Special Collection as Collaboration

The Dr. Muhammad Rizvi Mowjood Memorial Collection at Fawcett Library features books, videos, and recordings centered on Islamic faith, history, and culture. This special collection is supported by an endowment that was started in 1992 by Dr. Mowjood’s family. Working with this special collection affords my library many opportunities for collaboration in, out, and around my school.

First and foremost, I have the pleasure of collaborating with the Mowjood family. We meet to plan how to spend funds from the endowment and how to best honor the mission of the special collection. While the initial focus of the fund was to collect books, in recent years we have expanded. We now bring special speakers to campus and search for areas of overlap with the school’s curricula.

This affords us the opportunity to collaborate with the school’s Humanities program, which consists of intermingled English and History departments. Humanities has recently opened up a wide variety of Honors and Advanced Studies electives, and we are finding that there are many avenues for the Mowjood Collection to fulfill its promise.

Courses like Honors Global Literature, Honors Stories of Middle Eastern Conflict, and Advanced Studies: Faith Narratives of Holy Cities are perfect venues for the many volumes in the special collection. We are making resource lists, displays, and reserves especially for these courses. This is a promising development. In the past, the curriculum didn’t resonate as obviously or readily. Now that we have these pertinent courses up and running, we have been able to make significant connections between the collection and the curricula.

Also, we are planning for special guest speakers to visit the campus. For the Honors Global Literature course, we are arranging for a Rumi scholar to come and work with the students. In the past, we hosted Dr. Edina Lekovic, an adjunct professor at Bayan Claremont. We have also made a long-term loan to Bayan Claremont to extend the reach of the collection.

Collaboration represents a key focus for me in my library. I like that we host the Mowjood Collection and that this collection catalyzes collaborations at my school. What do you do to encourage collaboration at your library? Do you have any special collections that work in this way? Leave your ideas in the comments below.


Author: Mark Dzula

Categories: Blog Topics, Collection Development, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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