We provide thorough and comprehensive support for teaching and learning for the Carleton University community.

We preserve, maintain, and make accessible our holdings within the context of innovative research, teaching, and learning.

We provide valuable services and resources to faculty, staff, students, and the general public.

Statement of Purpose

Archives and Special Collections was established in 2008. Its primary purpose is to assist research, teaching, and learning at Carleton University.

Working within the framework of the Library’s general collections and gifts policies and supporting the Library’s goals and objectives, Archives and Special Collections:

  • Acquires, preserves,and makes available for long-term use its archival,rare books, and specialized research collections holdings according to our departmental policies and guidelines.

  • Develops strong specialized research holdings.

  • Supports research and instruction.

  • Collaborates with other institutions, associations, organizations, and individuals to promote and further develop strong specialized research holdings.

  • Ensures that proper standards and “best practices” for digital preservation are followed for all digitized and born-digital holdings.

  • Promotes holdings through community outreach, teaching, and exhibits.

Archives, Rare Books, and Specialized Research Collections

Archives and Special Collections is comprised of three overarching focus areas: Archives, Rare Books, and Specialized Research Collections.Archives and Special Collections actively pursues, acquires,and makes available archival collections,rare books, and specialized research collections.Archives and Special Collections ensures that our holdings serve the Carleton University community and public in general(e.g., faculty, graduates, undergraduates,members of the local community, visiting researchers, other archives and museums). Archives and Special Collections can also provide practicum, work-study, and other education opportunities for students to support experiential teaching and learning at Carleton University.


The Archives acquires, preserves, and makes discoverable various archival material that support teaching and learning at Carleton University.The Archives are focused on non-published material obtained from donations,these records provide insight into the lives and day-to-day activities of individuals, organizations, groups, and other entities.

Any and all acquisitions are in-line with Library policies and guidelines, and adhere to Archives and Special Collections’ internal policies.

Rare Books

Archives and Special Collections acquires rare book material by actively purchasing items to support academic research and teaching at the University, and through gifts from donors in-line with the Library’s policies and procedures.

The acquisition criteria also help to ensure that the rare book collection remains a viable tool for research. Please see Archives and Special Collections Acquisition Guidelines for more detailed information.

Specialized Research Collections

Archives and Special Collections manages a variety of specialized Research Collections that, while not necessarily adhering to the criteria for rare books as detailed above, draw together important resources into one cohesive resource. By drawing together certain topics and subject areas these collections provide great value to researchers, community members, and the general public. These collections can become powerful resources in support of teaching and learning at Carleton University.

The acquisition criteria and collection creation parameters for compiling specialized research collections are in-line with the Library’s policies and procedures, and adhere to Archives and Special Collections ’internal policies.

Working in concert with the Library, and faculty,Archives and Special Collections has created concentrations on particular subject areas that are widely researched and consulted.Also,Archives and Special Collections is constantly assessing and reassessing its holdings to support upcoming research focal areas. Below is a sampling of areas that we consider our strengths and areas we are looking to actively expand on:

Areas of Strength

  1. Refugee and humanitarian resources
  2. Ottawa region resources
  3. Heritage Conservation

Areas of Interest:

  1. The history of the book, printing,and publishing
  2. Medieval manuscripts
  3. Art and Aesthetics
  4. Architecture
  5. Curatorial studies

University Heritage

Archives and Special Collections and the Carleton University Corporate Archives work together to ensure that the heritage of Carleton University (1942 to present day) are preserved and maintained.

The Corporate Archives maintain records of official University departments, offices, committees, etc. in support of corporate memory.

Archives and Special Collections maintains records of material gathered through the acquisition of private records from individuals and organizations associated with Carleton University.

For more information on the holdings of the Corporate Archives, please visit their website:

Gifts: Processing and Receipts

All donations to Archives and Special Collections must adhere to the University’s gift acceptanceand gifts in kind policies.Tax receipts are discussed on a case-by-case basis. All tax receipts pertaining to archival donations must adhere to the Library’s Monetary Appraisal Policy.

approved by Library Executive Committee
April 28, 2020

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