Collection Development and Management Policy for the RAC Library

This policy guides the development and management of the Rockefeller Archive Center’s print format resources, including acquisition, cataloging, and retention over time. The RAC library collects materials in support of the mission and goals of the RAC, and this policy constitutes a commitment on the part of the RAC to maintain library materials that meet the needs of researchers and staff while balancing the need for effective space management.

Purpose of the RAC library

The RAC library serves two main purposes: (1) as a supplement to the RAC archival collections, and (2) as a repository for published resources on the history and practice of philanthropy in support the work of the RAC’s Research and Education Division. The library is intended to provide item level cataloging information to non-unique printed materials to enhance researcher and staff discoverability. Because of limited space, the library cannot be a comprehensive resource for published literature by and about every subject, organization, or individual represented in the RAC’s archival holdings, nor is it intended to serve as the repository of all works published by researchers who have conducted research at the RAC or that make reference to RAC holdings.

Collecting Scope (Subject Matter)

Consistent with the RAC’s overall Collection Policy, library materials should be closely related to the activities of the organizations whose records are held by the RAC or to the philanthropy and major activities of the Rockefeller family. The main subject areas include public health, medicine, arts and humanities, race relations, scientific technology and research, agriculture, social welfare, social sciences, international relations, education, and politics, as well as the history and practice of philanthropy.

Collecting Scope (Formats)

The RAC library collection primarily includes books, but also some larger pamphlets and brochures. However, even if an item is bound, printed, or non-unique, consideration should be given to its provenance before transferring or adding it to the library collection. Regardless of format, materials connected by provenance to an archival collection should be housed, arranged, and described as part of that archival collection, not cataloged as part of the library. Microforms, audio-visual materials, and digital resources should always be described as part of associated archival collections.


Library materials are cataloged within the RAC’s collections management systems rather than in a separate, dedicated system. The RAC library currently uses the Dewey Decimal System for cataloging.


The RAC may accept donations of printed library materials on condition of full ownership and responsibility for disposition, and acceptance is based on the criteria set forth in this policy. RAC staff may also make select purchases of materials for inclusion in the library consistent with this policy. Because of the limited storage and shelving space currently available in the RAC, it is the policy of the RAC to acquire and catalog a maximum of two copies of any publication.

Duplicate Copies of External Publications

No more than two copies of any book will be acquired, cataloged, and added to the library collection.

Duplicate Copies of Internal Publications

Books and other publications authored, produced, and published or sponsored by the RAC will be given special attention. Depending upon their contents and usage, the RAC library may add up to four copies to the collection.

Stray Issues of Journals/Magazines

Stray issues/volumes of journals/magazines should be housed, arranged, and described as part of the archival collections with which they were acquired. They will not be cataloged and added to the library collection unless there is direct evidence that a complete issue or volume was sponsored by the RAC or by a donor/depositor organization. In exceptional cases, commemorative issues or volumes dealing with the RAC’s goals and mission may be cataloged.

Brochures and Pamphlets less than 50 pages

Small publications, such as brochures, pamphlets, and other items less than fifty pages will be considered archival materials, removed from the library, and managed and described in accordance with the RAC’s archival policies and procedures, including the collection policy, re-appraisal policy, and processing manual.

Loose Leaf Items

Loose leaf and spiral bound publications will be cataloged and added to the library collection like any other books.

Highly Scientific & Technical Publications

Such materials will only be cataloged and added to the RAC library collection if such books were sponsored, produced, or published by the RAC or by a donor/depositor organization. Otherwise, such materials should be housed, arranged, and described as part of the archival collections with which they were acquired.


Library items identified for disposal under this policy should be clearly marked as “Discard”, any cataloging information specific to the items should be removed from RAC discovery systems, and the items may be offered to staff for personal use. Once an item has been identified as a discard, it should not be incorporated back into the library collection at a later date. Any discard items not taken by staff for personal use should be properly disposed of in accordance with RAC Collections Management practices.