Special Collections Tour Held at Morrow Library

Destiney Dingess, Reporter

With the lack of students using library materials for research, Marshall University history professors arrange an open house to introduce and welcome their new graduate students to the special collections section in the James E. Morrow Library Monday night.  

Dr. Bob Deal, director of graduate studies for the history department, Dr. Greta Rensenbrink, chair of the history department and several other history professors welcomed the seven newest graduate students to an open house in the James E. Morrow Library on Aug. 29th.  

“The idea was to get them to meet some of the faculty, returning graduate students and get a tour of the special collections department to see the resources available to them on campus,” said Deal. “To be a graduate student sometimes is a kind of lonely experience and I think it’s nice for the graduate students to interact with each other, get to know each other and build up a little bit of comradery.”  

 As the second oldest building at the university, the James E. Morrow Library is home to many different things such as the university archives, which has all things Marshall University, or the education materials of the university that includes things like presidents’ papers, board of governor’s minutes and faculty senate minutes.  

If students are interested in  the history of education or history of certain people in education or women in sports special collections has a different array of material for the university’s aspect. 

They also have tons of materials on local history. 

“Huntington does not have an active historical society, so we have kind of taken on that mantle,” said Lori Thompson, head of special collections.

The bulk of the special collection’s documents are related in some way to Huntington, but they also have materials from people in the community that went to World War I and World War II or travelled in general and write about their experience, Thompson said.

Although students have mostly turned to the internet for their research gathering, the special collections department has material that isn’t as easy to find online. The special collections staff have obtained The Herald-Dispatch materials from the 1970’s to the early 2000’s while everything around 2001 to 2002 everything went online said Thompson.

The special collections department has over 850 individual manuscript collections, herald dispatch which covers the print history and now the department has the news film history of Huntington with many digitized tapes of local

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Archivist & digital preservation librarian Jessica Lowman

said it’s important for more professors and departments to have open houses at the library because most students don’t know how to connect their education with the resources that they have.

“It’s a really great opportunity for us to get professors in here and tie in the curriculum and show them exactly what we have to offer. We want to share our collection with people; it’s a great collaboration to do that,” said Lowman.

Most people might believe Morrow Library is a place to get older local materials but it’s also a perfect study spot for students.

“We are a safe space to come hangout even if you’re not using our materials for research, we love to have all kinds of nerdy conversations at the desk and discuss anything about academic experience especially for students that are new to Marshall,” Thompson said.