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Scarborough Library opens archive reading room, names new archive librarian

ISSUED: 7 June 2018
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Researchers interested in accessing the archives and special collections at Shepherd University’s Scarborough Library now have a new reading room where they can comfortably and securely browse through documents and handle artifacts with the help of the library’s new archive and special collections librarian, Frances Marshall.

The room, which was made possible with the support of the Shepherd Success Fund and Scarborough Society, is located on the library’s second floor in room 253. It has several desks with chairs, an all-in-one printer/copier/scanner, and cubbies to store personal items. A microfilm viewer is located nearby.

Anyone using the room will read and sign a written policy that explains how to handle the materials to assure that the often-fragile items in the West Virginia and Shepherd University archives won’t become scattered, lost, or damaged. Marshall hopes having the reading room will help her promote the collections and will give patrons a safe environment to access items in the archive.

“It allows people to actively see them, use them, touch them, and discover on their own,” Marshall said. “The material needs to be seen and used or it’s not doing its job, which is to basically inform a researcher that this is something somebody else touched, somebody else used, and somebody else thought about, considered, and found worthy enough of notice to memorialize it in some fashion. We’re all storytellers. Those stories need to be out there.”

Marshall has worked as a part-time reference librarian at the Scarborough Library since 2004. Describing herself as “total Shepherdstown” and “a townie,” Marshall graduated from Jefferson High School. She earned a B.A. in English from Bridgewater College in Virginia and an M.S. in library science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Marshall feels a special connection to Shepherd because she is a descendant by marriage of Alexander Boteler, a founding member of the university.

In addition to familiarizing herself with the collections, Marshall is working on a new display about how the 1918 flu pandemic impacted Shepherd.

“There were two bouts of it in town. The first was considered far more severe,” Marshall said. “The second one happened around November-December of 1918, and it took one of the professors, Walter McGarry Duke, first assistant and teacher of modern languages, who started Shepherd’s yearbook, the “Conhongoroota.” He passed on January 1, 1919. Also, multiple students and alumni passed from that particular flu. It’s listed in the college newspaper of March 1919. There are eight pages dedicated to Professor Duke and his memory and a listing of everybody who passed away.”

All material from the archives, special collections, and rare books collection is available for use during reading room hours in the fall and spring semesters on Sunday from 1-3 p.m.; Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 5-7 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m.; or by appointment; and during the summer, Monday through Friday, by appointment only.

For more information or to make an appointment, contact Marshall at 304-876-5419 or

Listen to the interview HERE.

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