The Nora Roberts American Romance Collection, established in 2011 and housed in Hoover Library at McDaniel College, is comprised of novels written by important romance writers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The mission of the collection is to provide a permanent place for these works, making them available to scholars by visiting the collection and through Interlibrary Loan, which even in the case of the most successful romance author often disappear from public collections as the constant acquisition of new titles requires removing older works from the shelves.
Generous gifts from the Nora Roberts Foundation established the collection and provided an endowment to fund the future acquisition of titles. Acquisition is ongoing, and new titles are added annually to the collection. Based on the current size and use of Hoover Library, one range of compact shelving will be dedicated to house the collection, and new titles will not be purchased once that space has reached capacity.
The collection contains the complete works of Nora Roberts / J. D. Robb, RITA Award winning titles of American Romance, and selected works of other American Romance authors recommended by expert and scholar Dr. Pamela Regis. As of October 2016, the previous practice of collecting every work published by authors in the collection will cease, with the exception of works by Nora Roberts/J. D. Robb.
Each year’s RITA Award winning titles are collected. From the Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) website, “the purpose of the RITA Award is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels… RWA’s RITA Award is the highest honor in romance publishing. RITA Award winners are determined by… fellow romance authors.” The RITA Award is presented in a variety of genres, which occasionally change from year to year. Below is a general (not complete) list of the genres collected which receive RITA Awards:
Not collected are RITA Award winning titles from the following categories:
Three works by authors who have received the annual RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award will also be collected. From the RWA website, this award is “presented to a living author in recognition of significant contributions to the romance genre. To qualify for the award, the recipient’s career in romantic fiction must span a minimum of 15 years. Recipients must in some way continue to promote the romance genre, teach romance in fiction, or publish romantic fiction. In 1994, a new requirement was added that recipients must maintain active RWA membership. Authors are nominated for the award by RWA members and selected by the [RWA] Board of Directors.” The criteria for selecting works by these authors include those titles which have received a RITA Award or other notable acclamations from the RWA or other recognized organizations, or those titles recommended by Dr. Pamela Regis or the Special Collections Librarian.
Other criteria for selecting additional authors and works to be represented in the collection include influence on the genre, longevity in print, quality of work, and reflection of diversity in the genre. These works will be recommended by Dr. Pamela Regis or the Special Collections Librarian.