The Value of a Book: Beyond the Price


  • Shannen Shott University of Alberta



special collections, collection policies, collection policy development, value


This research comments on the historical and current trends of special collection libraries and the ways in which their collection policies reflect priorities of protecting certain voices over others, thus assigning a value to those books which are sought after. While book value has been discussed extensively, most of the literature has not taken into account the significance of collection policies, which is a gap that my research aims to address. The methodology includes a literature review of the different ways in which book value is determined and an examination of the collection policy documents of twenty North American special collection libraries. This examination, accomplished via coded data analysis, will determine how these documents reflect the historical and current priorities of special collections and how they subsequently assign value to books. The results of this analysis indicate a consistent commitment to acquiring materials that build on existing collection strengths, as well as a prioritization of locality as it relates to potential additions. Furthermore, the lack of inclusion for marginalized communities in collection policies suggests a need to discuss the future direction of documentation as it relates to recognizing the value of marginalized voices. 




How to Cite

Shott, S. (2021). The Value of a Book: Beyond the Price. Pathfinder: A Canadian Journal for Information Science Students and Early Career Professionals, 2(1), 41–51.