Libraries are rife with contradictions. Imposing, grand, and even somber from the outside, they have a personality full of the solid satisfaction of hard-back books; physical, tangible knowledge; and most importantly, kind librarians.

In attempting to figure out what kinds of knowledge Kirksville’s local resources could offer, I asked the front desk of the library, slightly bemused as a student worker called her professional staff member, who called an expert researcher to my aid. I scheduled a “RAP,” or Research Assistance Program session for the following day, with the librarian. I could see the wheels in her head turning as she brainstormed what seemed like 1,000 potential resources with me.

However, the following day, an unexpected emergency had called her away from work. But another librarian tried to help my research partner, Alex, and me with the same zeal as the first. She raced to research local resources, showing us our school newspaper’s archives, which date back to 1909; the university’s special collections, which include Harry H. Laughlin’s, a Truman alumnae, Eugenics Collection; as well as more general information, such as census data in