SCALA’s 2017 Kansas spring semester library tour took six students to Lawrence, KS on April 14th to explore three library settings.
Our first location was the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at The University of Kansas. The collections at the Spencer Research Library include ancient and medieval manuscripts; one of the largest collections of Irish literature outside Dublin; special collections in the history of science and education; the Kansas Collection; the Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements; and the University Archives. We were given the opportunity to learn about the archiving and cataloging protocols for a variety of materials, and the special type of reference services utilized when working with such a large collection of fragile and rare manuscripts.
Our second stop was the Lawrence Public Library. The Lawrence Public Library exemplifies what a technological library geared toward its patrons looks like. Half adult and half children’s services, there are several areas dedicated to certain groups (such as a Teen Zone, a Kid’s Space, and several quiet Study Rooms) utilizing the space in an efficient manner suiting their community needs. Additionally, we explored their back room to learn about their automated book sorting system and got to take a peek at their full recording studio area in the lower floors of the library.
The final location was the Northeast Kansas Library System. The Kansas Regional Library Systems were established in 1965 to help local libraries provide services to all citizens throughout the state through joint planning, financing, and other services. The Northeast Kansas Library System office acts as a liaison between the numerous libraries in their jurisdiction and technology support, in addition to providing new director training, legal services, general consulting, and maintaining the Inter-library Loan network. We were able to learn about the administrative aspects of librarianship through a Q&A panel with the staff members and departmental directors at NEKLS, providing us with a better understanding of this often overlooked area of the information professions.