Comprehensive reference for managing special collections publishes in a new third edition

Facet Publishing announce the publication of The Special Collections Handbook, third edition.

The dynamic sector of collections development is constantly changing. In The Special Collections Handbook, 3rd ed. Alison Cullingford has updated her comprehensive desk reference to grapple with the most complex issues of the moment, including guidance on decolonising special collections, the drive towards zero-carbon preservation, the lessons we can learn from COVID-19, as well as the ‘digital shift’ towards online and hybrid research and learning.

The third edition further expands its guidance on the essential principles, skills, and knowledge needed to manage special collections in any setting and covers all aspects of special collections work: preservation; developing collections; understanding objects; emergency planning; security; legal and ethical concerns; cataloguing; digitisation; marketing; outreach; teaching; impact; advocacy, and fundraising. It incorporates the new and revised standards in collections care, such as the new British Standards relating to collections care, BS EN 16893 and BS 4971, which replace PD5454

Alison Cullingford said ‘the book highlights the materials and formats most commonly encountered, from medieval manuscripts and early printed books to artists’ books and modern archives, and is relevant to all special collections practitioners, whether new professionals or ‘old hands’. 

Wide-ranging and written in a highly accessible manner, The Special Collections Handbook, Third Edition will be an essential resource for staff working with special collections in a wide range of settings, including academia, public libraries, religious organisations, museums, and at scales from solo librarians to ‘nationals’.

About the Author:

Alison Cullingford is Head of Library and Collections at Durham Cathedral, where she leads the team responsible for stewardship of the Cathedral’s collections of medieval manuscripts, early printed books, archives, and objects. Previously she was Special Collections Librarian at the University of Bradford, where she was responsible for over 100 collections of modern archives and rare books and also managed the Unique and Distinctive Collections project for Research Libraries UK. An active member of the CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Group and many other sector groups, Alison regularly presents at conferences, blogs and tweets on the importance of the special collections librarian.


Press and review copies contact:

Laura Smith, Marketing & Sales Assistant, Facet Publishing

Tel: +44 (0)20 7255 0594


The book is published by Facet Publishing and is available to order from Ingram Publisher Services UK | Tel: +44 (0)1572 202301| Fax: +44 (0)1752 202333 | Email: sends e-mail) | Web: | Mailing Address: Ingram Publisher Services UK, 10 Thornbury Road, Plymouth, PL6 7PP |  It will be available in North America from the American Library Association.