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This item originally appeared in the March 25, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.


Staff Writer

Springtime is a time for new beginnings, and the Prescott Memorial Library is no exception.

This quarter, a new library director was hired, new handicapped restrooms were installed and the Camp Ruston Colletion will be added to the Louisiana Digital Library on the Web. This site takes unique materials from different Louisiana universities and consolidates them in one place. Camp Ruston was one of the largest prison of war camps in America during World War II.

Walter Wicker was hired March 15 to replace the previous library director, Rebecca Stenzal. Wicker served as library director from 1986-1996.

One of the reasons Wicker feels the university asked him to return is because the library is going through the Southern Association Accreditation process.

“I have been through several accreditations, and I guess Tech felt it was better to bring in a semi-experienced person for that, rather than bring in someone new to jump right into it,” Wicker said. “Returning as Tech’s library director gives me a chance to continue things we accomplished in the past and continue to make the library a friendly-user institute for the students,” Wicker said.

To help make the library more user-friendly, handicapped restrooms are being added on the third floor.

Wicker said it was the best place to convert the restrooms because the third floor had the best space.

“Without these restrooms, it was difficult for handicapped students,” Wicker said. “Before they had to leave the building, now they are able to have access to the third floor restrooms.”

The restrooms are expected to be finished within the next week.

The university Camp Ruston Collection will consist of pictures of people and artifacts associated with the camp and its history.

Peggy Carter, university archivist, said it has been a lot of hard work digitalizing the collection, but it is worth it.

“The Camp Ruston is tremendously valuable and an important collection,” Carter said. “It is an important part of Ruston’s history.”

Mike DiCarlo, an associate director of the library, said this system makes it convenient for more people to view some of the library’s material.

“They can access our resources from anywhere,” DiCarlo said. “It cuts down on travel time and makes it easier for people to use our stuff in their own setting.”

Carter said, “Putting our collection on the Web brings [the information] to the people who would otherwise have to come to it.”

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