Collections Committee

Committee members 2015-2016:
Chair: Marla Gearhart
Co-chairs Adopt a Book:
Sarah Harrington and Donna Seger
Elaine von Bruns, Donna Albino,
Wendy Biggs, Erik Bauer

Purpose: The purpose of the Collections Committee is to assist the Director in the care of the Athenæum’s books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, artwork, and archival records. Care includes storage and access to the circulating and historical collections and their preservation for use by members and researchers, including conservation of items deemed essential to the intellectual record of the Athenæum, Salem, the Massachusetts Bay Colony and early United States.

Composition: The Collections Committee is a Standing Committee required by the Bylaws. It is composed of a Chair(s), who is a trustee, and members who may be trustees, proprietors or subscribers. The Adopt-A-Book Conservation Program is a subcommittee. The President and Director are ex-officio members of the committee.

Authorization: The Chair(s) and members will be approved annually by the board.

Meetings: The Collections Committee meets year round as needed to accomplish its objectives.

Major Responsibilities

  • Review and monitor observance of the Athenaeum’s Collections Management Policy. Make recommendations to the board when policy changes are advised.
  • Assist in assessing the condition of items in the collection as well as their value to the collection.
  • Assist in recommending books for conservation to the Adopt a Book committee.
  • Help promote the exploration and use of the collection by the membership.
  • Work with the Building and Grounds Committee to plan for future storage of the collection.
  • Assist the Director in planning for the expansion of the collection both in subject areas and in media types.
  • Assist the Director with guidelines for the security of the collection including location of the most valuable items, access to the stacks, procedures for removal of items, selection of volunteers.
  • Responsible for ensuring compliance with collections and de-accessioning policies and for recommending changes to the policies to the trustees.
  • Work with the Treasurer and the Finance Committee to ensure that the Collections are appraised at least every 10 years or as appropriate.
  • Manage the annual Adopt-a-Book program for conservation of 8-12 books or other valued items in the Athenaeum’s collection.
  • Coordinate with other committees as appropriate.


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