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LibQUAL Summit Report on Library Future Released

Posted on: Monday, May 2, 2011 - 9:46am

Topic(s): Updates

On February 22, 2011, faculty, students and administrators were invited to participate in a discussion sponsored by the Western Libraries.  This event, Building the Future of the Library: A Dialogue, was developed based on so called “LibQUAL+ Summits” conducted by other university libraries.  The event was as an opportunity for the Western Libraries to gather stake-holder comments and concerns by asking them to address questions relating to data gathered by the 2010 LibQUAL+ Survey of user perceptions and expectations.

The 50+ participants were broken out into 7 small groups.  These groups were provided with three discussion questions connected by the over-arching theme that students and faculty have different expectations of the library.  Given the difficult fiscal future the university and library faces the Libraries believes that this type of candid conversation can inform planning and future directions.

Comments made by student and faculty participants alike indicated a great deal of appreciation for the opportunity to speak with each other and to the Libraries about the discussion questions that were provided as well as other concerns.

A summary report that contains excerpts from the dialogues was distributed to the participants, Senate Library Committee and library staff on April 15th.  That document is now available to the campus community on the Western Libraries web site.

Building the Future of the Library - Summary Report

Westerns' Student Newspaper Digitized by Library

Posted on: Friday, April 22, 2011 - 10:33am

Topic(s): Resources

Since its beginnings in 1899 as a “Normal School,” there has been a student newspaper at Western Washington University. From Normal Messenger to Northwest Viking to WWCollegian to Western Front (and other names in between), the student newspaper has chronicled the social, athletic, academic and creative life of the institution throughout its trajectory from teacher-training college to a prominent university with more than 15,000 students.

Thanks to the generosity of donations from Cindy Hacherl (Class of 1984) and Don Hacherl and Bert Halprin (class of 1971) more than a century of back editions of the student newspaper are being digitized by Western Libraries Special Collections.

Cindy Hatcherl and Bert Halprin are former Western Front student journalists. “It’s often said that journalism is the first draft of history, and thanks to this wonderful gift from Cindy, Don and Bert, the first draft of Western’s history — as published in the Front — will now be available to a much broader audience,” said John Harris, interim chair of the Department of Journalism.

The process of scanning and digitizing the back issues is ongoing but what has been scanned thus far can be accessed at The culture of the times, the evolution of the campus and the sweep of campus leaders and activities all emerge from back editions. Readers can learn about campus and local life in 1899, read about how people coped with the Great Depression or local concerns as World War II loomed.

Digitizing the Western student newspaper was initiated by Marian Alexander; Tamara Belts, Sandy Celec, Leslie Lowery, and Peter Smith are library personnel currently working on the project.  More than 55,000 pages will be digitized when the project is completed.  Readers will be able to browse or search the newspapers from anywhere at any time.

“We hope this will be a great resource for students, the community and those doing research on local history,” said Tamara Belts, Special Collections manager.

The project was facilitated through the efforts of the Western Washington University Foundation.  For more information on this or other Digital Collections available online via Western Libraries, please see:

(repost from the Office of University Communications)

"Dogs and Other Poems"

Posted on: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 12:51pm

Topic(s): Updates

Paul Piper, a professor and librarian at the Western Libraries, has had a new book of poetry published. Piper's book "Dogs and Other Poems" was published by Bird Dog Press on April 1, 2011.

A copy of his current book is available in the libraries' "Western Collection" in Special Collections. 

Local History & Primary Source Research

Posted on: Monday, April 18, 2011 - 10:07am

Topic(s): Resources

As one of the three Heritage Resources programs at Western Libraries, the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies provides a wealth of local & regional resources for primary source research.

CPNWS holdings include a wide variety of resources about the regional commercial fishing industry. Pictured here is a digitized letter from the Archie W. Shiels Papers, in which Filipino workers protest conditions at the Pacific American Fisheries cannery in Nushagak, Alaska (letter dated June 15, 1933). Archie W. Shiels was then President of the Pacific American Fisheries, a major salmon fishing and packing operation headquartered in Fairhaven, Washington.

Additional CPNWS holdings related to fish and fishing include the Pacific American Fisheries Records, Alaska Packers Association Records, Northwest Ethnohistory Collection, Women in the Commercial Fishing Industry Research Collection and the holdings of Galen Biery, a long-term PAF employee and one of Bellingham’s best-known historians.

Western Libraries houses additional primary sources about the regional fishing industry & canneries, including Filipino American newspapers on microfilm such as the Alaska Fish Cannery Workers Union of the Pacific. The Washington State Oral/Aural History program (available on microfilm at CPNWS and at the main library) meanwhile contains transcripts from interviews conducted in the 1970s, documenting lives and experiences of African Americans and Filipinos in Washington State.

If you're seeking primary sources about campus, local or regional history, consult Western Libraries and the Heritage Resources staff and archival collections: these are the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Western Libraries' Special Collections, and/or the WWU Archives and Records Center. Links to additional and useful primary source repositories are also included in the Library Guide "Resources for Researching Local and Regional History".


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