Thomson Special Collections Room

In 2006, the T. Gordon Thomson family donated funds through the Renovation Foundation to dedicate a room in honor of their daughter, Bailey Thomson with the Class of 2006.  Bailey participated in many activities while attending MLWGS and was particularly dedicated to We the People (WTP).  Around the same time, a group of retiring VCU professors specializing in history and government donated a number of books to the school in support of the MLWGS Social Studies program.  Combined, these donations resulted in the creation of the Thomson Special Collections Room (TSCR) located in Room 240.

The Collection
Most of the books shelved in the TSCR relate to law, history, and government.  Many are out-of-print titles and some books are in delicate condition and must be handled with care, including being kept away from liquids and food that may damage the books or draw bugs or other pests unfriendly to books.  The books are intended for use in the TSCR by students on the WTP team or in upper level government and history classes, law seminars, and other courses relevant to the collection’s content.  Although the books are considered reference material for in-room use, with permission of Ms. DeGroat or a Social Studies teacher, students and faculty may borrow books from the TSCR by signing them out using a borrower slip.  A copy of the borrower slip is available in the library’s share folder.  Teachers should place borrower slips that they approve in the card file box designated for this purpose in the MW Library on the 1st floor and borrowed books should be returned to the MW Library so that Ms. DeGroat may track their use.

Finding Books in the Special Collection  
At this time, these books are not cataloged in the MW Library’s library management software and therefore are not discoverable by searching the online catalog.  Instead, former MLWGS librarian Mrs. Graboyes organized the books by grouping them into categories and then associating each category with a numbering system.  Books are shelved in numerical order by category, and within a category, by the author’s last name.  A list of the category names and associated shelving numbers is located in the library’s share folder, as is a spreadsheet listing the titles of books located in Room 240. 

Use of the Thomson Special Collections Room
In keeping with the history of the room’s dedication, the TSCR is for student use, particularly by students in upper level government or history courses and those on the WTP team.  Related classes may also benefit from use of the collection, and thus the room itself.  The room is small, so is best-suited for seminar-size groups of 10 or fewer students.  As a rule, students using the TSCR should be supervised by a teacher.  However, students who wish to use the books in the TSCR for independent study may see Ms. DeGroat or a Social Studies teacher for a pass and to arrange for the room to be unlocked.  All other uses of this room are subordinate to student use of the TSCR materials.

Thomson Special Collections Room Guidelines
  • The room should be kept locked except when a group of students is in the TSCR to use the books as approved by a Social Studies teacher (or a student has arranged independent study access with Ms. DeGroat).  If you or your students use the room, please make sure it is locked when you/they leave.
  • Teachers are responsible for the appropriate conduct of students they permit to use the TSCR and for getting the borrower slips they approve to Ms. DeGroat in a timely manner.
  • The room should not be used for food storage/preparation or for activities involving food or drinks.
  • The books in the room should be handled with care.
  • Books borrowed from the TSCR with a borrower slip should be returned to the MW Library on the 1st floor so that Ms. DeGroat may track their use.
  • Students using the TSCR materials have priority for the room’s use.  All other uses of the TSCR are subordinate.  Graciously relocating in recognition of this priority if students arrive to use TSCR materials while the room is in use for another purpose is expected.
Wendy DeGroat,
Sep 23, 2010, 9:25 AM
Wendy DeGroat,
Nov 5, 2010, 7:00 AM