July 27, 2011 – Two small grants will make a huge difference at Fort Valley State University. Recently, the Henry A. Hunt Memorial Library received $7,000 from two organizations: United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Library (NAL) and the American Library Association.
One grant will change the way agricultural and historical research is accessed at FVSU. The NAL awarded the university with a $4,000 Cooperative Agreement grant to help the library create a digital repository for the College of Agriculture’s research—which is made available through the Agriculture Network Information System’s website.
According to Agriculture Network Information System (AgNIC), the Hunt Memorial Library conducts research in the area of chevon, also known as goat meat; however, there is no accessible collective database.
AgNIC is a voluntary alliance of members based on the concept of “centers of excellence.” The member institutions are dedicated to enhancing collective information and services among the members and their partners for all those seeking agricultural information over the Internet. Last year, FVSU become the first 1890s land-grant institution and only historically black college and university to receive an AgNICmembership.
Other members of the AgNIC alliance—University of Minnesota, Kansas State University and Colorado State University—are dedicated to collecting full-text and web-based agricultural information resources such as forestry, swine and tree fruit. All three universities have multiple catalogs based on studies conducted though FVSU’s goat research program. The research is a well renown among agricultural community little information is available on the web.
“When I travel and tell people I’m from Fort Valley State University, they already know about the goat research we’re doing on campus,” said Dr. Annie Payton, director of Hunt Memorial Library. That means most of its research documents are only available atFVSU. “When you conduct a Google search, most don’t find anything about the research that the College of Agriculture is doing here,” the director says.
The university will purchase a scanner to digitize research documents and then uploaded to them to electronic databases. Students, researchers and writers from around the world, will easily have access to the documents.
The library also received funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities and the American Library Association to improve the way people view the Civil War Era. Hunt received a $3,000 “Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War” grant in partnership with the Peach County Library. A reading series for the campus family and Middle Georgia community is in development.
“The program is designed as a series of five conversations exploring different facets of the Civil War experience, informed by reading the words written or uttered by powerful voices from the past and present,” says Shaundra Walker, FVSU’s head of reference. The facility will purchase 35 copies of “March” by Geraldine Brooks; 25 copies of “Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam,” by James McPherson; 50 copies “America’s War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on their 150th Anniversaries;” and a new anthology edited by Edward L. Ayers.
There are plans to purchase new books to educate Middle Georgia students about the war’s significance and to develop a new blog for online reference. Walker believes that the project is an important tool that will bring people together for lively discussions about the war.
“The civil war was such an epic event in the history of our country and even though it’s been 150 years since it began, we’re still dealing with many of the issues that came out of it in this day and age,” she said. “As we reflect upon it, it’s important for us to discuss it and find some common ground.”
In November, Dr. Dawn Herd-Clark, associate professor of history and project scholar, will lead an educational discussion series based on five specified reading selections about the war. The once- a- month series will bring faculty, staff, students and the community together for a scholarly exchange of ideas.
For more information about upcoming programs, please contact FVSU’s Hunt Memorial Library, (478) 825-6753.
By: Mark Walker, student intern
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