LSU Libraries Special Collections to host open house - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

LSU Libraries Special Collections to host open house

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KALB News Channel 5) – Open house event to take place on October 1 at LSU Hill Memorial Library.

On October 1, LSU Libraries Special Collections will host an open house event from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Located in Hill Memorial Library, this event is an opportunity to meet the staff, view some fantastic and interesting items from the collections and hear about the types of things that go on in this multi-faceted library. For example, the library has a photograph of Varina Davis, a daguerreotype from the late 1840s or early 1850s, just a few years after the invention of photography.

Hill Memorial Library is home to more than 5,000 manuscript collections, including political papers of such notable Louisianans as Huey and Russell Long and John Breaux. It also is home to rare documents that help illustrate the very beginnings of Louisiana statehood, such as the Claiborne Letter Book. The library is also a place to learn about books, from "incunabula" – books printed before the year 1501, in the era of Gutenberg and the invention of moveable type –   to comic books, modern artists' books and works of science fiction and fantasy. There are many surprises, including one of largest and most comprehensive collections on the game of poker held anywhere.

The event will feature demonstrations of some of the work conducted at Hill Memorial Library, including minor conservation work such as making enclosures; processing and cataloging; digitizing and microfilming; as well as information and the demonstration of projects and areas that fall under Special Collections, including the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History; the Civil War Book Review; and two important grant projects, one relating to digitizing newspapers, along with a collaborative National Endowment for the Humanities grant to digitize materials relating to Louisiana's Free People of Color.

As part of the open house, Special Collections will also be showcasing some of its favorite items from the collections, allowing visitors to see rare and unique items and to talk with curators and other staff about our holdings and how the materials at Hill can help further research and scholarship at every level. 

"We want to share some of the ‘special collections superlatives' such as our oldest, smallest, largest and most intriguing items," said Jessica Lacher-Feldman, newly appointed head of LSU Libraries Special Collections. "This is just a small sampling of what is available to all at Hill, but it is a fun way to show off some select interesting rare and unique materials."

 "This library is here for everyone, and we welcome everyone to come and take advantage of the infinite resources available in Hill," Lacher-Feldman said.

According to Lacher-Feldman, Special Collections' administration said they thought that this open house would be a good way to share some interesting things about the collections and the work that we do in a new way.

"I see this as a unique opportunity to engage users and potential users in a casual way," Lacher-Feldman said. "I feel it's important to know that you don't always need a reason or need to see something specific to visit special collections. Come in, look around and talk to us. I am looking forward to meeting new people from across campus during the open house, and hope it will spark further interest in using the collections for research, projects, and in creative and new ways."

In addition to the collections, projects, and processes, there will be two exhibits on display in Hill's gallery areas. On the first floor, "Centuries of Style: A RETROspective of Dress," is a two-part exhibit that features the photography of LSU alum Jane McCowan. The second floor features images from throughout our collections that reflect sartorial choices and fashions from throughout the world, from ancient times to the 20th century. The second exhibit, which opens on September 23, is titled, "Saturday Night in Tiger Stadium," and commemorates the 25th anniversary of the 1988 LSU-Auburn football game, now widely known as the "Earthquake Game." The original seismogram from that day will be on display in the exhibit. It can also be viewed in the LOUISiana Digital Library at

The Open House is also being held in conjunction with the celebration of American Archives Month, a national celebration of the power and significance of archives. More information can be found about the open house by contacting Lacher-Feldman at or by calling (225) 578-6544.

Hill Memorial Library is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, except on Saturdays when the LSU Football team is playing at home. When classes are in session, the library is open Tuesday evenings until 8 p.m. During the week, paid parking is available at the Visitors' Center, Memorial Tower and Mike the Tiger's Habitat. More information can be found at the LSU Libraries Special Collections website at or by calling (225) 578-6544.

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