Sinclair New Jersey Collection: Collection Development Statement

Statement of purpose of the institution and/or collection

The Sinclair New Jersey Collection is the largest, most comprehensive collection of New Jersey materials in the state and one of the finest collections of state and local history in the country. The over 70,000 print, visual, and artefactual materials in the collection cover broad subject areas. Due to its breadth and depth, the collection is an indispensable resource for research on any aspect of New Jersey, past or present. The collection supports the research and informational needs of Rutgers University and the people of New Jersey, as well as of the broader communities of international scholars and researchers.

Types of programs supported by the collection




Community outreach

Clientele served by the collection

The Sinclair New Jersey Collection serves undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff at Rutgers University as well as other academic institutions; scholars worldwide in a wide range of disciplines; genealogists; community members (local and statewide); K-12 students, in particular National History Day students; historic preservationists; government agencies; businesses; and the general public.

Priorities and limitations of the collection

Present identified strengths

Comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the history and culture of Central New Jersey, namely Middlesex, Somerset, Mercer and Monmouth; statewide coverage of women's history, labor and business issues, social welfare agencies, religious institutions, genealogy, education, arts and culture, and politics; fiction set in New Jersey; and publications of historical societies statewide. Almanac collections are among the largest in the country for New Jersey. The New Jersey broadside collections include numerous unique images.

Present identified weaknesses

Southern and Northwestern New Jersey counties; monographs, pamphlets and periodicals issued by local groups in limited runs; and born-digital and online content. Twentieth and twenty-first century broadsides and ephemera tend to reflect the demographics of the staff, many of whom have donated these materials. We are continually working to create EAD finding aids and catalog records in order to enhance access to uncataloged and semi-cataloged materials including pamphlets, periodicals, annual reports, visual materials, and ephemera. We are currently building holdings documenting underrepresented and/or hidden individuals, communities, and organizations in the state and region through our New Jersey Social and Political Movements Collection, New Jersey Regional Zine Collection, and New Brunswick Music Scene Archive. Through these and other newer collections such as the New Jersey Beer Collection, the Helen-Chantal Pike Collection on Asbury Park, and the New Jersey Restaurant Menu Collection we are also diversifying and updating our popular culture collecting.

Desired level of collection to meet program needs and collecting guidelines


Geographic areas collected

New Jersey, New York Metropolitan Area, Pennsylvania (Delaware Valley)

Chronological periods collected

Settlement (17th century) to present

Subject areas collected

State, county and municipal history, genealogy, religion, business and industry, labor, education, architecture, literature, medicine, agriculture, science and technology, countercultural movements, political science, ethnic studies, gender studies, art, music, and bibliography.

Languages collected

Majority of items are in English, with some Dutch, German, Yiddish, Spanish, Portuguese and Swedish.

Forms of materials collected

Printed material broadly including monographs (including rare books), serials, pamphlets, broadsides, and ephemera. Audio/visual materials. Manuscript items are scattered throughout the collection.


SC/UA does not acquire items where the cost is prohibitive or where we already hold an exact copy. SC/UA will not accept materials without legal transfer of title through a deed of gift, transfer of records form, or other official acknowledgement. We acquire printed government documents issued by the state of New Jersey and historic newspapers only selectively. We do not accept gifts that pose major preservation hazards (e.g., mold, insect infestation, dampness, etc.); that come with special conditions and constraints it cannot honor; or require extensive processing or treatment.

Cooperative Agreements

There is a small amount of natural overlap between the Sinclair New Jersey Collection and Rutgers University Archives. The History librarian also acquires New Jersey-related books of high interest and also acquires e-books.

Resource Sharing

Like all materials in SC/UA, items in the Sinclair New Jersey Collection can be accessed outside of Rutgers through several cooperative access arrangements, including the OCLC Research Library Partnership SHARES Consortium. However, titles that are very fragile or irreplaceable are not shared without the curator’s approval. Researchers with access to interlibrary loan services may request a digital scan of items in our non-circulating collections. The curator of the Sinclair New Jersey Collection will consider requests to scan materials needed by other institutions subject to the condition of the materials, and the reproduction policy of SC/UA.

Deaccessioning Policy

Guidelines for deaccessioning items in the Sinclair New Jersey Collection are established by the Collection Policy for Special Collections and University Archives. Items will be deaccessioned only when they do not fall within the collecting scope of SC/UA, or their physical condition has significantly deteriorated. Materials may be transferred to a more appropriate collection within or outside of Rutgers University, or otherwise treated as determined by the circumstances of their removal, subject to the terms of acquisition, University regulations, and state and federal laws.

Procedures for Reviewing the Policy and its Implementation

This policy will be reviewed, evaluated, and changed as necessary to meet the goals of the university and the New Brunswick Libraries. The Libraries annual report will be used as a source of information for this review, with additional information taken from user surveys, faculty interviews, departmental committee meetings, and other similar data compiled by the curator.