Library Collections Transfer Policy

Policy No.: 1




Approval Date: September 2012

Last Revision:  September 29, 2015

Responsible Executive:  Associate University Librarian, Collections

Title:  Policy and Guidelines for the Transfer of General Collection Material to Rare Books and Special Collections


Background & Purpose:

These guidelines are designed to assist Library staff to identify and transfer materials from their units to Rare Books and Special Collections areas when these materials require additional protection and care. The guidelines are consistent with the ACRL Guidelines on the Selection and Transfer of Materials from General Collections to Special Collections1. Materials will normally be housed in ASRS or PARC. Materials may be placed in Rare Books and Special Collections at the discretion of the Head, Rare Books and Special Collections or in UBC Okanagan Special  Collections at the discretion of the UBC Okanagan collections librarian.



Central Technical Services shall transfer materials that meet one or more of the following criteria to a secure storage facility (currently RBSC, ASRS or PARC):

  1. Any materials produced before 1851.

  2. Cartographic materials produced before 1900.

  3. Materials produced in Japan or in the Japanese language before 1868.

  4. Materials produced in Korea or in the Korean language before 1910.

  5. Materials produced in China or in the Chinese languages before 1875.

  6. Materials produced in India or in the Indic languages before 1900.

  7. Materials produced in Canada before 1900.

  8. Materials produced in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the then Northwest Territories

    before 1930.

  9. Materials produced in or concerning British Columbia or the Yukon before 1940.

  10. Materials produced in Newfoundland before 1950.

  11. Materials produced at or by the University of British Columbia before 1965.

  12. Canadian, English and American children’s materials produced before 1939.

  1. Materials produced in the United States of America before 1866.

  2. Materials produced in the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Alaska before


  3. Finely produced portfolios (books with unbound elements).

  4. Materials produced in fascicles (distinct parts each with a cover or title page).

  5. Curriculum materials used in Canadian schools before 1940.

  6. Staff should bring the following additional categories of materials to the attention of the rare

    books librarians. The rare books librarians, in co-ordination with the appropriate subject librarians, will determine whether to transfer the materials to a secure storage facility.

    1. Significant association copies or autographed books (i.e. books signed by a famous author or gifted by or to famous people).

    2. Unique materials (e.g. rare editions, editions limited to 200 or fewer copies, special printings).

    3. Materials with added manuscript or other material of significance.

    4. Books of aesthetic importance, including fine printing, fine binding, books with finely

      engraved plates.

    5. Materials thought to be of very high value.

    6. Materials held in fewer than five North American libraries (consult OCLC for this


    7. Materials that would be difficult or impossible to replace (e.g. book art, calligraphy, and

      other cultural heritage materials).

    8. Materials that may be vulnerable to vandalism or theft such as:

      1. Erotica and curiosa, especially illustrated works;

      2. Esoterica (materials from or about very controversial religious groups).

    9. Materials that require supervised use in order to prevent the components from becoming scattered, lost, or hopelessly scrambled.

    10. Materials that present unique printing, paper or binding techniques.

    11. Materials that require special arrangement and description beyond traditional library

      practices in order to be useful to researchers.

    12. Books, manuscripts, art, cards, letters, elaborate facsimile reproductions, archival

      materials, etc. which have value as primary sources (e.g. textual records, photographs, cartographic materials, technical drawings, pamphlets, fliers, posters and other graphic materials).



Central Technical Services is responsible for carrying out the routine identification and transfer of materials under guidelines 1 through 14.

All Library staff are responsible for identifying materials covered by this policy, especially those that fall under guidelines 15 through 18. Heads are responsible for ensuring that such materials are handled properly by consulting with the Head, Rare Books and Special Collections.

Facsimile editions shall not be transferred unless they, themselves, fulfil another transfer guideline (e.g. a facsimile edition produced in Toronto in 1884).

Although this policy addresses the transfer of materials to the custody of Rare Books and Special Collections, it is conceivable that Rare Books and Special Collections may wish to transfer materials to other Library units. Such transfers shall be initiated at the discretion of the Head, Rare Books and Special Collections and completed through discussion with the heads of units that would receive the materials.