More than just books: Library feature

October 10, 2017


Photo by: Jeffery Miller

Helen Thomas, assitant archivist, stands next to World War I exhibit in Ellender Memorial Library.

The Ellender Memorial Library is open to university students, staff and the general public. A library is a place where thousands of books are stored, but what some people do not realize is that a library is more than just a plethora of books.

It offers many services to the students of Nicholls and each service has a specific floor in the library.

The first floor consists of a computer lab, the Math Enrichment Workplace lab (MEW) and archives. In order to use the computer lab, students must present their colonel card to the front desk. Students usually use the MEW lab for their math classes.

The archives department holds university and regional records. The archives department workers are in charge of making sure these records are preserved properly so that students and staff may view them. Helen Thomas, assistant archivist, said the documents are usually given to the department through loans or donations from local families.

In archives, students have access to old journals, magazines and newspapers. Students are encouraged to make an appointment with details about what they would like to view, so that a staff member may be present in the building and have the materials ready for viewing. An appointment is not necessary.

Students can use the archives department from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Archives department also hosts two exhibits each year. Each exhibit is on display for one semester. The fall exhibit is always related to veterans while the spring exhibits vary each year.
Students can currently see a World War I exhibit on the first floor. The World War I exhibit will be on display until Jan. 2018. The Regional Military Museum in Houma loaned a World War I German trench mortar to archives for the exhibit. Students, staff and the general public can view local soldiers’ letters, uniforms and posters, as well as music associated with that era.

The second floor contains the circulation desk and study rooms. At the circulation desk, there are bone models that are available for students to study. The bone models must be returned before the student leaves the library. Students can also schedule a one-hour session with a reference librarian to help with finding reliable sources for papers and projects.

The Ellender Memorial Library can also perform an Inter-Library loan (ILL). An ILL is used when Ellender Memorial Library does not have a book that a student needs. Library staff can contact other universities or public libraries throughout the United States until a copy of the book is found. Other libraries will then loan their copy to the Nicholls library.

A librarian staff member said that students should be aware and make these requests several weeks before their project is due because it can take several days for the book to arrive. The second floor is where most students will find educational books and magazines for leisure reading. There is also a copy machine for students to use. Another service that is relatively unknown to the student body is a microfilm machine.

Microfilm is a miniature snapshot of old magazines and newspapers. The microfilm reels can be found in archives and are brought up to the second floor for student use. Some microfilms contain The Daily Comet and Times Picayune on them that date back to the 1800s. On the third floor, students can find government documents, a Xerox machine and historical magazines.

One of the newest additions to the third floor is the 3D printer. Van Viator, head of access services, said the 3D printer was given to the library through a grant from the Department Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. The use of the 3D printer is only allowed for school related projects and with staff member Hayley Johnson’s assistance.

Also on the third floor, there is a multi-purpose room that is used for guest speakers. The multi-purpose room recently gained a smart podium with an interactive display, a Blu-ray player, new sound system and a Hi-Def projector.

Students can view an international music collection on the third floor. There are a total of 30 instruments available to students. Students that wish to view these instruments may contact curator Anke Tonn.

On Oct. 23 in the Cotillion Ballroom, archives along with Veterans Affairs on campus will hold an unfolding of the 1918 parade flag of the Houma Elks Lodge. On Nov. 9 in Le Bijou Theater, a panel discussion will be held to discuss the impacts of World War I. The panel will consist of local veterans and historians.

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