Library documents Rams’ historic run

Alyx Duckett

Capital News Service

Got a ticket stub from the VCU-Butler game of the Final Four men’s basketball championship tournament? How about a T-shirt celebrating the Rams’ surprising charge into the final round? Or a home-made poster from a rally for the team?

Officials with VCU Libraries hope to save such memorabilia for future generations of students as part of a special collection that will document the university’s historic success in the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Library officials are asking for donations of items that tell the Rams’ Cinderella story during March Madness, when VCU reached the Final Four by beating Southern California, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State and Kansas. The story ended when VCU lost a close game to Butler University in the semifinal round in Houston.

The library system’s Special Collections and Archives Department is looking for ticket stubs, T-shirts, fliers and photos from the Sweet 16 to the Final Four. The staff also is seeking home-made posters and cheer gear that were made for the rallies or taken to the tournament games.

“Our job is to collect history of the university,” said Yuki Hibben, interim head of the department. “We’re always collecting materials.”

The Special Collections and Archives Department is on the fourth floor of Cabell Library. The department houses more than 40,000 volumes in special subject areas, including VCU yearbooks and copies of The Commonwealth Times.

Outside the office is a display case of VCU basketball memorabilia from the 1950s (when the school was the Richmond Professional Institute) to the most current season. The display includes items such as team photos, photos during games and newspaper articles.

Hibben said the staff started adding to the display case when the Rams reached the Sweet 16 and continued as they progressed to the Final Four.

The Special Collections and Archives recently put out a request for basketball items on the library’s website, asking for “almost anything that will help document the season. We are keenly interested in items from the games and rallies.”

So far, donations have included newspapers, a Final Four shirt and some Sweet 16 posters.

Library staff members have even gone Dumpster diving for memorabilia. Hibben said that after the rallies, they would rummage through trash containers for posters and fliers to add to the collection.

The department is especially interested in acquiring lottery tickets that lucky students received telling them they won tickets for the Final Four.

Hibben thinks donations have been slow so far because people are preserving their own memories or are still enjoying the basketball team’s glory.

“I think people are in the moment and aren’t thinking about documenting,” Hibben said.

There is no deadline to turn in memorabilia to the archives. Donations should be taken to the Special Collections and Archives office on the fourth floor of Cabell Library.

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