Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Community Outreach: Preschool Bookbinding Activity

March 20th, 2018

I recently had the opportunity to combine business and pleasure when my son’s preschool teachers put a call out to parents interested in being “Mystery Visitors” to the classroom. Parents were invited to join the class at group time to read a story, lead an activity, or share a hobby or interest. I knew that my colleagues in Conservation Services had taught workshops in the past for school-age and preschool children, which sounded like fun to me. I was excited for the chance to test my skills at communicating some basic concepts of my job to a young audience, and of course to see the (hopefully pleasantly) surprised look on my son’s face!

After talking a bit with the teachers to get a sense of the kids’ skill levels, I planned to try sewing a three-hole pamphlet with the class. The teachers felt that the kids would be able to handle the simple folding and sewing, with the three of us and an aide on hand to guide them. The class supply closet had plenty of paper for text blocks and covers, and I provided colorful plastic needles and lengths of yarn from my stash at home. From the lab, I assembled some other tools and supplies: a piercing jig made of scrap binder’s board, a few bone folders, and a chunky, blunt awl that punched the perfect, extra-large holes for small hands wielding big needles. I also made a sample book to show the class.

Pamphlet making supplies

Ready, set, sew!: pamphlet-making supplies. Click image to enlarge.

On the day of my visit, I arrived at the time of the afternoon when the class normally has “large group” time. My son’s initial bewilderment gave way to excitement when the teachers announced me as the Mystery Visitor, and I was soon swarmed with kids wanting to know what I had brought to share. The teachers and I decided to do the activity in small groups by turns, while the rest of the children played at other activities around the room. I set up at a small table and, assisted by one of the teachers, helped groups of 3 to 5 kids at a time make their own pamphlet-sewn book. I was really impressed by their folding, sewing, and especially listening skills! They were a very eager and engaged group, and it was sweet to see how proudly they displayed their finished books to their parents as they arrived for pick-up time.

The school’s privacy policy prevents me from sharing photos of children other than my own, and in any case the afternoon was a bit too energetic and fast-paced for me to take any good pictures. However, I did manage to snap a quick shot of my boy with his book as we were loading up to head home. He was quite pleased with his creation, which he began filling up with a story as soon as we got home!

Child holding finished pamphlet

Pamphlet completed and ready for stories! Click image to enlarge.

 

Angela Andres
Special Collections Conservator
Conservation Services

Meet Caitlin Donnelly, Spencer’s New Head of Public Services

January 24th, 2013

Photograph of Caitlin Donnelly

Caitlin Donnelly, Head of Public Services

I am absolutely thrilled to be the new Head of Public Services at Kenneth Spencer Research Library! In this position, I’ll be working with students, faculty members, scholars, and other patrons and visitors who come to the library to conduct research, attend class, or tour the North Gallery and exhibit area.

I have long been especially passionate about access, reference, instruction, and outreach in special collections. Early in my career, my personal interest in history matured into a professional enthusiasm for helping patrons connect with historical resources and the past in ways they find meaningful. More recently, my interest has evolved to focus on facilitating and expanding the use of special collections; demonstrating the relevance of history and special collections to a variety of scholarly disciplines and groups of non-academic users; and helping researchers become comfortable and competent users of special collections materials.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, and sister of a KU alumnus, I have a BA in Humanities–American Civilization from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2004), an MA in public history from North Carolina State University (2006), and an MSLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2008). Before joining the team at Spencer, I was the Archivist at the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo (2008-2012), where I was responsible for all duties associated with managing the archival collection. I also have additional professional experience with the Missouri State Archives-St. Louis, UNC’s Documenting the American South, the NCSU Special Collections Research Center, the UIUC Government Documents Library, and the National Park Service.

I look forward to helping improve patrons’ experiences at Spencer Research Library. Have a question about our collections, services, or procedures? Feel free to give me a call at (785) 864-4456 or drop me an email at cdonnelly@ku.edu. I look forward to hearing from you!

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services