Services and Policies
The Special Collection Department in the Robert E. Kennedy Library is the official repository for rare and unique research materials owned by the university. Materials collected generally include the following: monographs; limited, signed, or first editions; association and presentation copies of monographs; architectural drawings and plans; manuscripts; correspondence; personal papers; photographs, negatives and other visual materials; audio and videotape; motion pictures; maps; business records; ephemera and other primarily paper-based materials. Artifacts or material culture items are also collected on a limited basis.
Collections are accepted primarily in support of the curriculum of the university. Special emphasis is placed on collections relating to architecture, graphic design and book arts, and local, regional and California history.
The staff of Special Collections appraises, acquires, arranges and describes these materials for the purpose of preserving them and making them accessible to both the Cal Poly community and the larger research community for research and exhibition purposes.
The department maintains these research materials separately from Kennedy Library's general stack collections due to their rare/unique qualities, physical condition, and/or format. Materials held in Special Collections do not circulate outside the department. Signed permission to quote from our holdings is required for publication, exhibition or broadcast. Licensing fees may also apply to images used in publication, exhibition or broadcast. Please visit our Using Special Collections page for more information.
As many of our holdings are acquired through gift deed, the Special Collections Department welcomes referrals by Cal Poly faculty and staff as well as the public regarding potential collections. Please visit our What We Collect page for more information about donating materials to Special Collections. All decisions relating to acceptance of collections and the terms of the gift remain with the head of Special Collections, and may also be informed by resource allocation considerations. All collections must have signed deeds of gift executed stipulating conditions relating to rights to the material, physical ownership, future care and other legal responsibilities.