I just returned from a week-long trip to Utah where I was researching for my current writing project. While I was there, I got to spend an entire day at the L. Tom Perry Special Collections wing of the Harold B. Lee Library on BYU’s campus. I had such a wonderful experience, I thought I would share it with you!Brigham Young University’s library underwent some extensive remodeling after I graduated, so this was really my first time to use the facility in person since the Special Collections room moved to its new and expanded location. It is fabulous!
I was so relieved to find out this archives had Saturday hours from 10-6. It allowed me to make the very best use of my research week. My writing partner and I got there as it opened with our five manuscript call numbers ready to go! By the way, this is our second project. The first was published this month. Here’s a little proof:
Patrons using Perry Special Collections descend two flights of stairs and are first greeted by a beautiful lobby and exhibit space. Current exhibits include Talmadge’s Jesus the Christ and Rose Marie Reid‘s fashion designs.
Special Collections also has its latest acquisition, a Heritage edition of the St. John’s Bible, on display.
And there are more patron lockers to the left for backpacks, cell phones, etc.
To the left, I stepped into the open reading room, admired the original Minerva Teichert (1888-1976) on the wall, draped my cardigan over a chair, and approached the student worker with my call numbers.
I told you that I had a wonderful experience. It started with the perfectly charming student worker who commented, “We love it when patrons come prepared with call numbers!”
When she explained the reading room policies to me, I told her that I was an archivist and understood. She asked me how I made that choice. I was so impressed with her curiosity so I told her my story. When I told her I had a colleague coming to help me, she asked, “What makes a good writing partner?” That is an excellent question, I thought. So we talked about it. Not only was this undergrad well-trained and informed about the procedures, the collections catalog, and the library in general, but she was well-spoken and inquisitive and all these attributes will serve her well in life. Good for her!
She ordered up four collections for me and then gave me the good news that the fifth had been digitized already! That meant that I could read that one at my leisure and could spend the next 8 hours focusing on the first four. And focus we did. . . .
. . . and then I had some BYU ice cream. It is THE BEST in the world. Besides, every researcher needs a break.
One of the journals I was reading had three lengthy passages that would have been difficult to transcribe or summarize, so I placed an order for scans. Perry Special Collections policy is that requests have to be approved by a curator, so instead of coming in on Monday to pick them up, I asked that they be e-mailed to me. Here is what that process looks like.
After a restful Sunday, it was back to Salt Lake City for more research, but I am so grateful to the staff of L. Tom Perry for such a productive and positive day with them. If you get a chance to visit this library, take advantage of it.
Feature image: View of “Y” Mountain