Friday, December 13, 2013

Willet Memorial Library in the Spotlight!

By Sybil McNeil

Willet Memorial Library at Wesleyan College is transitioning. A library on a small women's college campus has opportunities for service that larger libraries cannot offer. Librarians pride themselves on their personal service to students, whether it be in the form of supplying coffee and tea or just "listening." More importantly, they offer hours of research assistance.The library even provides the ministrations of a cat named Libris, who is a willing accomplice to its homey atmosphere. Libris is actually known world-wide, as he was a featured cat in a British magazine a few years ago.

Wesleyan College, being the first college in the country chartered to grant degrees to women, is proud of its history and the entire campus is on the Historic Register. Therefore, the Archives and Special Collections, housed in Willet Library, are used by students and researchers all over the country. A point of interest in the library that attracts many visitors each year, as well as various documentaries from countries such as China and Japan, is our Special Collections room we call the China Room.

Madame Chiang Kai-Shek
portrait in the China room
Wesleyan's first Chinese students were the three Soong Sisters who are known by their respective marriages to men important to China and the world, and were instrumental in determining the present history of that country. They were Soong Ai-Ling, married to the wealthiest man in China in the early years of the twentieth century, H. H. Kung; Soong Ching-Ling, revered to the present as the Mother of China having married the Father of the Chinese Revolution in 1912, Sun Yat-Sen; and Soong May-Ling, or Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, in 1943 the first woman to speak before the United States Congress. Current ties with China include the establishment of a Confucius Institute inside the library. The Institute is working with private schools in the Macon-Bibb County area and is teaching classes on the Wesleyan Campus.

Willet Library is transitioning in other ways, evaluating systems and moving forward soon into the Cloud, making every effort to bring the best of modern technology to the students at Wesleyan College
Visit Willet Memorial Library's website for more information about the library.

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