Watson will introduce Living Library Collection; rebrand better reflects event concept


NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s Eugene P. Watson Library has rebranded an upcoming event to better explain its concept.  The library will present “Watson’s Living Library Collection:  Everyone Has A Story” in which panelists will discuss their experiences serving in the military and/or being part of a military family. Sessions will take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when active duty and retired military personnel, along with their families, will offer perspectives on the challenges and rewards of military life. Sessions will take place in the NSU-TV Studio, Kyser Hall Room 138. Guests may attend one or both events.


The rebranded event, formerly referred to as the Human Library Collection, better reflects organizers’ intentions in creating a discussion on a specific topic through panelists with first-hand knowledge of the topic, according to Deborah Huntington, head of Collection Development and Cataloging.


The living library concept is a new trend in librarianship in which people serve as a source of information, supplementing books, academic journals and other traditional resources, Huntington explained. With a living library, panel discussions encourage dialogue and researchers can talk with or interview an individual one on one to ask questions and get a first-hand account of what that person saw or lived through.


“It not only serves as another resource for research but also builds upon already established library collections. It is another extension of oral histories and bringing stories off the shelves for validation and understanding via face-to-face.”


The living library is also an outreach and engagement vessel that involves the university and the community at large.


“It showcases and promotes how diverse our communities are with acceptance, understanding and inclusion by having face-to-face dialogue and conversations, by sharing and validating life experiences of individuals via round table discussions, interviews Q & A panels, live recordings, speakers, etc.,” Huntington said.


Panel participants on Sept. 11 will be State Representative LTC Kenny Cox, General George Peyton Cole, COL Frank Hall, SSG Brittany LaPoint, COL Jeff Matthews, NSU Assistant Archivist Sharon Wolff, a military dependent, and Dr. Lisso Simmons, Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade, and others who will share their stories about military service.


The event is supported by NSU President and First Lady Dr. Chris and Jennifer Maggio, Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the NSU Foundation, NSU-TV, Sodexo and Watson Library.


Organizers plan to host a Watson’s Living Library Collection at least once per semester. The next Living Library will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in the NSU-TV Studio, Kyser Hall Room 138.


For more information, about the Watson’s Living Library Collection, contact Huntington at huntingtond@nsula.edu or (318) 357-6947.