Veterans, active duty soldiers and members of military families shared their experiences in panel discussions during Northwestern State University’s inaugural Living Library event that took place Sept. 11. The Living Library concept encourages individuals to share their experiences so that listeners get a first-hand account of what the person saw or lived through. The panels are recorded and become part of the collection that researchers can use to supplement books, journals and other traditional resources.
Panelists Wednesday were State Representative Lt. Col. Kenny Cox, Gen. George Peyton Cole, Col. Frank Hall, Staff Sgt. Brittany LaPoint, Col. Jeff Matthews, NSU Assistant Archivist Sharon Wolff, a military dependent, and Dr. Lisso Simmons, Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade.
During two separate sessions, each panelist provided perspectives on service, leadership, duty, comradery, traveling the world, taking part in historic events and personal sacrifice. Underlying themes were pride in America as the world’s greatest nation, a commitment to service and the impact military service had on their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Many repeated that despite hardships for them and their families, none regretted their service and were honored to be part of the U.S. armed forces.
The Living Library was hosted by NSU’s Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library, spearheaded by Deborah Huntington, head of Collection Development and Cataloging. The event was supported by NSU President and First Lady Dr. Chris and Jennifer Maggio, Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the NSU Foundation, NSU-TV, Sodexo and Watson Library.
Organizers plan to host a Watson’s Living Library Collection at least once per semester. The next Living Library, “Ben Johnson: A Natchitoches Legend” will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in the NSU-TV Studio, Kyser Hall Room 138.
For more information about the Watson’s Living Library Collection, contact Huntington at (318) 357-6947.