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Policy for the Loan and External Exhibition of Rare and Unique Materials

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The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (B&ECPL) is privileged to house a collection of rare and unique materials.  The B&ECPL Board of Trustees is responsible for the preservation of these treasures and for sharing them with the community under conditions that do not subject them to potential loss or damage.  Authority for all decisions regarding the management, development or disposition of the collection resides with the Board of Trustees or its designee.

The Board’s objectives in developing this policy are to:

  1. Encourage and facilitate inter-institutional loan from special collections for the purposes of research or exhibition;
  2. Affirm curatorial responsibility in decisions regarding the loan of special collections;
  3. Specify the responsibilities of lending and borrowing institutions;
  4. Ensure the safety and security of items loaned, and
  5. Standardize procedures for the loan of materials.

I.  Principles

These principles are intended for use by libraries, museums, archives, historical agencies, cultural repositories and other organizations in order to facilitate the inter-institutional loan for approved exhibition or research purposes of special collections, including books, manuscripts, archival and pictorial material.

Basic assumptions underlying these principles are:

  1. Inter-institutional loan from special collections is encouraged but must be conducted in a manner that ensures responsible care and effectively safeguards materials from loss or damage.
  1. The decision to lend materials should involve the individual exercising curatorial responsibility for those materials.  Such decisions should reflect an item-by-item, series-by-series, or collection-by-collection consideration, whichever is appropriate, rather than broad categorical responses.
  2. The loan of materials should rest on well-defined inter-institutional commitments and missions.  
  3. A borrowing institution must meet the criteria described in this document relating to appropriate conditions for housing, security and use of rare and unique materials as described in Responsibilities of Borrowing Institutions.  (Section II below)
  4. Adequate assurances, including but not limited to appropriate insurance, are the sole responsibility of the applicant and must be provided before any request is granted.  If the borrowing institution charges admission or other fees for exhibition of the materials or otherwise benefits financially from exhibition, the B&ECPL reserves the right to assess a fee for loan of the materials.
  5. Adequate notice as determined by B&ECPL must be provided for any request to be considered.
  6. The B&ECPL Board of Trustees must approve the loan of all materials valued at $50,000 and above.
  7. The B&ECPL may refuse to lend materials of exceptional rarity or monetary value, items in fragile condition or materials for which size or format creates increased potential for shipping damage or possible loss (e.g., folios, maps, unbound manuscripts). 

II.  Responsibilities of Borrowing Institutions

The borrowing institution must:

  1. Have staff with expertise in the care and handling of special collections.
  2. Provide a secure space under continuous supervision to ensure the safety of the materials during use/exhibition.
  3. Provide secure storage for borrowed items during the loan period.
  4. Provide storage under environmental conditions that meet accepted standards for housing special collections.
  5. Provide the B&ECPL a statement as to admission or other fees the institution may charge for exhibition of materials or any other financial benefit the institution may directly derive from exhibition of materials.
  6. Guarantee that no reproductions will be made without the explicit permission of the B&ECPL.

     Authorization Request for Reproduction http://www.buffalolib.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Authorization Reproduction Form PUBLISHING REVSD 08 2016.pdf

  1. Give full credit to the B&ECPL in all interpretive materials and publicity concerning the exhibition.

     Exhibition Loan Agreement http://www.buffalolib.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Rare%20Book%20Room/ExhibitionLoanForm.pdf


Adopted July 21, 2005
Amended May 21, 2009, per Res. 2009-22.
Amended February 20, 2014, per Res. 2013-46.