The Collections of Schaffer Library are acquired and maintained to support and enhance the curricular programs of the College. The collections present information in a variety of formats and modes: print books and journals, manuscripts and archival collections, audio CDs, videos and DVDs, microforms and electronic databases, streaming media, e-journals and e-texts. Over 1 million print and electronic volumes and more than 11,ooo current print and electronic serial titles help to meet student needs for curricular materials. Union is also a participant in the ConnectNY consortium, through which Schaffer Library users have access to the holdings of fourteen other member libraries.
Schaffer Library's collections include a number of cultural and recreational titles that may fall outside strict disciplinary bounds. These materials are included in the belief that they contribute to a student's ability to achieve breadth of learning and stimulate intellectual curiosity. The Current Reading Collection is shelved in the alcove next to the main stairway near the front entrance, with some 400 contemporary novels and non-fiction titles. These titles are integrated into the Library's permanent collections and new titles are added on a regular basis. A variety of popular and documentary videos and DVDs, music CDs and files, electronic newspapers, and graphic novels are also acquired in support of campus activities and user interests, and these materials can be found throughout the circulating and online collections.
In addition to the circulating collection, the library has several fine special collections that provide opportunities for enhanced scholarship and an enriched classroom experience, and independent study projects. Some of these collections are described below:
The Bailey Collection of Nineteenth Century North American Wit and Humor
The core of the Bailey Collection was presented to Union College in 1921 by Frank Bailey, Union alumnus, Trustee, and former Treasurer of the College. Authors such as Mark Twain, John Kendrick Bangs, Marietta Holley, Joel Chandler Harris, and Carolyn Wells and other American humorists are represented. The dates of the books in the Bailey Collection are generally from the early nineteenth century through the 1930s. Additional volumes are added to the collection by gift and purchase.The First Purchase Collection
The First Purchase Collection includes those books which were purchased or donated to form the original library at Union College. Lists of specific titles which were bought or given, and the sources from which they were acquired, are found in the text of the Union College Trustee's Minutes of 1796.The Schenectady Collection
The Schenectady Collection currently includes a variety of materials about Schenectady city and county and some other areas in the Capital District, especially Albany and Troy. Many of the items are historical, but the collection also includes works of fiction by local authors, atlases, contemporary city and county government publications, and books about the history of the General Electric Company in Schenectady.The Rare Book Collection
The Rare Book Collection in Special Collections is intended to extend the College curriculum and does not focus on one particular subject or author. The collection spans a variety of subjects and the books in it date from the fifteenth century to the present. Volumes representative of the collection include:Carl B. Booth Collection
- an elephant folio set of Audubon prints
- the first editions of the works of John Galsworthy
- a Koburger Bible
- collected works of Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill,
- a number of first editions of significant works by authors such as Newton, Dickens, Johnson, Wordsworth, and Hawthorne
- a growing collection of modern first editions and artists' books
The Booth Collection was a gift of the family of Union alumnus Carl B. Booth, Class of 1938. Dr. Booth collected seventeenth and eighteenth century works of British literature. Included in this collection are works by Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Johnson, and John Milton. Among the highlights of this collection are a first edition of Johnson’s Dictionary and an early seventeenth century copy of the works of Homer.The Union Collection
Materials on all aspects of Union College, for example its history, faculty, alumni, architecture, etc. are included in this collection. Items in the Union Collection are primarily printed, but some manuscript materials are incorporated as well. Publications by alumni and faculty are obtained and added to the collection whenever possible. Complete runs of the Concordiensis the Idol, the College yearbook, the alumni magazine and other College publications are found here. Other formats, including videotapes, audiotapes, and photographs are part of this collection because they contain information about some aspect of Union. All periods of Union's history from prior to its founding in 179,5 to the present day are represented in the Collection.The Union College Archives
The archival material housed in the Special Collections of the Library ranges from eighteenth century lists of local persons who pledged monies to the founding of a new college in Schenectady, to current Commencement programs, sports programs, photographs, College catalogues, Trustee records and other items too numerous to list. The archives actively solicits and collects materials relative to all facets of Union's history, including its faculty, administration, and alumni. Currently, the listing of material housed in the College Archives is available only in the Special Collections department. Anyone seeking information about some aspect of Union is urged to contact the department directly for further information.
For additional information contact Ellen Fladger, Head of Special Collections.