Holy Cross archivist Sarah Campbell stated that “archives aren’t lending libraries.” Special collections serve a different mission than lending libraries. They hold unique, one of a kind items that need special care and handling in order to preserve them for as long as possible.
Think about the different conditions that you subject a library book to while you have it checked out. How many other items are in your back pack with it jostling around? Is it raining outside as you cross campus without an umbrella? Do you read at the dining table while eating? Do you take notes with a sheet of paper laid over the pages?
These are things that would destroy most archival materials in a relatively short time. Special collection books and documents don’t circulate and we have rules about how they can be handled in order to ensure that you can use them as well as the person who comes in after you.
Check out the Kentucky Library & Museum collections on KenCat.