National Federation of the Blind
Jernigan Institute

Jacobus tenBroek Library

Collection Development Policy Statement
August 2008

Scope. The National Federation of the Blind has set the goal of creating the world's leading research library on blindness and blind people. Accordingly, the scope of the collection includes everything written on these subjects, with the exception of the medical literature on prevention of blindness and diseases of the eye.

Some material may be collected on subjects outside the scope as described in the previous paragraph. Please see below, at the end of the list of areas of interest and types of material, for the criteria used collecting such material.

Formats. The Jacobus tenBroek Library is a research library on blindness and blind people. It is not a library for the blind. The collection is therefore not restricted as to format. Our collections will consist largely of material in ink-print, because the majority of literature on blindness and the blind exists in this format. If important material is available only in microform, we will acquire it in that format. Where in-scope material exists in Braille or other formats suitable for blind readers, such material will supplement the basic collection. Blind users of the library are invited to visit the library accompanied by sighted readers or to use innovative technologies available on-site that provide blind readers direct access to printed matter.

The tenBroek Library collects published material, including 

  • Books
  • Periodicals
  • Dissertations and theses
  • Oral histories
  • Pamphlets, etc.
  • Recorded music and moving pictures

The library is also the repository of the archives of the National Federation of the Blind and of the personal and professional papers of Jacobus tenBroek, founder and first president of the NFB. A collection development policy for the archival and manuscript collections will be prepared after review of those collections by a consultant. The policy at hand pertains only to anything that can be construed as published, in any format.

Languages. The first priority of the library will be to collect English-language material of United States origin. As the opportunity arises, in descending order of priority, we will collect:

  • United States material in Spanish
  • United States material in other languages
  • English-language material from elsewhere in the world
  • Spanish, French, and Portuguese material originating in the Americas
  • Material in other major Roman-alphabet European languages
  • Other languages

Historical documents. More than two centuries have passed since Valentin Hauy established his institute for blind youth in Paris; and it is now 180 years since the Braille code was first published. The tenBroek Library is less than a decade old. To be comprehensive, it must actively collect documents published since the dawn of printing in the West. For all topics covered below, then, our policy is to collect both retrospectively and prospectively.

Areas of interest and types of material. The categories in the following taxonomy are not necessarily mutually exclusive; nor is this list yet complete. Unless otherwise noted, it is the policy of the tenBroek Library to collect comprehensively in each area. 

  • Institutions for the blind
    1. descriptions
    2. annual reports
  • Agency publications
    1. private non-residential agencies
    2. government agencies
    3. published catalogs of libraries for the blind
  • Training manuals
    1. Braille and other codes for the blind
        • regular alphabet
        • music
        • mathematics
        • computer
        • other special codes

      2.   orientation and mobility

      3.   other skills for the blind

  • Government documents
    1. reports
    2. legislation
    3. regulations
    4. public information
  • Histories and biographies
    1. collective biographies
    2. individual biographies
    3. histories of institutions
    4. histories by country
  • Fiction and poetry
    1. by blind authors
    2. in which blindness or a blind character is central
  • Children's literature
    1. fiction
    2. non-fiction
    3. tactile books. [note: this collection will be highly selective]
  • Recorded music
    1. performed by blind artists
    2. composed by blind composers
  • Films and videos
    1. fiction films and videos with significant blind characters
    2. non-fiction films and videos about blindness and blind people
  • NFB literature
  • Periodicals
  • Otherwise out-of-scope material
    1. Braille books with distinctive provenance (such as having belonged to Kenneth Jernigan)
    2. disability studies literature as requested by users of the library
    3. research manuals as requested by users of the library
    4. legal research relating to the legal scholarship of Jacobus tenBroek