Forging the Future of Special Collections. Arnold Hirshon, Robert H. Jackson, and Melissa A. Hubbard, eds. Chicago: Neal-Schuman, 2016. 202p. Paper, $85.00 (ISBN 978-08389-1386-4).

Christopher K. Anderson


In October 2014, more than two hundred archivists, book collectors, donors, and librarians from the United States and Canada convened at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio, to discuss the state of Special Collections in North American libraries. The conference, “Acknowledging the Past, Forging the Future,” was hailed as “a milestone event in assessing the past and projecting the future of special collections.” The edited collection Forging the Future of Special Collections is a product of the sessions and “expands and enriches the ideas presented at the colloquium by including significant additional material from the contributors” (xv). The featured volume of essays is composed of three sections with 17 total chapters. Each chapter summarizes the revised remarks of event commentators and includes an introduction by Robert H. Jackson. Jackson points to the importance of the collection of essays, noting, “The implication is that the future of the book is in our hands. We will control it. We will shape it. The decisions we make as readers, collectors, and special librarians today will determine what happens to our fields tomorrow. This is a hopeful message, and this book presents a hopeful future as well” (xv).

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