowledgement form, whereby full ownership is granted to the library. In atypical instances, the library administration will work with other University offices to facilitate receipt of materials. The Archivist may also solicit and facilitate the receipt of donated materials.

3. Organization. Special collections materials will be made discoverable in the Jerry Falwell Library catalog. Cataloging of special collections will be performed by dedicated staff familiar with the unique nature of these materials. This includes assigning a special collections location code (distinct from the Archives collection code). Where necessary, archival finding aids will be created to facilitate discovery. In addition, digital manifestations of works in the special collections will be created where permissible and desired.

4. Preservation. Physical processing of special collections materials will follow those standards and procedures established by the Archives. In addition, special collections materials will be non-circulating and will be stored in the climate-controlled ASRS in dedicated, restricted bins. This also serves to collocate materials in mixed formats.

5. Access. The established Archives use policies will govern the use of special collections materials.

6. Promotion. Rotating physical and virtual displays will be created to highlight special collections materials, especially for use in research, teaching, and learning, and will be marketed via the Internet and social media.



Failure to comply with policies and procedures may result in loss of access privileges.





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