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CalArts Special Collections & Institute Archives


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Special Collections, Collection Policy

Collection Areas

  • Rare books: books that are rare due to age, availability, value, or provenance.
  • Monographs
    • Fine or small press: Books printed in small quantities or are finely bound.
    • Out of print: Books that may increase in value or may not be widely available because they are out of print.
  • Artists’ books: books that are considered works of art because of the author/creator, binding, or other attributes.
  • Manuscripts: Unpublished materials  
  • Personal papers and manuscripts of notable people related to CalArts or to the arts community.
  • Artifacts and ephemera
  • Collection priorities: Priority is given to subjects related to the visual and performing arts. Other topics considered based on requests and current study and research at CalArts.
  • Alumni work

The following are items generally not considered for inclusion:

  • Common monographs
  • Topics that do not support study and research at CalArts.

Acquisition Methods

  • Donations and gifts: Please see our policy regarding gifts and donations.
  • Transfers from general collection: Items may be transferred from the general stacks or other collections if an items because valuable or fragile.
  • Purchases: Purchases are made on a limited basis and with consideration of the mission statement of Special Collections and the library.


While we rarely deaccession materials from Special Collections, we does reserve the right to do so based on careful consideration of the following criteria:

  • Physical Condition: Special Collections has limited ability to conserve fragile materials and may deaccession materials that are too fragile to handle.
  • Scope: If an item is out of scope of the collection priorities and may have little research value to CalArts patrons; additionally, if future use is not anticipated.
  • Usage: Items that have never been accessed may also be considered.
  • Duplication: Multiple copies are rarely held in Special Collections.

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