University of South Florida St. Petersburg Campus MyUSF  |    Directory    |    

The Nelson Poynter Memorial Library at USF St. Petersburg campus is open for reduced hours.
 Please use the button below to find out everything you need to know.


Library Guide: Collection Development

David Shedden's picture
David Shedden
Head, Special Collections & University Archives

Office: POY 321
Phone: (727) 873-4094

Collection Management Guide


Special Collections and University Archives


University of South Florida Saint Petersburg
I.     Mission of the Special Collections and University Archives
The Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) operates as a distinct department within the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library (NPML) at the University of South Florida Saint Petersburg and supports the mission of the Library.
NPML serves the teaching, research, and educational mission of USF St. Petersburg by accommodating the scholarly needs of students and faculty. The library’s secondary mission is to provide access to academic resources for staff, postgraduate students, and alumni of USF St. Petersburg as well as to outside researchers, lifelong learners, and the general public.
Within this context, SCUA acquires, preserves, and provides access to materials that fall within the scope outlined in this collection development document.  Some items may be digitized and shared on USF St. Petersburg’s digital repository.
Individual appointments are required to access the collections.

 II.     Historical Background
Formally established as the campus library in 1968, NPML anchors scholarship and research at USF St. Petersburg. From a handful of books in the director’s office and the Papers of Nelson Poynter, SCUA has grown dramatically over the last few decades. Most of this growth has taken place since 1996 when the present library building opened with an expanded area for SCUA.
Its most significant book collection is the John C. Briggs Collection of Ichthyology and Natural History. The volumes in this collection include a significant number of of rare, unique, and valuable titles that span from the sixteenth through the twentieth century. Another notable collection is the David S Hubbell Collection of Twainiana, with original and early editions of books published by Mark Twain.
In 2006, the USF St. Petersburg campus became a separately accredited campus from USF Tampa campus. Documents related to university business were sent to USF Tampa campus Special Collections.
In 2011, NPML launched its digital archive, an open, web-based home for the scholarly output of USF St. Petersburg faculty and students, official university records and publications, and documentation of current community partnerships and engagement.

III.     Collections
A. Special Collections
SCUA actively collects print and born-digital materials that fall within these general  subject areas:

a)    Florida Studies
SCUA supports the university’s interdisciplinary Florida Studies Program. The program is “designed to introduce students to the history, culture, geography and environment of Florida — and its place in the world.” SCUA’s collection development policy, especially in the areas of contemporary books and special collections, largely reflects that mission. Gary Mormino and Raymond Arsenault, co-founders of the program, have each donated collections of Floridiana and local history to SCUA. Their collections include pamphlets, monographs, political ephemera, and various research files. Another major collection is the Tomalin Florida Studies Collection, named in honor of the former outdoors editor for the Tampa Bay Times. It includes significant Florida Studies books in the areas of cultural and natural history.

 b)   Journalism
SCUA selectively acquires regional newspaper collections and primary source materials related to journalism that promote research and scholarship in the curriculum offered at USF St. Petersburg Generally, materials outside of the geographic region of the Tampa Bay region are not accepted. The signature collection of SCUA is the Papers of Nelson Poynter (1903-1978), assembled by the longtime owner and editor of the Petersburg Times and for whom the library is named.  In 2016, SCUA became the official archive for local African-American newspaper, The Weekly Challenger.  Digitized print and born-digital issues are available in the Digital USF St. Petersburg Archive.

c)   LGBTQ Studies
SCUA selectively accepts collections that reflect the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and organizations within the USF St. Petersburg and local community. Current collections include Equality Florida, St. Petersburg Pride, which documents one of the largest LGBTQ celebrations in the southeastern United States, as well as Womyn’s Words, a monthly periodical promoting empowerment for both women and the LGBTQ community.

d)  Civil Rights
SCUA seeks to acquire materials highlighting significant civil rights events and efforts by local, national, individual and community agents. Noteworthy regional holdings feature People for Peace and the state board of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Pinellas County ACLU Collection.

 e)  Local History (St. Petersburg & Pinellas County)
SCUA is committed to the acquisition by purchase or gift items reflecting the history of the City of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County. Materials associated with the history of surrounding counties, including Hillsborough, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee, as well as materials associated with the history of Florida, will be collected as needed to complement the local history collection.

 B.   University Archives
SCUA is the official repository for meeting minutes and reports of administrative offices and academic departments; minutes and reports of faculty, administrative and student committees; and college and student publications. Audiovisual materials, memorabilia, and other ephemera related to campus life and history are selectively collected. Additionally, SCUA may accept donations of personal papers and ephemera of alumnae, faculty, and staff if they have significant research value.
Note about theses: Masters theses published prior to 2006 are housed at USF Tampa campus while those published after 2006 are available in the digital archive.

 IV.     Formats Generally Not Collected
Microfilm, artifacts, realia, and other objects are not collected unless they relate to currently supported collections and are of research value.
 V.     Selection and Donations
Materials that meet collection scope and library and university strategic goals may be added to SCUA by purchase, gift, or transfer from the circulating collection of the Library. Acquisition occurs only after consultation with the Head of SCUA and the Dean of NPML and is dependent on evidence of potential research use, collection condition, and available resources to preserve and process the collection. The Dean of NPML makes the final decision about the acquisition and signs the deed of gift. Donations may be considered charitable gifts to the extent provided by the law. Collection appraisals for charitable gift purposes are the responsibility of the donor.

 VI.    Assessment and Deaccession
SCUA reserves the right to de-accession any materials in any of its collections in accordance with the terms of acquisition, the deed of gift, and accepted library and archival practices. Every attempt will be made to notify the donor(s) or their heirs if the deed of gift so stipulates. The library also reserves the right to move materials from one service area to another (i.e., to/from circulation, to/from reference) at the discretion of the librarian.

 VII.     Guideline Changes
The Dean of NPML and Head of SCUA approve changes to this document, which may be modified for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to financial and human resources as well as new strategic directions.
Revision Date:
June 20, 2017