West Liberty University’s Rare Books Room
Digital Storytelling, Part 2
– by Steven Shrenkel and Danielle de Perrot
[ See video at end of article ]
During the Fall 2015 semester at California University of Pennsylvania, we had a unique and tremendous task thrown our way by our Honors Composition Professor, Dr. Fisanick. That task was to create a digital story that showcased a certain site located near Wheeling, West Virginia. This video was meant to explain in detail through narration and pictures something unique and interesting about the site that we chose. We picked the Paul N. Elbin Library at West Liberty University in hopes of finding something special to show to everyone. While on this journey we enjoyed the difficulties of determining the focus for our video, finding out the complex and interesting history of our topic and the library itself, and discovering some surprising quirks about the city of Wheeling.
Determining our focus for our feature video was a challenging and demanding process. From the beginning of this project, we honestly had no idea what exactly we could focus on in a seemingly small library located in West Liberty. It seemed like such a daunting task that would be impossible to figure out, but it all eventually came together thanks to a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the person who helped steer us in the right direction from the early stages in the development of this project was the Library Director, Cheryl Harshman. She had told us through emails that the library had a very special rare book collection with a central theme within itself. That sounded very promising and exciting to research. We quickly learned that theme was the history of the printed word. After learning this, we decided to make it the central focus of our digital story. Following a visit to the library and the Nelle M. Krise Rare Books Collection, we were impressed.
All age groups can appreciate and admire the roots of what writing has come to be today. The history of the printed word provides examples of different writings that most people have never even heard of before. That is what makes this topic so interesting. It traces back to ways of communicating with written words which are not even fathomable in today’s society and shows how far we have actually come by the way of technology.
Completing this feature video was challenging, but worthwhile. We both learned many things about history and ourselves. While we learned all about the printed word’s history and advancements, we also learned about the various trials and tribulations that come with working together on a project. Setting up meeting times, divvying up the project equally, managing our time wisely, and working together effectively were all challenges that were taken as a learning experience. Finally, we actually learned what a digital story was and how to put all the components together to create a final product that was of the highest quality possible.
We were surprised often during our work on this project. We were especially shocked that most students that attend West Liberty University have no idea that their own library has a very special rare books collection that is just waiting to be explored.
In addition, as part of our project, we spent quite a bit of time in nearby Wheeling. We were overjoyed to find a town whose people wanted to talk about their history. We have never seen a city that acknowledges and genuinely enjoys their past to such an extent. Most places nowadays don’t celebrate their past and are always looking forward. It felt very old school and was very refreshing to be in a place that continually passes down their history to the next generation. We hope that the story we produced will become a valuable resource for West Liberty University and the community.
Digital Storytelling: West Liberty’s Rare Book Collection
[Note: This is the second entry in a five part series by Cal U Honors Students.
See Part 1, Sweeney Glass]