Library archives open their doors on a regular basis

Priscilla Bonilla, Correspondent

Wilkes University Archivist Harold Cox is finally seeing his hard work and dedication to the school archives pay off with this semester’s official public opening.

“Without Dr. Cox there would be no archives,” Dean of the Library John Stachacz said.

The archives consist of yearbooks, alumni magazines, photographs, maps, letters and various other records, such as the “Ground Breaking” shovel used to start construction of Stark on June 4, 1956.

Stachacz said to finally see this process moving in the right direction is a great accomplishment considering the passion and effort Cox has put in over the years.

The help of Adjunct library faculty member Elizabeth Sullivan has allowed Cox to move forward with his project. Sullivan recently received her master’s in library and information science and a certificate in special collections from the University of Illinois. While attending, she worked with the university’s archives department. She began working with the library this past October and has assisted Cox in organizing the collection of archives.

“One of the most unique things would be the photographs of the old campus,” Sullivan said. “It is interesting comparing the photographs to campus now and seeing the differences.”

The archives contain history dating back to the era when the university was started as Bucknell University Junior College from 1933 to 1947, including photos of the town of Wilkes-Barre from that era.

Due to flooding from Hurricane Agnes in June 1972, some of the documents have been damaged. Part of the responsibility of the archivist is to restore and reformat those documents damaged by Agnes. The documents require specific care and storage due to mold forming from water damage.

Stachacz and Sullivan agree it would be a rewarding feeling for Cox to see the archives fully organized and to honor his hard work on this project. In the fall of 2013 Cox will be celebrating 50 years of dedication to these archives and the History Department.

In the future Stachacz hopes to see some renovations to the library, relocate the archive room from the third floor of the library to the second floor and to arrange a giant space that will showcase all the archives. He hopes these moves will add another teaching arm to the library and making the archive room more noticeable and allowing the documents to be easily accessible and useful for research.

“More energy will be added up there one way or another,” Stachacz said.