Participants 2014

Erika Walston: Attracting non-traditional users to Special Collections


My name is Erika Walston. I graduated from library school a year ago and while I currently work outside the library field, I hope to find my way back soon!

I am interested in attracting non-traditional users to Special Collections, and knowing how “open” the collections should be. While I was a graduate student working at the University of Maryland’s Special Collections, I was interested in introducing our collections to non-traditional users, such as primary and secondary school students as well as local groups that might be interested in our collections. How do we draw these people in, should we bother and how do we present the materials in a way people can interact with them, but still protect the materials? Would it make more sense to put our efforts toward promoting our digital collections to allow people wider access or drawing people into the physical library. Additionally should these “non-traditional” users have limited access to certain collections whose materials some might consider controversial.

Looking forward to meeting everyone!


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  1. You might be interested in some community work my Special Collections did last year with engaging local community groups with our material.

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