National Library Week celebrated at Mudd

Naveed Islam

Libraries across the United States are celebrating National Library Week April 12-18. The event, sponsored by the American Library Association, has been around for over 50 years, and the festivities have made their way to Lawrence’s Seeley G. Mudd Library.
“This year we decided to ‘do it up’ and have events throughout the week to raise awareness about the library,” said Director of the Seeley G. Mudd Library Peter Gilbert. “There are so many things that we have that the university pays for – books, journals, databases – both in print and electronic – that people don’t know about.”
The Mudd Library staff planned and organized the different events being held throughout the week. “Angela Vanden Elzen, who works at interlibrary loan, took the lead on this project,” said Gilbert. “She went out and did research on what other libraries were doing this year and brought her ideas to the staff meeting.”
Each day’s event has been planned keeping three goals in mind: (a) to highlight the different services offered at Seeley G. Mudd Library, (b) to facilitate more communication between library staff and the students, so that patrons seeking assistance will be more comfortable asking questions and (c) to have fun and enjoy all that the library has to offer.
Monday, the Stairway of Reading display was put up to allow students, faculty and staff to name their favorite books. “It allows our patrons to share what books they like to read, or a great book they may have read when they were kids,” said Vanden Elzen. “Many of these books are in our collections so it gets people thinking about re-reading their favorite books and maybe give someone else’s favorite novel a try.”
Baby pictures of staff members were put up Tuesday, April 14, which happened to be National Library Workers Day as well. The students who were able to match each staff member with the correct baby photo were given prizes. “It’s a fun way for the students to get to know us better,” said Vanden Elzen.
Students who visited the reference desk with a question Wednesday afternoon were given cookies. “I was there from 11 to one and got a whole bunch of questions,” recalled Gilbert. “The point,” said Vanden Elzen, “is to make people more familiar with the reference librarian and be more comfortable approaching them.”
Later that evening, an open poetry reading was held by Tropos, Lawrence’s student-published literature and arts magazine. Thursday, Gilbert gave a presentation on “College Libraries at the Turn of the Twentieth-Century.”
“People know about The Mudd,” said Gilbert, “but many don’t know that there used to be another library here on this site and that the library used to be in Main Hall on the second floor.”
Interlibrary loan honors the numerous schools and colleges who send books, articles and magazines requested by our patrons today, April 17. ILL has planned their own personal “thank you,” to the universities who provide additional resources for the students and faculty here at Lawrence University.
Finally, to close the week, Mudd Library will be holding a gaming tournament featuring various board games – such as Twister, Scrabble, Uno, Cribbage and more, and students are also allowed to bring their own game – and “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” on the Nintendo Wii. There will be a 30-minute warm-up before a small tournament is held at the circulation desk 1-4 p.m. Registration is still open and interested participants may sign on the clipboard outside of the ILL office or find the event page on Facebook.
The Library Week events seek to encourage the Lawrence community to use library facilities more often. “If more students know that they can come and ask a question at the reference desk it’s a bonus for us,” said Gilbert. “The Library is a tremendous resource with the staff here is just fabulous and the more that know about that the better.