This morning I had the pleasure of giving a library tour to 15 students who are participating in the Great American Writers’ Camp for grades 5-8. This is my second year working with Catherine Coelho (’10, MA ’12). Unfortunately, this year they did not have as much open time as they did last year so I was not able to do a hands-on activity with them. Catherine suggested a brief walking tour (15-20 minutes) of ZSR that would highlight some of the fun history of the library.
During the tour, I asked students questions about Wake Forest. When I asked the group when Wake Forest was founded, one young man replied “1834.” The other students were very impressed with his answer. As we walked through the building, I shared some interesting facts and statistics with our young visitors. For example, I mentioned the number of staff in the library in 1946. Students were amazed that only five staff and eight student assistants were employed. When asked how many students the library employs today, one young man said “a bunch.” When I mentioned that over 200 students are employed, several of our young visitors exclaimed “wow.”
I knew that time was limited so I set up three computers in Government Documents to demonstrate the wide variety of our electronic resources. The first computer showed the front cover of an electronic government document entitled Project Apollo the Tough Decisions. The second computer projected an image of two dinosaurs from a journal in our K-12 database from EBSCO. The third computer showed the search results for a search for Louisa M. Alcott in the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database.
The last stop on the tour was the Reference Department where I showed them a digitized copy of the first issue of the Old Gold and Black. When I asked the students if they had a student newspaper, a young girl commented that her school did.
The walking tour really impressed our young visitors. When we went down to level one on the Reynolds side, several students remarked that it was “scary.” They really enjoyed the view of the atrium from level six. During the tour, I tried to cram in as much history as I could about ZSR. I hope they left with some good stories and interesting ZSR facts to share with their friends.