Scope of Collection

The Special Collection contains over 5,500 volumes plus materials reflecting the history of SUNY New Paltz and the surrounding region. The College History Collection includes over 300 cubic feet of archival and manuscript materials as well as a collection of hundreds of photographs and negatives.

Collection Development Policy

  1. The New Paltz Collection contains materials concerning the college and the region. First priority will be given to publications by and about the college.
  2. Materials will be collected about the village and town of New Paltz, Ulster County, and other towns in Ulster County.
  3. The Rare Book Collection contains materials that are separated from the general collection because of some combination of their rarity, fragility, or intrinsic, monetary or research value. We welcome Faculty recommendations for books that might be suitable for inclusion Special Collections.

Mission Statement

Special Collections of the Sojourner Truth Library collects unique, unusual, or rare materials that support instruction and independent study for students, faculty and residents of the surrounding communities. The department actively seeks partnerships and collaboration with faculty and students in promoting effective teaching and learning using these materials, and with all members of our wider community in building the collection. Though material useful to any field or discipline taught at the College is potentially within its scope, the collections will especially seek to expand access to the general history of the College and access to materials relating to the life, mission, and legacy of its namesake, Sojourner Truth.

Vision Statement

Special Collections of the Sojourner Truth Library aims to play a vital role in teaching and learning on our campus, pursuing partnerships with faculty and students through project-based access to materials, hands-on research education, and exhibitions. The collection’s primary source materials and rare documents allow our students to pursue innovative and risk-taking scholarly and creative work. We support this goal by making our materials discoverable and accessible and by reaching out to faculty and students with opportunities to engage. We welcome support from the wider region in building our collection and hope to enrich our Hudson Valley community by providing access to unique and rare materials. As we continue to grow the collection, we will seek out resources that speak to the history of the college and the region. We are especially committed to expanding our collection to include materials that relate to Sojourner Truth’s life, mission, and legacy, including materials that document modern and contemporary social justice movements.

Values Statement

Communication – We regularly publicize our Collections and our support for classroom and
community collaboration to the college and wider region.

Approachability – We offer access to our materials and support learning with a welcoming attitude.

Organization – We organize and maintain our facility, collections and systems to ensure ease of access for all users and preservation of materials for future users.

Respect – We treat all library users and one another with respect.

Learning – We encourage discovery, creativity, and critical thinking through direct engagement with our unique collection.

Community Engagement – We embrace our responsibility to serve the public good by ensuring a diverse human record. A prominent goal is to promote documentation of our campus and region.


Designated Circulation Staff are able to retrieve most of the materials and all of the books as requested. We ask researchers to allow 24 hours (during the week) for retrieval and on Friday, the next Monday. Once retrieved materials are held at the Circulation Desk and may be requested during library hours (returned 15 minutes before closing). When returning materials please let staff know if you plan to return for more research or if you are finished with those materials. Guidelines for working with SC are available at the research table and are included on the back page of the Patron Request Form. For questions regarding Special Collections please contact the Head of Special Collections.


All researchers must print out and complete a Patron Registration Form before using Special Collections. All materials must be viewed in the private Reading Area adjacent to Service Desk.

Materials may not be used elsewhere in the library nor leave the library.

Guidelines for Using Special Collections

Special Collections Access Request Form


We ask that all researchers take care when using materials from Special Collections. Materials are not to be written on, traced, photographed, or photocopied. Researchers must keep items in their original folders and maintain the order in which they were arranged. All notes must be taken in pencil. Briefcases and backpacks are to be kept on the floor. Food and beverages are prohibited. All records will be examined for condition and completeness before and after use. Researchers may take a limited number of smart phone images for personal use.


If you plan to publish or exhibit original material from Special Collections, you must make written application for permission to the Director of the Sojourner Truth Library. This permission is granted only for one-time use, in one publication or exhibit, and in one language. Each use of materials must be accompanied by proper credit to Special Collections/Sojourner Truth Library, SUNY New Paltz. In granting permission, Special Collections does not surrender its right to exhibit, publish, nor otherwise reproduce the materials, nor to grant permission to others to do so. Special Collections assumes no responsibility for infringement of copyright. The researcher is responsible for obtaining the necessary copyright clearance and publication rights for all research materials.


Modified 2021-04-29