On Thursday in European History Since 1648 at UNLV, I turned students over to the more-than-capable hands of Priscilla Finley, the wonderfulHumanities Librarian at UNLV. We were the first class to use one of the newly-renovated classrooms in the Lied Library, which was set up with interactive screens and desks.
Finley had selected books for each table of students that represented different kinds of traditional primary and secondary sources, as well as source compendiums, by way of introducing them to the kind of material available for their assignments, which will ask them to utilize different kinds of sources.
She then guided students through the library catalogue and various electronic source databases, providing the class with a wealth of information about where they can find sources relating to a variety of time-periods and themes. As a newcomer to the university, I certainly benefited from her presentation.
Finally, Finley allowed students time to put their newly-acquired skills to work. Most of them stayed in the room and used the computer stations to find sources. A few ventured off into the stacks, and at least one returned with an impressive-looking pile of books. My hope is always that such exercises will inspire some of the excitement I felt when I got my first experiences of historical research as an undergraduate, an excitement that I continue to feel today.
And hopefully students will turn to Finley and her fellow librarians who do a wonderful job of maintaining, consolidating, expanding, and sometimes—in these difficult times—making difficult choices about what is most essential to keep when it comes to the library’s collections.