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HSU Library expands special collections

Humboldt State students now have access to more research materials than ever before. On Feb. 27, the HSU library hosted the grand opening of the new special collections section, previously contained to a tiny room on the third floor.

“It’s one of the biggest archives north of Sonoma,” HSU librarian Carly Marino said.

The special collections section is home to archived materials about many local topics of interest, including natural resources, native peoples, the fishing and logging industries, history of local buildings and the history of HSU.

“This is the spot where students and members of the community do research,” Marino said. “We’ve had people fly in from Germany to learn about the redwoods.”

With HSU currently in a budget crisis, this expansion of the special collections section was made possible primarily by grants and private donations from the Van Kirk family and retired librarian Joan Berman.

One of the ways the HSU library is working to make the resources more accessible is by digitizing many of the materials.

“When I came in here for the first time, it was very archaic,” Jorge Ambriz, HSU Early Outreach Department staff and former library scholar intern said.

Ambriz works with a team of people to do the painstaking task of digitizing some of the books and materials in special collections. It has taken them up to four months to digitize one book. But Ambriz finds the work and access to the material valuable, especially for history students.

“As students, we sit for months and months learning methods and theories,” Ambriz said. “This place lets you put those methodologies into practice.”

HSU Library scholar intern Alex Childers has also been working hard on digitizing materials and making them more accessible. Childers and other interns are working on a project adding historical articles, photos and letters to Redwood National Park’s Researching the Redwoods.

“It’s going to raise awareness for not only students, but also the community,” Childers said. “This is a really great place to start for research about anything. People use it for independent research, projects or for fun. ”

Special collections is on the third floor of the HSU library.

Hours are Monday 1-7 p.m. and Tuesday-Friday 1-4 p.m. or contact Carly Marino for an appointment.

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