Although there is no traditional research library at William Jewell College, there are a wide variety of resources available to students through the Charles F. Curry Library. The stacks on the bottom level of Curry Hall house almost all of the 126,182 physical books in Jewell’s collection, but this is only 15% of Jewell’s library. The other 85% are e-books that are available through the library catalog and can be read on the iPad with the Bluefire Reader App. In addition, the library provides 61 databases with 82,000 journals. Furthermore, the library staff makes itself available to aid students in the research process.
Both Dr. Stephanie DeClue, Library Director, and Rebecca Hamlett, Instruction and Archive Librarian, advise students to use Summon on the Curry homepage to get begin the research process.
“If you are just beginning and have to start somewhere, I tell students to just go to the library homepage, and go to our Summon tab and type something in,” said DeClue. “You can go from there and refine it, but that’s the easiest way to get everything we have all in one big pot, all of our databases, all of our books, all of our e-books, everything that we have in one search.”
Summon is also available through the Ellucian Go app. After completing a preliminary search, students can use a variety of filters to organize the results of a search.
“Our best resources are our article databases. These include a number of different types of articles but primarily students are going to want to look for scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles,” said Hamlett. “Go to the library homepage. All of our materials are accessible on the iPad and so I would suggest putting a shortcut on the iPad home screen directly to the website.”
In addition, for students who struggle with research or do not know where to begin, Hamlett is available for individual research sessions by appointment.
“Come see me,” Hamlett said. “It’s important to me that students don’t forget that we are here as a resource for them. In navigating the databases, in navigating the library resources, in determining credibility of resources, in determining what types of resources are most relevant and appropriate for students and their research, I can help people with that and that is my primary function here at Jewell. I always recommend that people contact me by email, and set up a one-on-one appointment with me. I am also available to visit faculty classes to give instruction on library resources, and that truly is one of my favorite parts of my job.”
Many Jewell students are already taking advantage of the assistance offered by Hamlett. So far, this semester, Hamlett has visited both a Spanish and Economics capstones to aid with research projects and is co-teaching two sections of Healthcare Research: Theory and Practice.
“Some of the students I see most frequently are nursing students who are doing their literature reviews or their quality improvement projects,” said Hamlett. “In addition, every semester for the second seven weeks I offer an information resource methods course. It is for seven weeks and worth one credit hour. I would typically recommend this course for sophomores in their spring semester and juniors in their fall semester but anyone can take it. It is a seven week course that goes into library resources, other scholarly resources, citation styles, copyright [and] those types of things very much in depth.”
Across the Quad from the PLC, in the basement of Curry Hall, are the William Jewell College Archives and the stacks. The stacks hold all of Jewell’s physical books that are available for checkout, organized by topic . Down the hall are the archives. The archives host two different collections; the first collection hosts documents from the Baptist Historical Society. These documents included Baptist publications, pastors’ papers, files on churches in the area with records of archive materials that mention them, association minutes, annuals, church histories, biographical information, old books and sermons. The second collection is the archive of William Jewell College. This collection includes biographies of former and current students, faculty and trustees as well as yearbooks and campus newspapers. The collection also includes historical records of student and Greek organizations as well as a library of antique books and photos. Leilani Seaborn, senior, is a student worker in the archives.
“We get requests from non-students all the time because we house the Baptist documents,” Seaborn said. “We also get research requests from people who have a parent or relative who went to Jewell. Anyone can email Rebecca requesting information and she will pass it on the student workers and we do the research.”
Seaborn has been working with Rebecca Hamlett and the other student workers to reorganize and inventory the archives so they can better understand the extent of Jewell’s collections. The team is also in the process of digitizing the archives in order to preserve the texts and make the collections available to researchers electronically.
“I would love to have more people know we’re down here,” said Seaborn. Although all the materials must remain in the archives, students and visitors can schedule an appointment to work in the archives by contacting Rebecca Hamlett. During the research process, students are encouraged to photograph the documents with their iPads.
One such teacher is Dr. Christopher Wilkins, Associate Professor of History.
“I think archival research is one of the key elements of working as a historian,” Wilkins said. “Finding information online is wonderful and helpful, but going into the archives and finding valuable information that way provides a different kind of research experience.”
Wilkins has his students use the archives in order to understand how large historical events impact the Jewell community. Wilkin’s students have used the archives to do research on World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War, all in relation to William Jewell College.
“I’ve had student look at the influence of the Vietnam War on Jewell, and the role that Jewell students and graduates played in Vietnam,” said Wilkins. “The students were able to interview several professors who had been at Jewell during the Vietnam War, and find footage of an anti-war protest at Jewell. They made a 25-minute documentary on the basis of their research. I was really impressed.”
Before going to the archives, Wilkins advises that students email the archives ahead of time with their research topic, be prepared to take notes and pictures and utilize the finding aids and archives staff.
“Take notes,” Wilkins said. “Wherever you are, if they will let you take pictures, make sure you bring a camera and make sure that you very carefully write down what file these pictures correspond to, so take very careful notes on where you are getting the information from. Look at the finding aids because the archivists are experts in the topics and they have often gone through and pretty clearly identified what these files represent and what kinds of subjects they will illuminate for you. And be friendly and respectful to the archivists; they know a lot more than you do and if they know what your topic is, they can point you in the right direction.”
Overall, there are both physical and electronic research resources available to students. In order to request a research consultation or make an appointment to use the archives, contact Rebecca Hamlett at firstname.lastname@example.org.