/ Library

Special Collections

  1. Government Documents

    The Hope College Library is not part of a depository program for any government publications. Materials produced by any unit of the government (federal or state) are purchased “as appropriate.” Only those materials that support the academic mission of the college are selected.

    We increasingly rely on electronic resources to provide access to government materials that were previously provided in paper. The electronic resources are a combination of commercial products (e.g., LexisNexis) as well as information directly from government entities (e.g., Background Notes from the U.S. Department of State, Michigan Compiled Laws from the Michigan Legislature). Since many government publications are available for free via the Internet, the library may avoid purchasing a paper copy of such documents and simply provide access to them. These materials may also be listed in the library’s online catalog (e.g., Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals). Many federal publications can be identified through the use of GPO’s Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications (available via FirstSearch and at the Government Printing Office’s web site).

  2. Browsing Collection

    The Browsing Collection contains materials of current popular interest, which complement our regular collection. This collection is intended to support the general interest and recreational reading of the college community. The library’s budget includes funds for the acquisition of books for the Browsing Collection. The selection process for these books is completed by library staff and, occasionally, members of the faculty. The browsing collection is weeded annually. Items will be offered for review by all of the librarians to determine whether or not they will remain in browsing, be transferred to the stacks, or be withdrawn from the library collection.

  3. Curriculum Library

    The Curriculum Library collection contains selectively chosen resources appropriate for teaching subjects in grades K–12, and includes materials for students with special needs. Materials are chosen by both Education faculty and the library staff. The primary purpose of this collection is to support the undergraduate teacher-training program of the Department of Education. The library includes practical educational resources and materials on how to utilize them.

    The Curriculum Library collects:

    • Textbooks in all curricular subjects, grades K–12. Emphasis in the textbook collection is on materials published within the last 10 years.
    • Children’s and young adult literature, including a selection of award winners, honor books, and notable books.
    • Regional factual books (those that support the Michigan curriculum)
    • Idea and activity books
    • Puppets
    • Math manipulatives
    • Materials to support early childhood education
    • Sources about children’s and young adult literature
    • Selected teaching methods books
    • Books which teach students how to write behavioral objectives and prepare lesson plans
    • Selected children’s magazines
    • Curriculum guides
  4. Heritage Collection

    The Heritage Collection is a non-circulating monographic collection of the Hope College Library focusing on the history of Dutch American immigration to the United States; the development of Dutch, Hispanic, and other ethnic communities in the Muskegon/Grand Rapids/South Haven, Michigan triangle; the story of the Reformed Church in America; and the history of Hope College. The Heritage Collection complements the manuscript and other archival holdings of the Hope College Archives and Special Collections.

    The professional staff of the Archives will assist Van Wylen Library by recommending monographs for addition to the Heritage Collection. When appropriate, and with approval of the Library Director, the library will acquire two copies, one for the general circulating collection and one for preservation in the Heritage Collection.

    The Heritage Collection is accessible when the Archives is open for research.

  5. Rare Books
    1. Mission

      The purpose of the Hope College Rare Book Collection is to preserve scarce and irreplaceable historical artifacts in trust, for the benefit of Hope College students, the wider community and international scholars.

    2. History of the collection

      The Hope College rare book collection has been acquired almost entirely through gifts to either the library or the college.

    3. Scope and priorities of the Collection

      The purpose of the collection is primarily to support teaching at Hope College. Of particular interest are books that illustrate the history of the book, the history of printing and printmaking, art and art history, religion, Christianity, the transmission of the Bible, and the history of science. The collection is intended to both preserve works of local importance and national/international importance.

      What makes a book rare? Books may be considered rare because of their content or because of their physical characteristics. Reasons for keeping a book in the rare book collection include: age of the book, rarity of the book, early printed works, facsimiles of rare books that particularly contribute to rare book or printing history, special bindings, early use of new printing processes, marginal annotation by a famous person, particularly high market value, or is in a subject area for which we already have a strong collection.

      Books that are held by more than 25 libraries nationally, and more than two in Michigan, will not be kept in the rare book collection unless the book includes some additionally important bibliographic element.

      Strengths of the Hope College Rare Book collection include art and art history, Bibles, religious commentaries, history of science, the history of the Dutch in West Michigan, books in Dutch (history and religion), and local history. The collection also contains many fine examples of early printing and printmaking and early books on science. Books on local history are primarily housed in the Heritage Collection.

      • Art and art history: The collection includes many books on Asian and Himalayan art and culture
      • Artists' books: Books that illustrate the art of book making or are of artistic value in themselves.
      • Bibles: Bibles will be accepted if they are of particular importance to either the history of the Bible, or the history of printing. Dutch Bibles will be accepted if they have particular importance to either the history of printing or local importance.
      • Books printed in Holland, Michigan: All books that were printed in Holland, Michigan will be retained.
      • History: Books that illustrate life or culture in a particular locale or time period will be retained if they also meet one or more of the above criteria. Books that illustrate the history of early interaction between the Dutch and Japan will be retained, regardless of language.
      • Literature: Early printed works of greek literature, children's books, books on fables and fairy tales from various cultures are included in the collection.
      • Science: Early printed works on science and the history of science are included in the collection.
      • Special and unique editions: Books that illustrate printing, book collecting, are artists books, or are particularly rare will be retained.
    4. Books outside of collection areas

      • Books owned by early Hope founders or faculty unless they meet one of the above criteria.
      • Single issues of periodicals unless they meet one of the above criteria.
      • Bibles that were published after 1800, unless they have some additional historical significance.
      • Books signed by the author, unless they meet one of the above criteria or the author is of particular national prominence.
      • First editions, unless they meet one of the above criteria. Books are not necessarily rare just because they are first editions. Prime examples of first editions by very prominent American authors may be retained for teaching and display purposes and because of their monetary value.
      • Travel guides such as Baedekers unless they are rare or meet one of the above criteria.
  6. Reference Collection
    1. General Purpose

      The Reference Collection supports the reference needs of a diverse clientele: undergraduates, teaching faculty, administrative staff, librarians, and to a lesser extent, alumni and members of the greater community. It brings together the handbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, biographical dictionaries, general and subject-oriented indexes, bibliographies, abstracts, statistical compilations, and aids of various sorts, which are most often needed by both reference staff and patrons. Although most of the materials acquired support the instructional programs of the college, patrons have a wide variety of research interests, and therefore resources not necessarily related to the curriculum are provided. In general, reference materials are those that support quick information, background, and research referral needs.

    2. Format of Materials Collected

      Printed books and serials compose a large part of the collection, although an increasing percentage of material is now available electronically. The criteria for shifting traditionally print resources to electronic resources are the following:

      • Demand: Materials which are more heavily used by patrons are better candidates for converting to an electronic form. Often the cost cannot be justified if a source will only be used by a few patrons.
      • Coverage: Does the electronic version provide the same information as its print counterpart? Is information left out due to copyright agreements etc.?
      • Cost: While electronic sources are often more expensive than similar print sources, there should be a significant ‘added value’ to the electronic version. Added value can be in terms of ease of use, additional content, superior access, etc. Paying for information that the library already owns in print should be avoided unless it comes as part of a package that is reasonable in price.
      • Ease of use: Some materials are easier to use in one form or another. The ability to electronically access several years of an index (all at once) is a good example. Conversely, sometimes it is easier to look up something in a print source than to find it electronically.
      • Access: Can patrons access the material from anywhere on campus? Can authenticated users access the material from off campus? How many users may access the source simultaneously? Our preference is for campus-wide access based on IP recognition.
    3. Collecting Levels

      Almanacs, annuals and yearbooks: The latest editions are purchased. Previous editions may be retained in the Reference Collection, moved to the stacks (circulating collection), or withdrawn. The geographic and subject coverage of these materials reflects and supports the teaching and research trends of the college.

      Anthologies: A few anthologies reflective of and pertinent to the curriculum are maintained in the Reference Collection.

      Atlases: (See also Gazetteers and place name directories) A representative up-to-date collection of the major, comprehensive world atlases is maintained. A selection of regional and thematic (e.g., historical, economic and linguistic) atlases is also included. Most atlases are housed on the atlas shelves.

      Bibles: An extensive collection of Bibles representing various faith traditions and concordances is maintained. Most commentaries are housed in the stacks (circulating collection). Non-Christian religious texts are also collected.

      Bibliographies: General bibliographies on broad topics may be included in the Reference Collection. Those with a narrow scope, such as single author or subject bibliographies, are ordinarily not put into the Reference Collection. Exceptions are only occasionally made for major authors or for topics in great demand or of current interest. Since the library collects the most important discipline-specific databases, it is highly selective in purchasing print bibliographies.

      Biographical directories: Major universal and national works. Biographical dictionaries having a very narrow, regional, chronological or subject coverage are considered on their individual merits and on their potential usefulness in the Reference Collection.

      Business and commercial directories: U.S. and international business, trade, and commercial directories are collected in print selectively because this type of information is not heavily used by our students and is available on the Web.

      Career guides: Basic materials on career choice, job markets and resume guides are collected.

      City directories: The city directory for Holland and Zeeland is the only one purchased. Older editions are housed in the Archives.

      Census: Basic population census materials were collected until the 2000 cenus and are shelved adjacent to the Reference Collection. Most materials are now available on the Web.

      College catalogs: (see also guides to undergraduate and graduate study). The library subscribes to CollegeSource Online, a collection of college and university catalogs. Paper catalogs from institutions other than Hope College are not collected.

      Companions and specialized encyclopedias: The Reference Department maintains a collection of companions and specialized encyclopedias on a variety of topics that both reflect the curriculum and high interest topics. Multi-author or period companions go into the Reference Collection, but single author companions go in the stacks with some exceptions.

      Concordances: The Reference Collection contains concordances for major works, such as for the Bible and Shakespeare.

      Current awareness/contemporary topics services: Current awareness services that highlight contemporary topics such as CQ Researcher are maintained.

      Dictionaries, language: The objective is to acquire the most scholarly and authoritative dictionaries available. Juvenile, concise, and pocket dictionaries are generally excluded.

      Dictionaries, English language: An extensive collection of general, etymological, and specialized dictionaries of dialects, slang, synonyms, acronyms, abbreviations, and subject related dictionaries are collected.

      Dictionaries, Foreign language: For those languages taught at Hope or in which there is scholarly interest, a representative collection of general and etymological dictionaries is maintained. For other languages, a translation dictionary of the language will be collected as needed.

      Digests of novels, plays, etc.: Materials of this nature may be very selectively acquired to reflect the curriculum.

      Dissertation guides: The library has access to Dissertation Abstracts Online as a resource for identifying dissertations. Other bibliographies of theses and dissertations are not collected.

      Encyclopedias (general): The Reference Collection includes one edition of most of the major English language encyclopedias. Updated editions are published periodically. The library also purchases access to electronic encyclopedias.

      Major French, German, and Spanish language encyclopedias are also collected and updated as neccessary.

      Gazetteers and place name directories: (see also Atlases) Up-to-date comprehensive gazetteers and selected place name books of the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe are selected for the Reference Collection.

      Genealogy: Generally not collected.

      Government documents: Government publications are accepted into the Reference Collection on a limited basis as determined by demand, use, or control factors. Most government publications are available on the web.

      Guides to undergraduate and graduate study: (see also college catalogs) Numerous guides to undergraduate and graduate study are collected, as are several standard rating sources.

      Handbooks: Handbooks are collected only if organized so as to lend themselves to reference use.

      Heraldry: Several basic titles are kept in the Reference Collection.

      Indexing and abstracting services: General, interdisciplinary and specific subject area indexes and abstracts are collected. Most are no longer collected in print if an electronic version is available/affordable.

      Manuals and other publications such as bibliographic database guides and thesauri are collected for use in conducting online bibliographic searches.

      Periodical and newspaper directories: Several basic titles are kept in the Reference Collection.

      Quotation and proverb books: Most current editions of major English language dictionaries of quotations, proverbs, etc. are selected for the Reference Collection. Subject specific quotation books are selectively purchased.

      Scholarship, fellowship and grant materials: A basic collection of scholarship, fellowship and grant materials is maintained.

      Statistical yearbooks: A wide range of national and international statistical yearbooks is collected for reference purposes.

      Style manuals: A selection of current style manuals which serve as standards for their respective fields is maintained.

      Trade bibliographies: The library maintains an electronic subscription to Books-in-Print and print directories for British materials.

      Travel guides: Selectively purchased to support the college’s off-campus programs.

(Last revised June 2019.)