Ever since I headed off to the first day of kindergarten in an awesome watermelon-print jumpsuit, I have loved the beginning of a new school year. For me, the start of this year is a milestone that rivals that melon-clad day, because I am as new to the University of Montevallo as the freshmen who will arrive on Thursday.
In my transition to Montevallo I’ve managed to avoid some of the perils that will inevitably befall these new students: the mad dash to claim the “good” side of the dorm room, the indigestion from too much dining hall pizza, the shock of sitting in a college classroom for the first time. But as I’ve started my new position as a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Carmichael Library, many of my experiences reflect those that await UM’s incoming freshmen: exploring a beautiful new campus, meeting new friends and colleagues, and having discussions with them that inspire “new little firecrackers of ideas going off every day” (to quote The Bell Jar, a book I read and loved while sitting at my desk on the “good” side of my freshman dorm room).
Since I feel such a connection to the UM freshmen who will be launched into college life through the backseats of minivans later this week, I’m especially excited about the Library Mystery that we’ve been planning as part of Take Flight Weekend. Students will explore library spaces and resources, led by some of UM’s longest residents: the King family members who are buried in the graveyard on campus.
The ghosts of the King family have all kinds of stories to tell the new students: tales of settling the area in 1817, building the King House on the land that would become UM, and having near-death experiences on Civil War battlefields. One ghost, Lylleton King, even comes to grips with his accidental death at the hands of his scatterbrained brother, Nathanial King:
To wish the new freshmen luck in college, these friendly ghosts will lead students to Edmund King’s gold, which is rumored to be buried somewhere on campus. The ghosts are surprisingly tech-savvy: all the clues will be delivered using QR codes that students will scan with the library’s new ipads.
Working with my new friends and colleagues on the Library Mystery has helped me appreciate some of Montevallo’s history, and we hope that this will be true for the students who participate as well. I look forward to working with our new freshmen, returning students, faculty and staff as I start fresh at Montevallo.
The Library Mystery will take place on Thursday (8/23) at 10 pm. Students can register here.