The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Fondren Library gets presidential look

Fondren Library will be exhibiting “Hail to the Chief,” an exhibit dedicated to Presidential Libraries and their research starting Wednesday, Jan. 23 and continuing on until March of this year. The exhibit has been in planning stages for months and is not linked directly to any announcements over the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

“It’s just a small display we’re doing about presidential libraries, and it’s something that we’ve had on the Exhibit Committee’s calendar for almost a year now,” Joel Eatmon, member of the collection deveolment staff, said. “We have to plan the exhibit schedule almost a year in advance.”

An exhibit about presidential libraries at this point in SMU’s relationship with the Presidential Library Selection Committee of the current administration may seem conveniently timed to some, and Joan Gosnell, the university archivist at Fondren says the “Central University Libraries Exhibit Commitee has been thinking about an exhibit on Presidential Libraries for a couple years, yes, partially in conjunction with the George W. Bush Library site selection process.

“What we wanted to focus on, however, was the research side of Presidential Libraries,” Gosnell said. “All of the books chosen for the ‘Hail to the Chief’ exhibit in the Fondren Library link used presidential records as sources. Yes, we really did check the bibliography of each book to make sure.”

Presidential records are the papers and files kept from a president’s term in office and turned over to the corresponding library for study and use by authors, historians and others in the field of academia.

All presidential libraries since Herbert Hoover have been administrated by the NARA or National Archives and Records Administration’s Office of Presidential Libraries. According to Eatmon, the focus of the exhibit is “what they’re for, the research that goes into them and the different types of presidential libraries.”

“Presidential libraries are really a misnomer. These libraries have museums where exhibits show the life and times of the president,” Gosnell said. “The ‘library’ part is really an archives or records center that contains the papers and working files of the president and his staff. Historians use these records to tell the story of the presidency.”

Although Fondren Library does not officially keep track of who visits its exhibits, Eatmon and Gosnell each expressed a strong desire to see the student body come and visit this exhibit and others. They also want to see students take full advantage of what the library has to offer, and see it as more than simply books and study space.

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