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Collection policy


The William Salt Library continually adds to its collection each year. The Collection Policy document outlines what the object of the Library is and provides a guide to the kinds of materials the library collects. It is also a useful source for people who are looking to offer volumes or collections to the Library as a gift or for deposit.

Collection Policy Statement

The William Salt Library, Stafford, was founded in 1872.  It is a charity, regulated by an original trust deed of 20 December, 1872, subsequently varied or affected by the following Charity Commission schemes: 21 February 1899; 5 June 1918; 9 September 1921; 18 November 1977; and 2 March 1987.  It is also affected by a Scheme made by the Minister of Education of 17 October 1957, and by the Charities Act, 1960.  The Library is currently regulated by the scheme of 21 June 2017.


The object of the William Salt Library is to advance the education of the public through the provision and maintenance for the purposes of study or research, of a collection of books, manuscripts, engravings, deeds, autographs and works of art relating in particular to the County of Staffordshire.  The core of the Library’s holdings is the Original Collection of books and manuscripts of William Salt.  Since its foundation, however, the Library has continued to collect materials which enable its Trustees to further its stated object.

Acquisition Statement

The Library will seek to acquire by donation or by purchase:
printed books, periodicals, pamphlets and other printed items relating to the history of Staffordshire and its families and, where appropriate, to geographically adjoining counties.

  • material written by local authors
  • appropriate reference works which assist in and support the study of local history of which form part of continuing series already held by the Library.
  • manuscripts emanating from or relating to the County of Staffordshire where these form an additional or integral part of manuscript collections already held by the Library
  • illustrative materials, including engravings, drawings, watercolours, sketches and photographs of Staffordshire places and subjects
  • County newspapers and local editions of Stafford newspapers.
  • facsimiles or transcripts of items held elsewhere, if they relate closely to the existing holdings or the collection policy of the Library
  • thesis or dissertations based on research of aspects of Staffordshire history or which are based on the Library’s  collections or on collections held by the Staffordshire & Stoke on Trent Archive Service.
  • manuscript research notes on Staffordshire history
  • pedigrees and other genealogical materials relating to Staffordshire families
  • videos based on archive sources relating to the history of Staffordshire

Definition and Categories

  1. In the context of this Collection Policy Statement, Staffordshire is defined as the historic and not the administrative County.
  2. (Manuscripts are defined as original and unique documents which are considered to be worthy of permanent preservation.  Their format may be paper or parchment.
  3. Newspapers may be preserved either in hard or in microform copy.
  4. Archive films, if offered, will normally be referred to an appropriate film archive.
  5. Large collections of photographs or glass negatives will normally be redirected to the Staffordshire Museum Service.
  6. Three-dimensional artefacts will normally be redirected to the Staffordshire Museum Service.


  1. Where a substantial archive collection is offered to the Library, which does not form an additional or integral part of existing holdings, this will be redirected to the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service, or if it is more appropriate, to a repository outside the Joint Archive Service.
  2. Printed books which relate to the history of non-adjoining counties will only be acquired if they are based on materials already held within the Library’s collections or on those held by the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service or at the discretion of the Librarian.
  3. The William Salt Library will always seek to avoid conflict and competition in its collecting activities with the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service and with other libraries and museums both inside and outside the County.
  4. Where substantial use is made of the Library’s collections in research either for publication or in the preparation of a thesis, the author will be requested to donate a copy of the finished work to the Library.
  5. The Trustees reserve the right to dispose of any material which does not conform to this Collection Policy.
  6. This Collection Policy Statement will be reviewed by the William Salt Library Trust on a regular basis.

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