Brackett Library

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It’s dead week, and for many students that means it’s “lock yourself away from the world to focus and study” week. Finals will begin in just a few days, and stress and anxiety often accompany the end of the semester. But this week students have the opportunity to participate in a few activities designed to relieve some of that stress and anxiety.

“Several libraries across the country have done stress reduction fairs, so it is mentioned at library conferences and sessions that we attend,” said Jean Waldrop, director of Brackett Library. “We had talked about it for awhile, but I was hesitant to do this because the library is very crowded this time of year and already tight on space. The librarians did some brainstorming and decided that we could create some new spaces by bringing in some extra tables from physical resources and finding places where activities would fit.”

A library is typically considered a silent safe haven of studying, but this week it has an additional function. The library launched their first Stress Reduction Week, complete with activities such as puzzles, Legos and adult coloring stations. Other events have been offered throughout the week, such as therapy dog sessions, yarn time, story time and a human library. Students from a children’s literature class in the College of Education came to the library to do story time sessions for anyone who wanted to join, and Wal-Mart donated yarn for crocheting sessions.

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“The human library allows students to ‘check out’ an older person to sit and talk to for a few minutes,” Waldrop said. “Retired faculty may discuss how finals used to be for them or maybe just an older community member offering to listen to a student and the activities that are going on in their lives right now.”

While the event was created with students in mind, Waldrop said faculty and staff are welcome to join in. The last two weeks of the semester can be stressful to everyone, and anyone can benefit from the joy and relief this event brings.

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“I hope the students realize that we all need to take time for a break or rest, find joy in the little moments, and try not to let things overwhelm you,” Waldrop said. “It reminds me that the creator of the universe took time to rest, and he is always with me — even during the last two weeks of the semester.”

-Hannah Owens, director of news services

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Harding Library in Godden Hall in the 1950s. Back then, there were only two rooms in the library.

Harding Library in Godden Hall in the 1950s. Back then, there were only two rooms in the library.

Few things are as equally hilarious, horrifying and heartwarming as looking through your family photos. My family can spend hours flipping through the old albums, remembering Christmases past, laughing at the fact that Dad still wears that 30-year-old jacket, and aghast at our old hairstyles. For the University, the digital archives serve as that gateway to the past.

Archives and special collections librarian Hannah Wood and her team of graduate students and student workers have made it their mission to preserve pieces of the University’s history and make them available to the Harding community. With 13,000 photos on Flickr dating back to our days in Morrilton to the first Petit Jean and Bison newspaper, the digital archives have a lot to say.

Brackett Library has taken to sharing pieces of the archives on Facebook, and it garnered much interaction with the photos as people reminisce about being there when the photo was taken or recognize family members.

“A lot of stories have come out beyond what you just see in the photos,” Wood says. “It’s been really interesting. One of my favorite things has been getting that positive response.”

While the archiving process can be daunting with so many items to be cataloged, Wood enjoys the work and being able to see Harding history up close. She also loves seeing it come to life for her student workers.

“It’s so great just to see them get connected with this history because I feel like our students really don’t have that connection — that they really don’t know Harding history,” she says. “I can hear them gasp outside my office when they find something interesting. To see them connect and get so excited about a letter that they’re reading is really great.”

Wood has those moments of excitement as well while going through the archives. One of her most exciting finds came when Dr. Bruce McLarty requested the inauguration addresses of Harding’s past presidents. While Dr. David Burks’ was easy to find, no one could find a copy of Dr. Clifton Ganus’.
“They had emptied out Dr. Ganus’ outer office where Edwina Pace sat for years, and so we had gotten about 100 boxes of files from his office,” Wood remembers. “I was sure Dr. Ganus had something in all of that. So I spent several hours digging through that, and he had a couple of boxes that he had just labeled ‘Memorabilia,’ and it was done by year. He had one from his inauguration that had this cassette tape in there. So I sat down and transcribed his inaugural speech. It was so cool to hear the speakers from that day.”

A second-generation Harding alumna, Wood gets to apply her love of history to the institution she’s grown up with.

“For me, Harding has been in my life for as long as I can remember. I have this desire to not only know the history but to also be able to share it and put it out for people and preserve it in the process,” she says. “For me, it’s the love for what Harding is as an institution and where we’ve come from. You need to know where your roots are.”

To see the digital archives for yourself, visit http://brackettarchives.omeka.net.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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One of my jobs is shooting the READ posters for Brackett Library. We just shot this summer photo of Lisa Burley and her book The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. You can find this title and other faculty favorites on the library’s web page here.

On a similar note, I just finished reading the Tom Clancy novel Locked On. Why is this important you ask? Well, it was my first novel on an electronic device. I am not an avid reader so the fact that I have completed two 900-page Clancy novels in six months is remarkable. During Christmas break, I read Dead or Alive which I really enjoyed so when I found Locked On and it was cheaper to purchase on the Kindle, I decided to try an electronic novel. I wanted to read the book enough that I knew I would read it on the Kindle app on my iPhone or iPad even if I found out I hated reading on an electronic device. It turns out I loved reading with the Kindle app. I would estimate that I read about 80 percent of the book on my iPhone. I always have the phone with me, and I don’t always have the iPad.

This fall my students will have a choice of buying their photography textbook, The Life Guide to Digital Photography by Joe McNally, as a real hard copy book or as an iPad app.

However you read and whatever you read, I hope you enjoy the summer.

Jeff Montgomery/photographer

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