Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with three Fourth grade classes at Moore Elementary School for Career Day. Joining a group of professionals including a police man, an EMT, a chemist, a World Relief High Point employee, Mooney (of Mooney’s Mediterranean Cafe), and many other talented people, I represented librarians and archivists to the best of my ability. This was a wonderful chance to share with young students what we do here at ZSR Library, and specifically what we do in Special Collections & Archives. Many of the students have been to Wake Forest sporting events, have a parent that works for Wake Forest, or have another connection to the University making them even more excited to learn more about the history of Wake Forest University. One of the classes had just won the Skip Prosser Literacy Program for their school and proudly showed me all of the Wake Forest gear that they had been awarded.
I focused my talk on the Wake Forest University Archives and the role of archives and archivists in the library. I brought along some photo reproductions of early 20th Century team photographs that the students enjoyed. I also passed around the 1945 Howler yearbook for the students to browse through. In addition to those materials, I showed them some”obsolete media” including a cassette tape, a magnetic audio reel, and an eight-track. These materials, along with a reel of microfilm, brought on a lot of questions and made me feel very old.
I did follow up the various archival materials with two tiny books, and the crowd went wild. Kids love tiny things, and tiny rare books are no exception. Special Collections & Archives has a variety of miniature books, but the two I brought were names they recognized. Washington, his Farewell address and Addresses of Abraham Lincoln may be miniature in size, but are not lacking in garnering enthusiasm and curiosity from fourth graders.
The students had so many good questions, it was hard to keep up (God Bless elementary school teachers). They asked when Wake Forest integrated, when women were admitted, how old is our oldest book, and why we have tiny books, to name a few. They were curious, enthusiastic, and downright adorable. I enjoyed my visit and hope to be invited back again in the future. I left the students with Special Collections & Archives coloring books and an open invitation to visit ZSR whenever they can.