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Loans of Library Materials to Other Institutions for Exhibition

All requests for exhibition loans of any library material (whether from special or general collections) submitted by any borrower to any department in the university library system should be forwarded to the Associate University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections who will ask the relevant RBSC curator or library selector for a recommendation, and then, with the advice of the Librarian, will decide whether to agree to such a loan.

In general the Library’s policy is that materials in our holdings should be on campus for the use of our faculty and students, and so loans are made infrequently. Factors that are considered in reaching a decision include (but are not restricted to) the following: whether this is a very important exhibition at a prominent national or international museum or library for which the item to be borrowed is essential for the success of a major exhibition; whether the institution is preparing a published exhibition catalog that would document the exhibition, including the particular loan item(s); whether the institution is one from which we have borrowed in the past or might borrow in the future; and whether the loan will promote Princeton town-gown relations.

There are a number of essential elements to a successful loan agreement: sufficient time before the event (normally a year): a signed loan agreement; wall-to-wall insurance coverage through an insurance binder; a standard American Association of Museums facility report; an agreement on how and by whom (in most cases, a fine-arts mover) the item will be transported from Princeton to the borrower and returned; an agreement on how the item(s) will be mounted or displayed; agreement on the use of couriers when necessary (costs again paid by the borrower); and a condition report and conservation treatment if needed which will be paid for by the borrower (with payment in full prior to release of the materials).

The Library will refuse such a request if the material’s condition is such that it would be damaged either during shipment or display, regardless of all efforts at conservation. Some requests may also be refused for reasons of the uniqueness or extreme high value of the material. Borrowing institutions must comply with PUL exhibit loan specifications, i.e. light levels, temperature, relative humidity, security, etc. The standard length of loan is no more than 3 months. Exhibition loans to multiple locations (traveling exhibitions) are prohibited.