Contents of major equine library donated to university in California

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The California Thoroughbred Foundation is giving the contents of the prestigious library to the California State Polytechnic University at Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona).
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One of the most extensive collections of equine literature, held in the Carleton F. Burke Library in California, is being donated to a nearby tertiary institution.

The California Thoroughbred Foundation is giving the contents of the prestigious library to the California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, usually referred to as Cal Poly Pomona.

California Thoroughbred Foundation president Ada Gates Patton said the Carleton F. Burke Library housed a rare and specialized collection that would be a great match with an academic library.

“Officials from Cal Poly Pomona approached us about acquiring the library, with proposed expert management of books and increased public access.

“The foundation does not have resources like those at Cal Poly,” she said.

In addition, with more and more material available on the internet, in-person use of the library decreased in recent years, followed by a two-year closure because of the pandemic.

“So, after studying the proposal carefully, our board voted for the donation. This will benefit anyone interested in publications about horses, whether for serious study or just pleasure reading.”

The university intends to digitize research books, exposing the Burke Library to a far wider audience than the foundation could offer.

“We have been privileged to own this unique collection and open it to the public, and we look forward to its professional preservation and even wider availability at Cal Poly Pomona,” Gates Patton said.

The Burke Library has been housed in the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association building in Arcadia, across the street from Santa Anita Park. One positive factor influencing the decision was that the collection will remain nearby, as Pomona is just 20 miles from Arcadia.

“The Burke Library has long been an important resource for many in the horse world,” said Breeders Association president Doug Burge. He said the association has been proud to have the library on its premises, “but we understand that its care and accessibility will be greatly enhanced at Cal Poly Pomona”.

Carleton F. Burke was the first chairman of the California Horse Racing Board, director of racing at Santa Anita, and a secretary-treasurer of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association. He died in 1962, and the following year the library was named for him in recognition of his contributions to racing.

The university is already home to a world-beating collection of horse books, including the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library.

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