Willis Library 50th Anniversary: Happenings in Willis

Catalog Systems

Like many libraries, in its early years Willis Library utilized a card catalog to help patrons locate the materials they needed. The card catalogs in Willis were located on the first floor, and were painted with large text at the ends that read “author-title” and “subject.” The card catalog was a useful tool for students, faculty, and staff, though locating materials with it could be a bit time consuming. In 1988, the library began the transition to a new computer-based catalog system, which allowed patrons to use keyword searches to find more results faster, but the location of the book would still need to be found in the card catalog. Only one computer catalog station was available to students for a few years, but by 2000, the card catalogs were removed, and a larger selection of computers for catalog searching were set up. As the computer catalog system was implemented, the majority of students and faculty alike were pleased with the speed and ease of use of the system.

Edible Books Festival

In 1999, Willis Library hosted their first Edible Books Festival, which is based off the international Edible Books Festival established the same year. Early competitions were hosted by the Rare Books Room to earn funds for purchasing new books, but more recently the festival has been a library-wide event. The competition features book themed foods, like a bowl of alphabet soup titled “The Great American Novel (Some Assembly Required),” or foods decorated to look like popular book covers or express the theme of popular books. Attendees of the event sample the books each year and prizes are awarded for Best Artistic Concept and Best Tasting.

National Novel Writing Month

Since 2006, Willis Library has participated in National Novel Writing Month, to encourage and support the UNT community in the challenge of writing a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days. Mostly students register for the challenge, which is not a competition nor is it judged in any way. The challenge is set to help individuals achieve a goal, with the group gathering each week to help with encouragement and writer’s block.

Human Library

The Human Library event was first held in Willis Library in 2012, and has been held each year since. The Human Library concept allows members of the UNT and Denton community to volunteer as books, so that participants can “check them out” to hear their story. The event has been considered valuable in promoting acceptance, diversity, and inclusion on campus, with many books sharing aspects of their lives that make them different or unique, such as sexual orientation, gender representation, life with disabilities, various career paths, religious affiliations, and much more.

Additional Links