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University Archives & Special Collections

Mission Statement and Policies

Mission Statement

The University Archives & Special Collections of the Florida Gulf Coast University Library advances research by acquiring, preserving, and providing public access to original primary source materials.

The University Archives is the official institutional repository of records for Florida Gulf Coast University and serves as its institutional memory. The Archives identifies, collects, preserves, and provides access to materials with enduring historical value that documents the history of the university.

The Special Collections actively collects and preserves materials documenting the cultural and environmental history of Southwest Florida, as well as rare, fragile, and unique materials including, early printed and rare books, manuscripts, photographs, sheet music, audiovisual materials, and ephemera.

Our commitments:

  • Develop archival collections that are equitably representative of all communities residing within Southwest Florida in hopes of spurring crucial conversations and scholarship while contributing to the historical record. 
  • Collect critical resources pertaining to the environmental ecology of Southwest Florida.
  • Foster partnerships through fundraising and donor engagement in an effort to expand access to unique and rare primary resources. 
  • Deliver diverse and inclusive educational programming to FGCU and the Southwest Florida community.

 

YOUR GENEROSITY MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Visit "Giving to the Library" to make a donation.

Be sure to specify the "University Archives and Special Collections" as the designation. 

Your gift allows us to continue to provide access to rare and unique collections documenting the cultural and environmental history of Southwest Florida, museum-quality exhibitions, and educational programming.


PROCESS FOR DONATING COLLECTION MATERIALS

Special Collections staff work closely with donors to identify materials appropriate for adding to our collection. When possible, donors are encouraged to provide an inventory or overall summary of the collection for staff review. After the staff and the donor have agreed in principle that the materials are appropriate for preserving in Special Collections, they will make arrangements to have the materials transported to Special Collections, where they will be accessioned and stored for processing, arrangement, and description by the staff.
The legal transfer of the materials from the donor to the University occurs when the donor reviews and signs an Acknowledgement of Objects Received (or Deed of Gift) agreement. The agreement formally transfers ownership of the materials to the University. The University cannot invest materials and labor in the care of collections that it does not own. Therefore, we cannot accept materials on deposit or loan.
If you have materials that you are interested in donating to Special Collections, please contact Melissa Minds VandeBurgt, or phone at 239-590-7658.

COPYRIGHT

Copyright generally belongs to the creator of writings and other original material (such as photographs and music) and can be legally transferred. To enable scholars to quote readily from collections, Special Collections encourages donors to transfer any copyright which they possess in the donated papers to the University. Transfer of copyright also makes it possible for the Library to make digital access copies of the materials available online where they can be used by researchers worldwide.

VALUATION

Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, Inc. do not assign valuations or make appraisals for objects. A valuation is requested by the Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation for insurance and donor recognition purposes.  The donor’s appraisal also will support the charitable contribution deduction claim on the donor’s IRS return.

COLLECTION STORAGE AND CARE

To ensure their protection and preservation, collections are stored in environmentally controlled and secure areas and do not circulate outside of Archives and Special Collections. Staff members retrieve collections for research use in a supervised reading room. 

Staff arranges and describes collections according to archival best practices. Descriptive guides/finding aids are created for each collection, facilitating research use. Records for each collection are placed on the Archives and Special Collections website and in the Library online catalog.

The information in this page is based, in part, on resources developed by Florida State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Approved: 1/27/14; Updated 4/28/2020

Responsible Administrator: Dean Library Services

Responsible Office: University Archives & Special Collections

Revised 09/17/2020 COLLECTION MANAGEMENT POLICIES
Florida Gulf Coast University Library - University Archives & Special Collections

INSTITUTION DESCRIPTION

a. Mission Statement
The University Archives & Special Collections of the Florida Gulf Coast University Library advances research by acquiring, preserving, and providing public access to original primary source materials. The University Archives is the official institutional repository of records for Florida Gulf Coast University and serves as its institutional memory. The Archives identifies, collects, preserves, and provides access to materials with enduring historical value that document the history of the university. The Special Collections actively collects and preserves materials documenting the cultural and environmental history of Southwest Florida, as well as rare, fragile, and unique materials including, early printed and rare books, manuscripts, zines, photographs, sheet music, audio visual materials, and ephemera

b. Vision
Statement University Archives & Special Collections aspires to promote research excellence through its premier collection of Southwest Florida’s cultural heritage, environmental ecology, and institutional history of Florida Gulf Coast University.

c. Description and Scope of the Collection
The University Archives & Special Collections' Permanent Collection consists of materials pertaining to the institutional history of Florida Gulf Coast University as well as unique or rare primary resource materials deemed to be of value for scholarly purposes; or serve a worthy public interest. The University Archives & Special Collections is strongly committed to the collection and preservation of the cultural heritage and environmental ecology of Southwest Florida. The University Archives actively collects materials related to the history, administration, and culture of Florida Gulf Coast University that have enduring historical and administrative value. This includes, but is not limited to, materials related to the President’s Office, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Administration & Finance, Advancement & Marketing, Faculty Senate, Athletics, Alumni Association, Registered Student Organizations, and materials documenting student life. Our Special Collections house rare, fragile, and unique materials including, early printed and rare books, manuscripts, photographs, sheet music, audio visual materials, and ephemera on topics which include but are not limited to Southwest Florida history, Florida environmental ecology, mid-twentieth century journalism, forensic science, ichthyology, and many others. We have a strong commitment to collecting, preserving, and providing access to Southwest Florida history including but not limited to collections focused on the Koreshan Unity, Florida railroads, historic religious organizations, and the land boom of the 1920’s.

i. Current use of the collection
University Archives & Special Collections' collections are available to students, faculty, and the public interested in viewing primary resources for research purposes. The reading room and exhibition gallery are located on the third floor of FGCU Library, room 322, and are open to the public Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. The reading room is fully staffed to provide scholars and visitors access and instruction to ensure the safety of both collection materials and visitors. The reading room serves a dual purpose as an exhibition gallery, offering two museum quality exhibitions annually. University Archives & Special Collections dedicates our exhibitions to highlight our permanent collections while also serving as an educational resource for both the Florida Gulf Coast University and local communities. Opening receptions and visits to the reading room & gallery are free and open to the public. Our programming is for the benefit of all our community members: students, university and our Southwest Florida community. Faculty and staff digitally preserve many of our collection materials and provide global access to them via the digital repository, DigitalFGCU.

ii. Strengths and Weaknesses
University Archives & Special Collections is a fairly young department only formalizing as a University Library department in 2014. Our strengths lie in our strong relationships with the Southwest Florida cultural heritage and environmental communities. The University Archives includes strong documentation of the planning, building, and implementation of Florida Gulf Coast University and materials related to the first two presidents. Our permanent collections continue to be developed, promoted, and organized. The University Archives is eager to expand its holdings in all areas related to university history. We are particularly interested in materials documenting student life.

e. Governance
As a unit of Florida Gulf Coast University Library, the University Archives & Special Collections Department policies adhere to those guidelines and procedures that govern the University Library and the University. The Head of University Archives & Special Collections reports to the Dean of the University Library. The department subscribes to the University’s practice of respect for academic freedom of expression and does not engage in censorship of exhibitions, speech, or publications by its staff members or invited guest curators, artists, speakers, and authors.

The University Archives and Special Collections staff of the Wilson G. Bradshaw Library condemn racism, bigotry, and brutality against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). It is an uncomfortable truth that prejudice and brutality against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) persists and that archives and special collections throughout the country are rooted in systems of oppression and marginalization. 

To facilitate meaningful change, we must be bold in accepting our profession’s role in systemic racism by reviewing our practices and standards and commit to eradicating racial inequities within our collections and contextual language used to describe our collections that contribute to the systemic oppression of minorities. We support action organizations with similar goals such as Color of Change, the NAACP, and other organizations dedicated to racial justice. 

We reaffirm our commitment to develop archival collections and programming that is equally representative of the marginalized communities residing within Southwest Florida in hopes of spurring crucial conversations and scholarship, while contributing to the historical record. The department commits to preserve and tell the stories of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ people by working with individuals and communities to showcase the lived experiences and knowledge of marginalized groups. We commit to promote archives and repositories that center BIPOC and provide professional support within our means when requested. 

We are at a crucial juncture where we are being called upon as individuals to do better than we have in the past. We invite you to join us by acknowledging the historical trauma experienced by BIPOC, as well as investigating the implicit and unconscious bias found throughout academia.