Guidelines for Membership

Why join PACSCL?

Membership in PACSCL is an investment in the combined strengths and skills of the special collections profession in the Philadelphia Region, and in the communities we serve. Current PACSCL members are listed at

PACSCL membership is by institution, not by individual. PACSCL strives to be open and inclusive (see our Statement on Diversity and Inclusion) and we recognize that there are many professionals in the area with experiences, knowledge, and skills that could enrich our understanding and activities. We welcome all interested individuals to participate in certain aspects of our operations, even if they are not affiliated with a PACSCL member institution. However, setting PACSCL’s strategic direction is a responsibility reserved for our member institutions who have chosen to invest in our community. 

Anyone can… Staff of member institutions additionally can…
  • advise or serve on a working group for a particular limited-term project or event
  • serve as their institution’s PACSCL representative, a role which includes the responsibility to vote in PACSCL elections and participate in strategic discussions about PACSCL’s priorities and future 
  • run for a Board seat
  • serve on a Board committee or be appointed to chair a Board committee
Connecting with the regional special collections community
  • attend PACSCL educational and social events
  • subscribe to the pacscl-l listserv where over 400 members of the special collections community regularly interact (email and ask to be added)
  • receive priority registration for certain events (such as workshops with a limited number of seats)
  • serve on the Program & Member Engagement Committee – the group that decides what events PACSCL offers
Projects and Grants
  • participate in PACSCL grant-funded projects as a sub-awardee and/or have their materials included in a PACSCL project at the discretion of the grant administrators
  • serve on the advisory committee for a specific PACSCL grant
  • propose PACSCL grant projects and participate in decision-making about what grants PACSCL should pursue and when
  • serve in a formal administrative role (such as Principal Investigator (PI), co-PI, or fiscal agent) on a PACSCL grant
Sharing content
  • participate in consortial pricing discounts (for example, an online public access catalog (OPAC) or  Archive-It web archiving software)
  • explore shared storage solutions (e.g. OPENN, Dark Archiving)

How can my institution join PACSCL? 

To join PACSCL, institutions must have… 

  • Publicly accessible collections and services.
  • An active collection development program.
  • Appropriately organized (e.g., staff, services, facilities, etc.) as a library or archive.
  • A distinct and recognizable special collections focus: rare books, manuscripts, and works of art on paper (prints, photographs, maps, etc.).
  • Ability and willingness to contribute to PACSCL and participate actively in its projects and programs.
  • Eligibility for 501(c)(3) or comparable status.

Please contact PACSCL Managing Director Beth Lander at to request an application form. Applications will be reviewed by the PACSCL Board at their next meeting (five per year). 

How much does membership cost?

PACSCL member dues structure underwent an intensive reevaluation process in 2018-2019, directed by Fairmount Ventures Consulting and a committee of PACSCL representatives from a broad spectrum of institution types. The new dues structure was implemented in 2020. Fairmount Ventures, the PACSCL Transition Committee, and PACSCL Board agreed that due to the wide diversity of institution types, sizes, structures, and resources, that the most equitable solution was a sliding scale based on full-time equivalent (FTE) special collections staff.

PACSCL dues tier Special Collections staff Annual dues to PACSCL
Level 1 0 – 2.5 FTE $1,500
Level 2 3 – 4.5 FTE $3,000
Level 3 5 – 9.5 FTE $4,500
Level 4 10 – 19.5 FTE $8,000
Level 5 20+ FTE $15,000

For detailed guidelines on how to calculate your FTE count, please contact PACSCL Managing Director Beth Lander at