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Special Collections

The UC Merced Library Special Collections acquires rare books, manuscripts, photographs, ephemera, and digital collections of rare or unique material. We acquire new holdings primarily through donations and transfers. These collections are focused largely on the varied histories of the San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Nevada regions, on the research and scholarly interests and productions of the UC Merced academic community, and our ongoing University of California Cooperative Extension Archive project.

Our General Principles for Collecting Materials:

  • We develop collections in order to engage with research, teaching, and learning at UC Merced and beyond. We support existing areas and anticipate emerging research and learning trends.
  • We seek to develop high-quality collections with sufficient documentation to support research and instruction.
  • We work collaboratively within a network of other institutions to collect materials and preserve cultural heritage and do not seek to develop areas that duplicate the collection strengths of others.
  • We make a full stewardship commitment to materials we acquire and make acquisitions decisions with the expectation that we will be able to preserve materials adequately and make them discoverable and available for research.
  • Our collecting priorities and emphases evolve over time. This policy will be reviewed periodically.

 

Currently, the Library has as its focus the following collecting areas:

The San Joaquin Valley

The UC Merced Library actively collects materials detailing the rich cultural and environmental history of the San Joaquin Valley. Of particular interest are those documents that narrate the development and impact of human settlement of the region, and the histories of those individuals who helped transform the region into the most technologically-advanced and productive farming region in the world. Too, we look to collect materials that document the literary, cultural, and artistic history of the region, paying particular attention to those materials that trace the identities, representations, and experiences of the diverse ethnic groups that have settled in the Valley, as well as creative works that speak to the region's social, political, and environmental concerns. [More information on this collection area.]

The Sierra Nevada

The UC Merced Library's location strategically places it as a prime location to collect materials related to the Sierra Nevada. We collect materials that trace the history, and impact, of human settlement on the region, as well as materials that document the use of, and policies impacting, the land and natural resources of the region. We also collect materials that trace the literary, cultural, and artistic history of the region, in particular those creators, and those creative works, that speak to the region's social, political, and environmental concerns, such as indigeneity, conservation, and the region's representation in the creative arts. [More information on this collection area.]

The University of California Cooperative Extension Archive

Beginning in 1913, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisors have been located in every county of the state and have helped to shape agricultural practices through their work with local farmers, and the development of their communities through programs such as 4-H. In the fall of 2016, under a memorandum of understanding with the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the UC Merced Library began to assess, inventory, process, and provide access to historical materials held in county Cooperative Extension offices. Records in the county offices document agricultural trials, animal husbandry, water management, fire management, the development of integrated pest management, rural food and nutrition programs, and youth development programs, among other subjects. The records reflect the partnership between the university and federal, state, and local entities. [View the project website]

Faculty Papers

As part of its commitment to document the history of UC Merced, the Library collects materials related to the academic and research activities of its faculty. Of particular interest are those works that have had a significant impact on the world outside academia, and whose area of impact exists in concert with the Library's other collection areas of emphases, or those faculty who have established new areas of study that have had a significant impact on academia itself. [More information on this collection area.]