A Place for Resources, a Resource About Place - Humboldt State Now

A Place for Resources, a Resource About Place

The HSU Library will celebrate its new Special Collections research space on March 1. The grand opening, featuring distinguished guests and speakers, marks an opportunity for current and future research related to Humboldt County.

“Our transformation of Special Collections highlights the past and makes it relevant to the present,” says Cyril Oberlander, dean of the Library. “We enable project-based learning in classrooms and paid internships to transform personal collections into digital stories with context and connections, and provide learners the opportunity to showcase their research.”

Special Collections offers students, community members, and other researchers access to rare and valuable resources that chronicle the unique history of Northwestern California. Librarians provide interactive instruction sessions in the Humboldt Room each semester. These sessions offer students the opportunity to learn by engaging with primary source materials.

The opening of this new space, which is nearly three times the size of the former home of Special Collections, will provide greater access to the materials that have become an integral part of the curriculum in courses from disciplines across campus.

The new collections space was made possible by a gift from retired HSU Librarian Joan Berman, who spent 17 years working in the Special Collections. Read more about that here.

Since 1976, archival collections were available to the public in the Humboldt Room. Prior to the opening of the Humboldt Room, local history items were kept in library offices and in storage. The expansion of the Library in 1976 marked the first time in which these materials had a centralized location.
Carly Marino, Special Collections librarian, says that the new space will not only benefit the faculty and students that experience the Humboldt Room each semester, but will also increase the opportunities for engaged learning experiences for Library Scholar Interns.

“Special Collections is a place for students and the community to research, inquire and seek to understand Humboldt history,” says Marino. “This new space will be a research laboratory, where students can digitize archival material, and learn creative ways to share their research with the world. Whether it is designing a digital exhibit or working on a Humboldt County mapping project, Special Collections is striving to provide the resources to help students be successful in their academic and professional careers.”

The materials in Special Collections emphasize the natural resources, Native peoples, and primary industries of Northwestern California, in addition to the history of Humboldt State University. The archive houses maps, photographs, pamphlets, newspapers, collections, and books, as well as other materials that chronicle the people, places, and history of the region. Special Collections is more than just a place for resources. It is a resource all about place.

“The research opportunities in this new space are incredible,” says Garrett Purchio, Special Collections & Archives Project librarian. “Current and future HSU students will have a unique educational experience that they won’t find anywhere else.”

The public is invited to the grand opening of the new Special Collections on Thursday, March 1 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the third floor of the HSU Library. Refreshments will be served.