One of the goals of the Festival is to make Keene State College a recognized center for the study of children's and adolescent literature. This necessitates a large collection of books, illustrations, and manuscripts.
The Festival Collection, housed on the main floor of the Mason Library, is a non-circulating collection of autographed books. Each time an author/illustrator comes to Keene State College, one copy of each book the Festival has on sale will be donated to the collection. This ensures that there are always quality books available for students working on various assignments.
Festival Gallery. Keene State College students, as well as faculty and staff, have the Festival Gallery and Manuscript Collection as campus resources for studying the creative process. Started in 1990, the Gallery contains more than 200 working drawings, finished illustrations, and the 104 Festival owls; over 180 illustrators are represented. Many have been purchased with funds from the Festival; others have been donated by the illustrators after their visits to Keene State.
Upon hearing of the proposed gallery, Barbara Cooney donated a piece from The Little Juggler to get the collection started. Original works hang in the first floor of Rhodes Hall and may be viewed during the day seven days a week and evenings until midnight Sunday through Thursday.
Manuscript Collection. When author Patricia McKissack learned of the Gallery, she encouraged White to start a manuscript collection so that students could study the writing process. Although not yet as extensive as the Gallery, the Manuscript Collection is growing, with donations from 20 authors including McKissack and her husband and co-author, Fredrick McKissack, Susan Cooper, Robert McClung, Eve Bunting and others. Bunting's donation is the original manuscript for Peepers, inspired by her visit to the Festival.
Bookplates. Another tradition, for those who know the special feeling of owning a book signed by its author or illustrator, is the Festival's collection of bookplates. While actual book signings were a part of early Festivals, they were eliminated as the event grew, because longer and longer lines were keeping the speakers from presenting. Festival-goers now receive a special, autographed Festival bookplate, designed by Trina Schart Hyman, on each book they purchase.
Illustrator Arnold Lobel sketched a special Festival logo, featuring his famous Frog and Toad characters. When the Festival started making non-autographed donations of materials pertaining to the study of children's literature to Keene State's Mason Library, illustrator James Marshall designed a bookplate for those works. Award-winning illustrator Charles Mikolaycak's drawing of an owl, Keene State College's mascot, was used on various Festival Award promotions.