Overview

The thirty-eight member libraries and archives of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) collect, care for, and share with a world-wide audience collections that, in their depth and variety, comprise an internationally important body of unique materials for students, scholars and lifelong learners at any level.

The collections of PACSCL member libraries include a total of more than 4,000,000 rare books, 260,000 linear feet of manuscripts and archival materials, and 9,000,000 photographs, maps, architectural drawings, and works of art on paper. PACSCL member libraries hold rich collections of materials on national, regional, and local history; the natural and social sciences; world history, literature and religion; art and architecture; and business and industry.

PACSCL is unique among library consortia in this country. It was born out of the conviction that the extraordinary collections of Philadelphia area libraries deserved greater visibility and broader support. In 1985, sixteen institutions came together to create PACSCL as an informal cooperative group with a shared agenda ranging from access to public programs and development. Now, almost twenty-five years later, PACSCL has doubled in size and evolved into a mature organization. During that period, PACSCL has compiled an impressive track record in developing projects and programs that have greatly benefited member institutions and their diverse constituencies.

As it looks to the future,

PACSCL has identified some key priorities for the next few years. One involves improving access for all users through expanded, integrated, and networked cataloging/processing and digitization programs that will build on systematic assessment of the preservation, processing, and other access needs of members’ holdings. A second priority is to capitalize on members’ individual professional development activities to build cooperative programs that anticipate and serve the needs of the community that we are working to build among the staffs of member institutions. To that end, PACSCL is also collaborating with a number of other consortia in the region and the state.

The third priority involves outreach. PACSCL is committed to helping its members enhance their reach and value to diverse research constituencies and educators, as well as supporters. Beyond that, PACSCL is committed to contributing to the cultural and economic life of the Greater Philadelphia region. PACSCL and its members support the efforts of individuals and organizations engaged in promoting awareness of the area’s rich cultural and heritage resources, both as information brokers and, in the case of many members, as important tourism destinations in their own right.

We invite you to explore PACSCL’s resources together with its vision for the future on this website.