UNT Libraries to celebrate shared space for Archives, Rare Books
What: Open house and reception for the renovated Archives and Rare Books room in the University of North Texas' Willis Library
When: 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 13 (Thursday)
Where: Room 437 of the Willis Library, located one block east of Highland Street and Avenue C (1506 W. Highland St.)
Contact: Caroline Booth, director of communications and marketing for the UNT Libraries, at 940-369-7573.
DENTON (UNT), Texas -- After a summer of renovation on the fourth floor of the University of North Texas' Willis Library, the university's Archives and Rare Books collection are now in one space that will also house the Sarah T. Hughes Reading Room. The space, Room 437, previously only housed the Rare Books collection and will be open on Saturdays for the first time this fall semester.
The Friends of the UNT Libraries, an organization that financially supports the purchase of special collections for the libraries, will sponsor a reception in the renovated space from 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 13 (Thursday). During the reception, the Archives and Rare Books staff will offer tours of the space's vault and processing area. The Sarah T. Hughes Reading Room, which was dedicated in September 1996 and was previously in the old Archives space, will be rededicated during the reception. The furniture and Hughes' portrait have been placed in the renovated space.
Morgan Davis, head of Archives and Rare Books, said the vault in Room 437 is able to house the holdings of both areas because the UNT Libraries recently acquired a 30,000-square-foot warehouse on Interstate 35 north of Fouts Field to hold some materials currently in the vault and in space at Discovery Park. The warehouse will be known as the Research Collections Library and will not be open to the public; however, materials from the warehouse may be delivered to Archives and Rare Books upon request.
The old Audio Center for the Music Library, Room 445, is now the processing room for Archives and Rare Books, while the old Archives space, Room 430, will be taken over by the Music Library.
The renovation of the fourth floor follows a reorganization that placed staff members of the Rare Books collection and the Archives into the same department in the Special Libraries Division.
Davis said special collections are a focus of all research libraries.
"We were able to grow our staff by consolidating overlapping responsibilities, transferring staff and hiring additional staff," she said.
The department has 10 full-time staff members, which has resulted in extended office hours to offer extended hours to better serve faculty, students and other researchers, Davis said. Archives and Rare Books will be open on Saturdays beginning Sept. 8 from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. It will continue its regular hours from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, but will also be open until 8:45 p.m. Thursday.
Gloria Contreras, who retired this past May as a professor of teacher education and administration, has been visiting the Archives for several months, scanning Yucca and Aerie yearbooks to write the history of Latino/a student organizations at UNT, which date to the 1970s. She has also identified alumni who were the organizations' officers to interview for inclusion in the UNT Libraries' Latino/a Archives Initiative, which is one of three strategic focuses of the libraries' special collections.
"Student leaders were always an inspiration to me, and these particular Latinos describe how UNT and student organizations greatly impacted their college experiences as well as post-college careers. All of the organizations they founded carried a strong community service component," Contreras said.
Archives and Rare Books will continue to have exhibits in Room 437, featuring items from both areas. An exhibit focusing on past Latino/a student organizations at UNT, with T-shirts, photos, yearbooks and other items donated by alumni, will be display beginning Sept. 5 (Wednesday) and will continue through the fall semester.