The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Reception marks opening of new Special Collections room

Kathlyn Hotynski

After months of construction, the Special Collections section of McIntyre Library now has a new home.

At a Friday afternoon reception in the section’s new, fifth-floor location, university officials unveiled the newly renovated and relocated facility. The Special Collections section was recently moved from its previous location in the Old Library.

“The old library facility was geographically separate from other sections,” said Chris Cox, interim director of McIntyre Library. “It’s a much larger space, and I think it’s a more aesthetically-pleasing space. We’re hoping it will get more use.”

Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich was there to welcome the addition.

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“This is a wonderful resource for not only our staff, but for the community to come and use,” Levin-Stankevich said. “It’s an important outreach.”

Levin-Stankevich added that he remembered seeing the room in construction last June.

“It turned out wonderful,” he said. “I hope more people use it frequently.”

The Special Collections section consists of University Archives, Area Research Center, Rare Book Collection and Local History Collection.

“It contains both institutional memory and community memory, so we like to share that with everybody,” said Colleen McFarland, head of Special Collections and university archivist.

The archives section contains historical records of UW-Eau Claire which date back to 1917, when it was a teacher’s college, McFarland said.

The Area Research section contains manuscript collections such as diaries, letters from local people, businesses and public records, including court records and tax information, McFarland said, adding that it shelves a vast collection of 19th and 20th century American and British literature.

A lesser-known fact about the Special Collections section is that it contains one of the largest anthologies of university photographs, archives assistant Rita Sorkness said.

Although UW-Eau Claire stopped producing yearbooks in the mid-80s, they have a copy of each yearbook since 1917, she said. The Special Collections also contains bound editions of The Spectator, dating back to the first printed copy in 1923.

“We’ve got a larger patron area, larger area for collections and a beautiful view overlooking Putnam Park,” Sorkness said of the new room. “We’ve had lots of people stopping in to see what’s up in here.”

Kate Lang, chair of the history department, also spoke at the reception.

“The history department has had a long, productive relationship with the library here,” Lang said, adding that every senior majoring in history is required to write an original thesis detailing events in history and that many of them couldn’t do so without utilizing the services provided by the Special Collections section.

“From what I remember, it used to be in a dingy office-sized area,” sophomore Joseph Pruis said. “It’s definitely an improvement. Something our campus can be proud of.”

Pruis and senior Sally Gelhaus said they regularly study on the fifth floor of McIntyre library and had observed the construction since it began.

“I know how hard they worked,” Gelhaus said. “I remember them tearing up the carpet and walls last year.”

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Reception marks opening of new Special Collections room