Library Tour: What’s in Milne Library?

SUNY Oneonta

Chelsea Sookra, Staff Writer |

On Thursday, Sept. 23rd, I went on a library tour with the librarian, Sarah Rhodes. Rhodes is an alumna of SUNY Oneonta and loves working here in the library. The library has changed so much from when she went here and she was excited to tell us all about the renovations from the 2018-2019 academic year.

The tour began on the third floor where there is a portrait of James Milne (whom the library is named after) by the staircase. Rhodes took me to the Alden room where I met librarian Heather Statlter. The Alden room has the “treasures of the college” where many of the college’s historical materials are. Stalter showed us the special book collections and the early textbook collections from the 1700s to the 1990s. These textbooks were used by SUNY Oneonta students back when SUNY Oneonta was known as the Normal School (a school to become teachers).

While the Alden room is full of physical history, there may be metaphysical history there as well. Stalter told us the story of the Alden room ghost. There have been stories of seeing a ghost in the room and around campus. There is a blog interview about a particular instance of a student who saw the ghost when they were alone in the room. They claimed to have saw a woman sitting on the blue chair. While Stalter has never seen the ghost in her 17 years of working in the library, she claimed to have felt “not alone” when she was in the room. The Alden room is closed to the public but if you’re interested in seeing it, you can email Stalter at [email protected].

There’s a lot about the State Times in the Alden room dating back to the Pen Dragon. The Pen Dragon’s first edition was in 1893 and the articles were nothing like today’s. The Pen Dragon became the Oneontan in the 1945s which featured many cigarette ads when smoking was popular.

The rest of the third floor is the absolute silent floor and silent room where talking isn’t allowed, along with the circulating collection and individual student pods. Rhodes showed the Third Floor Panel which shows the windows before they were large glass windows and said that no one liked to come up there before the renovations. They used to be concrete walls with slits for windows. They currently have a 9/11 exhibit up as well. The third floor has a classroom along with a Buckley Memory Forest.

The second floor is known as the quiet study floor. It has artwork that is changed out periodically along with a book display that currently features banned books. The Student Learning Center is on the second floor as well. Group study rooms are available there. The circulating collection continues with a YA and graphic novel collection. Rhodes wants to shelve out these collections in the upcoming years.

The first floor is where the accessibility resources office is. The circulation desk is there as well where you can check out or return a book. The new materials section is there as well and glass display cases of donations. An alumni named Evan Schiele went on eBay, bought Oneonta memorabilia, and donated it to the college. There are also lockers with combinations that you set, for charging your phone. There is also a reference desk if you have questions. The library also has printers on all the floors.

The basement has the interlibrary loan office and the ITS (Information Technology Services) which helps with the Wi-Fi, technology issues, and laptop and charger loans.

The final level of the library is the sub-basement known as Narnia by Rhodes. It is open during the day until 6 p.m. It has microfilms and maps and old NY Times and Daily Star editions along with atlases. They have manual company shelving which can be moved around and closed with a handheld wheel. The rest of the circulation library is here along with the EMC (CDs + DVDs). Kanopy is a free streaming service for documentaries online provided by the library. K-12 textbooks are also available in the sub-basement.

The library has trees that are named by the student workers in the library. Every Tuesday will have an Instagram post featuring a different tree. So look out for that!

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