Last week DU LISSA members were invited to tour the library at the Brookfield Zoo, a Zoological Library and Research Center in Brookfield, IL. Special librarian Carla Owens offered her knowledge and insight on several interesting topics that are a part of many special librarians’ daily dealings, such as the all too familiar lack of space and unsuitable conditions, never enough time, and the collecting and cataloging of archival material. In addition to a library tour, members were rewarded with a storytelling tram tour of the Zoo, in which Owens passionately recounted the history of the zoo. Taking over fourteen years to build, the 316 acre Brookfield Zoo opened to the public in 1934 with a 25 cent admission fee, and today opens it gates to over 2.3 million visitors a year. The archival material goes back to 1919 including objects, souvenirs, way-finding maps, photos, and more, which, by the way, took over three years to catalog the 10,000+ volumes. The Zoo boasts many firsts, for example, it housed the first panda in the Northern Hemisphere in 1937, held the first Wombat in captivity who recently died at the grand old age of 34, and built the first inland dolphinarium, an aquarium for dolphins. With all of its incredible accomplishments, the Brookfield Zoo was truly built with “The Most Modern Zoo in America” in mind. Thank you to Carla Owens for a wonderful day at the zoo!
Photos and blog post contributed by Nicky Fairless, Dominican GSLIS student
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