Contribute to the Collections

Thank you for considering Eastern Shore of Virginia Heritage Center as the home for your personal collections!


 This policy supplements the library’s Collection Development Policy. 


The Eastern Shore Room resides at the main branch of Eastern Shore Public Library in Accomac, Virginia. Initiated and developed by Librarian Dr. Brooks Miles Barnes over his forty-year career, the collection currently contains in excess of 1,000 volumes, 500 rolls of microfilm and 100 linear feet of rare manuscripts, photographs, pamphlets and photocopies. It is the sole repository of many original local history records including the research papers of several respected Shore historians and genealogists, rare photographs, records of notable local businesses, schools and voting registrars, and family Bibles containing information for the researcher and genealogist that cannot be found elsewhere. 


Local history and genealogical resources are of lasting and cumulative value for developing local knowledge and understanding. The Eastern Shore Public Library preserves and provides access to the history of the Eastern Shore of Virginia and its relationship to the history of early Virginia and the United States. The library envisions that all patrons interested in that history will have access to appropriate materials resulting in better knowledge of the community and their own family’s place in that community’s history. The historical materials included in the Eastern Shore Room are part of our collective heritage and it is the responsibility of the library to preserve these resources for current research and future generations. 

The purpose of the Eastern Shore Room is to serve the community through acquisition, classification, preservation and provision of access to a well-organized and balanced collection that documents the history of the counties of Accomack and Northampton (the Eastern Shore of Virginia) and its citizens, including other related geographical areas (i.e. Eastern Shore of Maryland, Delaware, the Chesapeake, mainland Virginia) and to make these materials easily accessible to residents, students, historians, genealogists, and researchers. The library will work cooperatively with other local historical organizations, such as members of the Eastern Shore Museum Network, to gather and preserve the history of the community without duplication of effort or materials, and to educate the public on the holdings of the collection and on the history of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. 


The Eastern Shore Public Library Board of Trustees is the legal entity responsible for the governance of Eastern Shore Public Library. The Board’s role in overseeing the collections shall be to review and approve the collections policies, monitor the implementation of these policies, and provide resources to collect and care for ESPL collections and archives. The library Director and staff members are responsible for implementation of established strategies, policies, and practices, and are accountable to the Board for such. 

The Director, as chief executive of ESPL, is directly accountable to the Board for the overall administration and management of ESPL, including all programs and business operations. As such, the Director is responsible for the effective custody and administration of ESPL’s local history collections and the implementation of the Collections Development Policy. He/she shall delegate day-to-day administration and management of the collection to the appropriate staff trained in these services, hereafter called “the lead service provider.” Specific duties are defined in the lead service provider’s job description. 

The lead service provider of the Eastern Shore Room reports to the Director of ESPL. The lead service provider is responsible for keeping up to date with current understandings in the field in regards to collection management standard procedures and for recommending changes to the Collection Development and Collection Management policies when needed. In all circumstances, this policy and those responsible for the collections adhere to current ethical standards and best practices as promulgated by related professional organizations and to all applicable laws and regulations, including the Commonwealth of Virginia records management policy. 

From time to time, library staff will consult with area local history specialists for recommendations and assistance in collection development. 


The majority of funding for the Eastern Shore Room comes from local (Accomack and Northampton County) funds and State Aid funds. Staff and volunteers also apply for grants to support equipment and projects. To further improve our collections, the Eastern Shore Public Library welcomes donations and gifts from individuals as well. 


Materials to be collected are paper-based primary and secondary resources including books, diaries, yearbooks, pamphlets, newsletters, bulletins, periodicals, reports, letters, speeches, manuscripts, documents, atlases, clippings, photographs, prints, posters, genealogical records, minutes, memorabilia, phonebooks, local histories, maps and plats, studies, plans, and ephemera such as commemorative programs and advertisements. Emphasis will be on the acquisitions of those materials which will contribute to the knowledge of the social, civic, religious, economic and cultural life, both past and present of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. 


The following criteria are used to select items for inclusion in the local history collection: 

  • Relevance to the history of Accomack and Northampton counties 
  • Authenticity of record 
  • Suitability of the subject to the local history collection 
  • Non-duplication of material within the collection, or with other area archives 
  • Quality of physical form of material 
  • Ease of use for patrons 
  • Cost to preserve, store and process 
  • Security requirements to store and/or display 
  • Restrictions by donor 

Items may be accepted in any format, including manuscript, printed, or digital. Photographs and documents may be removed from their frames if accepted into the collection. 

The following list provides guidelines for the type of material that may be sought for inclusion in the Eastern Shore Room collection: 

Published works: 

  • Published histories or other works, (i.e. articles, dissertations, manuscripts, pamphlets, photographic collections) relevant to Accomack and Northampton counties concerning culture, buildings, businesses, history, organizations, and residents (originals or copies/reproductions) 
  • Published works by persons born or living in Accomack or Northampton counties, past and present, regardless of subject matter 
  • Relevant family history research papers and publications 
  • Reference material such as bibliographies, directories and guides. This may include guides to holdings of relevant material in other manuscript or archival collections. 
  • Eastern Shore based publications which are not readily available such as newspapers, magazines, gazettes, newsletters, etc. 
  • Periodicals about the Eastern Shore 
  • Yearbooks from the public or private schools in Accomack and Northampton counties 
  • Research papers and theses pertaining to the Eastern Shore 
  • Studies undertaken by private or government bodies referring to, or having impact on the Eastern Shore 
  • Publications (newsletters, magazines, etc.) relating to genealogy and local history in general 

Unpublished works: 

  • Records of local businesses and associations, schools, churches, sporting bodies, welfare organizations etc. 
  • Papers of notable local families/individuals, genealogies and manuscripts. 
  • Archives of local organizations (archives must contain historically important information) 
  • Papers, correspondences, diaries of Eastern Shore residents (must contain historically/genealogically important information) 
  • Ephemera, including leaflets, flyers, pamphlets, original documents such as land deeds, certificates and military papers specifically concerning the Eastern Shore of Virginia 
  • Documents/research papers/photographs relating to buildings (private, commercial and public) and property 
  • Documents/ papers/photographs of researchers as they relate to Eastern Shore history or genealogy 
  • Documents/ personal papers/photographs of notable Eastern Shore of Virginia researchers or residents 
  • Catalogues, flyers, pamphlets and other promotional items issued by Eastern Shore of Virginia businesses, organizations, political persons, schools, town departments, etc. containing historically important information 


  • Photographic works of local historical interest including prints, postcard, slides and negatives of individuals, groups, buildings, landscapes, and events 
  • Plans including survey plans, land subdivision plans, architectural plans and aerial photographs 
  • Current and historic maps of Accomack and Northampton Counties 
  • Oral histories made about the Eastern Shore and its residents 
  • The collection contains some government records such as planning documents but not Board of Supervisors meeting minutes, Board of Education meeting minutes, or day-to-day business records. 


Since history is created daily, materials that enhance the mission of the Eastern Shore Room and meet the selection criteria will be accepted by the library. In order to establish the transfer of ownership, the Library requires that a Deed of Gift be completed by the donor/representative and the Director or designated staff member for anything other than published works. The deed of gift documents the donation of property (and copyright if applicable) to the Library, and is signed by the donor. It also includes a complete description of the donated item and information regarding past ownership of that item. The deed of gift also establishes conditions (if any) governing the transfer of the title from the donor to the Library. 

Once the deed of gift is signed by the donor, the donated item(s) become the unrestricted property of the Eastern Shore Public Library. Unless otherwise specified in the Deed of Gift, the Library reserves the right to decide how the donated material will be displayed or stored, how the item may be used by the public, and how long the item will be retained. Materials may be digitized, photographed, and/or quoted for use in publicity, social media, grants, displays, exhibits (physical or online), etc. and available for public use. The Library will only accept material with access-limiting restrictions when the restrictions are reasonable and necessary to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the donor. 

The Library reserves the right to refuse an offered donation. The Library will not accept material that can harm other material in the collection, such as anything that shows damage from mold, mildew, water, insects, smoke, or dirt. The Library may also decide not to accept items which it cannot properly store, display, or otherwise care for. 

Unsolicited materials left for the Eastern Shore Room will be evaluated by the lead service provider with the consent of the Library Director for inclusion in the collection. Those not included may go in the Library’s circulating collection or be donated to the Friend’s Book Sale. ESPL reserves the right to dispose appropriately of unsolicited materials that, after receipt, are deemed unsuitable to the collection. 

Staff, space, and budget limitations are considerations when adding new materials. Materials that fall beyond the scope of the collection, need repair costing more than their intellectual value, or require special shelving or storage because of a unique format will not be collected unless 

sufficient funds to accommodate them are included with the donation. All materials must be free of dirt, mold, moisture, and pests, and must be in good or repairable condition. 

From time to time collections may have materials outside the Collection Development Policy scope which are an integral part of the collection to be donated. In that situation, careful consideration will be made to provide for the integrity of the donor’s collection. 

By law, Eastern Shore Public Library cannot provide an appraisal or place a value on a proposed gift. The Library will provide to the donor a signed statement acknowledging receipt of the item(s) and any value placed on the item(s) must be determined by the donor. 

Donors must sign a Deed of Gift unless a loan agreement is in place. 


The privacy of donors and lenders will be respected. The following types of information are considered restricted and cannot be released to the general public without consent: names of donors, former owners, lenders, and anyone who wishes to remain anonymous; mailing addresses and telephone numbers of all donors, former owners or lenders; storage locations; object values, including purchase prices, appraisals, and insurance valuations. In certain instances, contact information may be provided, but only with the consent of the donor, former owner or lender. 


See Collection Management policy. Pending 


Historical records require long term stewardship. Library resources to preserve, organize and make materials accessible are limited, and we cannot adhere to a time specific processing of materials. Acceptance of a donation may be solely based on space availability, unless sufficient funds are included with donation to support the storage and processing of the donated collection. Preservation of library materials is an integral part of the development of the collection. Materials may be removed from the library and placed in offsite archival storage if the building conditions or public use threaten the condition of the item. 

The Eastern Shore Room is available to researchers and the general public during regular library hours. Certain restrictions are in place to protect the future viability of rare and/or fragile materials. Manuscript collections are kept in staff-only areas and are available by appointment only. Other materials are shelved in the Eastern Shore Room. Materials do not circulate although duplicate copies of some items can be found in the circulating collection. To measure use, patrons will be asked to sign a register when using the Eastern Shore Room. Photocopying is allowed except for specified collections. 

Due to staff limitations, only limited research assistance is available. For further information on access, please see the Eastern Shore Room Use Policy. Pending 


The Eastern Shore Public Library may enter into cooperative arrangements with other organizations in order to preserve historical materials and/or make them more widely available. 


Materials in the collections are to be used for private study, scholarship, or research in accord with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code). The Eastern Shore Public Library adheres to all conditions specified in the law when providing reproductions of copyrighted material. Any use of a reproduction in excess of “fair use,” may result in the user’s liability for copyright infringement. 


The Eastern Shore Public Library preserves the rights of citizens to obtain information on all sides of potentially controversial issues, as well as minority opinion and unpopular views, so that the individual can decide the value of opposing ideas. In representing various sides of a question, the Library and the Eastern Shore Room provide reliable sources of information on which to base intelligent decisions. In this context, the primary test for controversial items is their relevancy to the archival collection: if an item clearly fits existing collection development policies in terms of scope and subject matter, it will be added to the collection. 

The Library and the Eastern Shore Room affirm the principles outlined in the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights (Appendix). 


The material housed in the Eastern Shore Room is part of the heritage of the Eastern Shore of Virginia and as such, has permanent historic and cultural value. From time to time, the Eastern Shore Room collections will be reevaluated and the deaccession of some materials may take place. The Library will form a special review committee comprised of the Director, the lead service provider, and an outside local history consultant to evaluate material for conformity to retention criteria. Unless otherwise specified in the Deed of Gift, materials may be moved to the circulating collection, offered to another institution, sold, returned to the donor or discarded depending on the requirements specified in the donor’s Deed of Gift. 


The Library Director has the authority to make exceptions to this policy when benefiting the library and community. 


This policy will be reviewed by the Eastern Shore Public Library Board of Trustees every five (5) years, or sooner at the discretion of the Director. 

Approved by the Board of Trustees July 11, 2017 


Library Bill of Rights 

Deed of Gift 

Eastern Shore Room Use Policy (Pending) 

Eastern Shore Room Loan Agreement (Pending) 

Eastern Shore Room Collection Management Policy (Pending)