Over the last year or so, I’ve been gathering information for a possible new children’s book about my aunt, who was a journalist during World War II. Finding information seemed to be an impossible task, but I recently stumbled upon a trove of microfilm at UNLV that gave me a much-needed boost; maybe there is enough information after all, and I just might be able to write that book.
UNLV was a surprise. It sits on 332 acres, a stone’s throw from McCarran airport. I’ve probably passed by the campus hundreds of times and not given it a thought. On my recent trip though, I took a cab to the campus and easily found the the 5-story Lied Library; my destination: “special collections” on the 2nd floor.
Most of the 2nd floor seemed to be made up of computer stations and cabinets upon cabinets of microfilm. They were very well-organized and I easily found the four rolls of microfilm I was looking for.
Then came the hard part: finding a microfilm reader. I walked the entire 2nd floor and found nothing. I thought that maybe microfilm readers had morphed and modernized with the times and that I wouldn’t know what one looked like if I found one. I finally gave up and went downstairs to find a librarian to help me.
Students, by the way, are looking mighty young.
Turned out that the microfilm readers (2 of them) were on the 1st floor, behind the reference librarian’s desk. She showed me how to use the microfilm reader and the software that runs it.
I read through years of newspapers. Years. My aunt wrote under a pseudonym, which made it difficult to find her articles. I copies the ones that I thought were hers, and then all of a sudden realized that I’d been at the library for 4 hours, and I’d only made it through 1 reel of microfilm.
Back home, I did some more digging and found a couple of new-to-me digital archives. I’ve since signed up for one of them and am waiting on information about another. While I like doing distance-based research on-line, I have to say that it was well-worth visiting the Lied Library at UNLV. I’m hopeful that I’ll make it back soon to finish my research