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Collections Overview

Collections Overview

The Gottesman Libraries at Teachers College contain the world's largest and richest collection of materials on the educating professions. The contemporary collections are continuously enhanced by an active acquisition program jointly planned by departmental librarians, faculty, and students. Traditional print and non-print publications are supplemented by a rapidly growing number of visual and electronic formats. Many of the historical and archival collections are unavailable elsewhere and represent in balance, breadth, and depth an archive of American intellectual and social history.  Elements of these collections are being made more accessible through ongoing digitization projects. There are currently 430,432 printed volumes and 237,935 items in the substantial non-print collections.

The Automated Acquisition Program

The Gottesman Libraries have developed automated acquisitions processes that drive an increasing proportion of all library acquisitions. Faculty, students, and staff members who find that the library does not currently have an item needed for their teaching and research simply request materials by Requesting Materials (also on the library homepage). The request is processed by library staff members who determine the most appropriate way to fulfill the request, whether through the purchase of electronic journal articles, ebooks, digital journal subscriptions, or through interlibrary loan. Whenever possible, the library endeavors to acquire materials in digital form as the preferred medium to support the widest possible use among library patrons. In some cases where materials are not available in digital form, the library may purchase the materials in print, but print is increasingly being viewed as a last resort as digital materials are preferred for archival purposes.

Coordinated Collection Development

The library of Teachers College has long served as the education library for the entire Columbia University community.  Today, the Gottesman Libraries cooperate with Columbia University Libraries in developing and providing reciprocal access to research resources. Faculty, students, and staff at Teachers College may use or borrow materials held in Columbia University Libraries, while patrons from Columbia may use or borrow materials held in Gottesman. Cooperation includes joint access to printed and audiovisual materials, as well as to a vast array of electronic information sources, including all bibliographic databases, full text journals, document delivery options, and other resources available through Columbia Library Web. Such reciprocal arrangements allow the Gottesman Libraries to concentrate collecting efforts in subjects represented in the educational programs of Teachers College and to avoid the duplication of collections in other areas.  

The Gottesman Libraries participate in an annual coordinated collection development program with the New York Metropolitan Reference and Research Library Agency. This program allows the Libraries to build selectively upon collecting strengths in education, psychology, and the health sciences and to share resources through interlibrary loan and/or on site reading privileges with participating members of METRO and the larger community of researchers and scholars, including member institutions of the Research Libraries Group.   The Gottesman Libraries also participate in online offerings of New York State, providing access to relevant research tools.

Electronic Resources

The Gottesman Libraries provide an institutional digital repository, named PocketKnowledge, that support the needs of academic offerings at the College. They comprise exemplary, and/or frequently consulted materials, including: publications by or about Teachers College faculty and students (book chapters, dissertations, journal articles, syllabi, and un-published papers); selective scholarly books; and web resources, including key journals, organizations, professional resources, research databases, and Teachers College collections and projects.  

In close coordination with Columbia University Libraries, the Gottesman Libraries continue to develop collections of electronic resources in support of research and curriculum needs of Teachers College faculty, students, and staff. Full access to the most germane research resources in education, psychology, and the health sciences is available directly from the Library’s home page, as well as through the library catalog, EDUCAT.  These resources include databases and a substantial number of full text journals.

Collaborative arrangements with Columbia embrace access to over 600 online subscription databases in almost every academic area, including catalogs, journal indices, books, full-text sources, statistical and data sites, and image files. Users can access most of these resources from both on and off campus with a valid university network identification number and password, making research more effective then ever.  

The sharing of electronic resources reflects a history of reciprocal service. Many librarians at Teachers College serve as Electronic Resource Coordinators for titles available through Columbia's Library Web.

Historical and Special Collections

In addition to contemporary collections in all areas of the Teachers College curriculum, the Gottesman Libraries maintain four major historical collections of books, manuscripts, and archival materials.  These collections focusing on the history of Teachers College, educational research and scholarship, curriculum materials, and children’s fiction allow the Libraries to marshal efforts to develop resources of national and international significance.

Teachers College Collection

The primary archival responsibility of the Gottesman Libraries is to maintain and develop the archival records of Teachers College.  Significant collections have been assembled to represent the work of major offices and projects of the College, and efforts continue to add to these collections in both print and non-print media.

The Teachers College-related archival holdings include significant research resources of individuals and organizations, including the papers of Dean James Earl Russell, Dean William Russell, and President Hollis L. Caswell, the extensive Guidance Laboratory test collections, the records of the Peace Corps Teachers Training Program and of international education programs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. There are extensive collections of faculty papers illustrating scholarly interests and achievements of individual members and their work with academic programs and institutes of the College. Notable, for example, are Paul Monroe, Grace Dodge, William Heard Kilpatrick, Edward Thorndike, Patty Smith Hill, and Mary Swartz Rose. The Adelaide Nutting Historical Nursing Collection and the archives of the Nursing Education Department constitute one of the nation's most valuable collections of primary source material dealing with the development of nursing education in the United States.

Resources within the Teachers College Collection include publications, photographs, and artwork relating to the history of the College; books published by Teachers College Press; publications of the faculty; dissertations and master theses of Teachers College graduates; reports and publications of the College’s research centers and institutes; an archival set of Teachers College Record, the peer-reviewed academic journal of the College; and a collection of works crediting the use of the Library’s resources.

Research Collection

The general research collections are comprehensive in American elementary and secondary education, educational and developmental psychology, history, and philosophy of education, and many other education and health-related fields.

The rare book holdings include significant works on education dating from the 15th century. Other distinctive collections include state and city curriculum materials, archives of large urban systems, publications of independent and private schools; professional association records, and historical educational and/or psychological tests. Specialized book collections include: the Edith Cobb Collection, with several hundred works from 1883 reflecting autobiographical views of childhood; the Ellen Walters Avery Collection, with fine examples of Victorian literature, as presented by her mother to the Library of Teachers College in 1897; Cookery, with mostly English language cookbooks and publications on drinks and drinking from 1702; and Textiles, containing books on weaving and sewing from 1876, with samplers.

Manuscripts and archival collections cover a wide range of educational topics and include personal papers and records of major organizations such as the National Council for Social Studies, the American Montessori Society, and the National Kindergarten Association.  Also included are the records of settlement houses and social agencies such as the Hudson Guild, Grosvenor Neighborhood House, and Children's Village (New York Juvenile Asylum).  

Distinctive art collections include the Israeli Children’s Peace Art Collection; the Edwin Ziegfeld Collection; the Victor D’Amico Collection; the Arthur Wesley Dow Collection; the Federico Castellon Collection, and the Eugene E. Myers Collection, in addition to selective individual manuscript collections and the papers of the program in art and art education.

Curriculum Materials Collection

The Gottesman Libraries maintain substantial collections representing the use of elementary and secondary school textbooks and other teaching materials in the development of education.  Notable collections include American textbooks published before 1900; a collection of international education textbooks and documents, often proven unobtainable in their country of origin; the complete set of textbooks published by Ginn; and the David E. Smith Collection of writings on mathematics education.  Textbooks from the 20th century represent a selective variety of publishing houses and a wide variety of subjects. Printed curriculum courses of study date primarily from the 20th century and reflect teaching practice in all disciplines across the country, with newer materials available online and older materials on microfilm.  Non-print curriculum collections include audiovisual materials, three dimensional objects, printed games, children’s artwork, exemplary software and multimedia, and numerous other resources used in teaching and learning.     

Children’s Fiction Collection

The Gottesman Libraries also house outstanding collections of children's books. The Harvey Darton Collection, originally built by the scion of the Darton firm, contains an unmatched selection of early children’s works of the 17th through the 19th centuries. The Annie E. Moore collection of illustrated books furnishes superb examples of important types of illustrations, showing major changes in the ways art for children was conceived and reproduced; included are crude wood-cuts of early chapbooks and the work of eminent 19th century English and American artists.  The “W Collection” of over 2,400 items yields more rare works, including several hundred 18th and 19th century chapbooks; often published by Sunday school societies and other groups to encourage moral uplift, chapbooks provided stories intended to be inspirational, as well as amusing. These fine historical collections are complimented by a representative selection of children’s fiction from the first half of the 20th century, including award winning and notable picture books, fantasy, folklore, and other genres, in addition to selective foreign children’s books.

Further Information

The Gottesman Libraries welcome comments or suggestions regarding the collections.  Members of the library staff are pleased to meet with you and discuss your curriculum and research needs, as the Libraries continue to build and make accessible resources in support of the academic programs of Teachers College and the research interests of the faculty. To do so, contact us.

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