Reading up on The Boss: The Springsteen Special Collection

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It shouldn't be a big surprise to you guys—or anyone stuck driving with me—that I'm a Bruce Springsteen fan (exhibits A, B and C, and stay tuned for my special Boss Birthday Blowout next month). So imagine my excitement when I discovered that the Asbury Park Public Library houses the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection, possibly the world's largest special collection devoted to the Boss and his bands. (Also imagine my embarrassment at discovering this only in the last year. Superfan fail.)

The collection got its start when the Springsteen fanzine Backstreets donated some Bruce literature to the library and expanded as the collection's organizers posted "want lists" on the Backstreets website and received donated items from fans. Today, the collection—which got its official dedication in December 2001—exists as a joint project between the library, the Friends of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection and Springsteen fans everywhere.

What's in the Collection?

boss-stoneThe collection includes 10,000 books, magazines, fanzines, web articles, newspaper articles, academic journals and papers, comic books, song books, tourbooks and more, with items from 42 different countries dating as far back as 1964.

If you want to access the collection—open to researchers, scholars and the general public—its holdings are housed in two locations, one managed by the Asbury Park Public Library and the other by the Friends of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection. Depending on the holding you want to access, you'll need to make an appointment either with Library or the Friends' Executive Director, Bob Crane (sorry, no browsing the collection).

If you've got some Springsteen-related literature you want to donate (for example, a printout of the giant Springsteen article that we'll be running later in the month, wink wink) you should check the current holdings list and if your item isn't something they already have, get in touch with Bob Crane, who will guide you through the donation process.

If you want to become a Friend of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection and help support the preservation, management and growth of the collection, you can sign up here. There are two levels of membership: three-year Charter memberships ($50.00) and annual memberships ($20.00). Both will get you a Special Collection bumper sticker, a Special Collection membership card and the Friends' twice-a-year newsletter.

Anyone know of any other library or university special collections that are particularly cool? I've lost many hours browsing Cornell University's "The Fantastic in Art and Fiction," a collection of images of ghosts, monsters, mythological beasts and other things supernatural.

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September 4, 2009 - 8:10am
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