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Special Collections Procedures: Rare Books Processing

Purpose: To physically process materials designated as rare for Special Collections so as to avoid any adhering of labels.

The Collection Development Librarian or the Head of Special Collections decide whether or not a book is to be considered Rare for our collections. Generally speaking, if a British imprint is earlier than 1800, it is considered to be Rare. An American imprint earlier than 1850 is considered to be Rare.  Other designated materials (e.g., signed or limited editions) as indicated.

Books to be cataloged as Rare are delivered to Cataloging with the blue flag used for material going into Special Collections. It should have Rare written at the top of the flag.


Rare books are cataloged in the same manner as regular, circulating books. The only difference is the use of the pre-stamp Rare over the call number. LC format is used for the call number and two call number labels should be printed (one for each side of the acid-free bookmark).  NOTE: If a rare item is part of the Maine collection, the Maine pre-stamp is added as well.  For example:


The designation "Rare" or "Rare Maine" should appear on the blue flag. If there is any question about a particular item, consult with the Special Collections staff. 


NOTHING is affixed to the book itself. The spine labels and barcode are put on a special, acid-free bookmark and inserted, between pages, into the top of the book. A regular Special Collections bookplate is also inserted into the top of the book (unless a special plate--Vickery, Taylor, etc.--is specified).

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