Wallace Center: The Sci-Final Frontier
by Jessica Sides | published Dec. 1st, 2018
A new project has arisen on campus. Members of Space-Time Adventures at RIT (
“This could be the largest sci-fi collection in the world," Hull said.
The project is still in its early stages, focused mostly on planning and building interest. Hull has been coordinating with Marcia Trauernicht, director of RIT's libraries, about the issue. They both agree that it would be nice to have RIT ranked first in yet another area. As it is, RIT is currently ranked first in Western N.Y. for business and first in N.Y. state online schools. W have been recognized in the top 100 greenest universities, and Thinkgeek recognized us as the no. 1 geekiest campus.
Why is This Important?
For Professor Hull, this project is simple.
“Science Fiction is a big part of what RIT is. STAR, Anime Club, Human versus Zombies and other sci-fi topics hold a lot of weight at RIT. I hear people quote lines from 'The Princess Bride,' 'Harry Potter' and more. They embody it and even dress up as sci-fi characters.”
For Hull, it's not just about the students; faculty also plays a role.
“We also have no shortages of experts here. At RIT, we really try to play at our strengths, and sci-fi is one of those strengths. It’s an obvious choice really," he said.
A major goal of this update would be to provide a location to relieve stress, that also inspires and leads to innovation at the same time.
"When you are reading something about potential futures and technology, you become inspired to create something great. People read sci-fi at a young age, and they become lifelong readers and learners," said Trauernicht. "You become more accepting of technology and what is out there. Also, you realize that it is not just for men.”
Sci-fi often leads to a rise in possibilities. Big-screen TVs, cell phones, Bluetooth earpieces and so much more were all a part of "Star Trek." These are things now found in our day-to-day lives. Derrick Loi, the president of Anime Club, agreed.
“Space itself facilitates a forward-thinking environment. It gives you a view into the future and the possibilities it can provide. This is a tech school. This is the type of thinking that is very important to encourage inspiration," he said.
Where Would it Go?
Hull said that RIT has plans to build an extension to the Wallace Library, reaching from the current edge of the library to the Student Alumni Union. This new extension has the possibility of becoming the final resting place for the collection.
"We really want the library to become the center of campus life,” Hull said.
In the case that the sci-fi section is placed on the second floor instead, Trauernicht had some ideas.
“The library can change; we are willing to expand with this. Later this year, the second floor is going to be cleared," she said. “When we are finished experimenting with groupings, we could try having all the sci-fi titles in one place and see how it goes.”
Trauernicht is currently gauging student interest in such an experiment. She encourages students to come speak with her regarding the project if they're interested.
How Can it Happen?
The current record for sci-fi titles is 300,000, held by University of California Riverside. Despite seeming like a large number, it would not be difficult to accomplish. The Wallace Library already has a number of titles within their literature section that are considered sci-fi. Between these and donations from RIT's extensive alumni network and its current student body, such a goal is well within reach. Donations can be given directly to Wallace Library.
"We need lots of donations of titles. This is a more ground-up type of project, meaning we will start off small and build up. People must show interest in it and actually use the area for us to continue," Trauenicht said.
If the interest is indeed as large as they expect, they will expand the area and give it more space. Ultimately it is up to Trauernicht, as she has the final say in this project.
Loi added that many clubs will likely be just as involved as the library. They will have to reach out to Student Government, spread awareness and gain traction. STAR is currently in charge of organizing participation; if students want to get involved, they can always step up and help them.
“So far everyone who I have spoken to has not been opposed to it. They like the idea of RIT being number one in sci-fi collections, ” said Hull. “I’m [currently] talking to people and just trying to bring people together.”
Hull stated that the current course of action for this project is to make a solid plan. He has been working with STAR to create a proposal of sorts for Trauernicht. They are currently figuring out levels of interest, what resources it would take and where they would come from. If all goes to plan, students could see changes quickly. Hull, Trauernicht and Loi all agreed that 2019 could be a realistic goal to finish this project.
There is excitement in the air this fall. The hope for this project has only grown among those in the know, and they hope to share their joy with all who will listen. Loi could hardly contain his excitement and was pleased to hear about the project.
“[Sci-fi] deserves its own respect.”
“[Sci-fi] deserves its own respect,” he said. “I’m glad that the Wallace Library is interested in this proposal. We are the type of school to have a ton of geeks and nerds. To get this section would be an inspiration to students."
"We are the type of school to have a ton of geeks and nerds. To get this section would be an inspiration to students."