Western Libraries News

Tue hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Amended Heritage Resources hours in September

Please be aware that the following Heritage Resources programs will be temporarily closed at various times throughout the month of September:

  • Center for Pacific Northwest Studies: CLOSED Monday, Sept. 1st through Friday, Sept. 5th, resuming normal hours on Monday, Sept. 8th.
  • Special Collections: CLOSED Thursday, Sept. 4th through Friday, Sept. 12th, resuming normal hours on Monday, Sept. 15th.

We apologize for any inconvenience. Please contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu or (360) 650-7534 if you have questions.

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2014-2015 James W. Scott Research Fellowships

Western Washington University's Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS) welcomes applications for the James W. Scott Regional Research Fellowships, awarded in honor of a founder and first Director of CPNWS, and a noted scholar of the Pacific Northwest region. Up to $1000 is available in 2014-2015 to scholars who propose to undertake significant research using archival holdings at CPNWS. Applications are accepted from individuals in graduate programs (and/or who are new to the field of historical research and writing), as well as individuals who have finished the Ph.D. and/or are published authors.

Fellowship Requirements

  • Fellows will be expected to spend approximately one week examining CPNWS holdings in support of their research, and to be in residence prior to September 1, 2015.
  • Fellows will be asked to give a presentation about some aspect of their research during the course of their scheduled visit.
  • Fellows will be asked to provide a brief (300-500 word) written statement describing their research.

Applications

Applications must be submitted via mail or electronically and should include:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Research plan outlining on-site use of CPNWS holdings and proposed presentation topic
  • Two letters of recommendation

Applications are generally reviewed during Fall Quarter. Please contact CPNWS Archivist Ruth Steele (Ruth.Steele@wwu.edu) for more information. CPNWS is a program of Western Libraries Heritage Resources.

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The Gray Ghost Murders

Author: 
Keith McCafferty
Publication Information: 
Viking Press, 2013
Location: 
Fly Fishing Collectoin
Call Number: 
PS3613.C334 G73 2013
June, 2014

What do a couple of stolen trout flies have in common with two bodies buried up in the Gravelly Range near Ennis, Montana? That's for Sean Stranahan, part-time artist, fly fisherman, private detective and river guide to find out.

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Summer Construction Updates

Due to both better weather and fewer people on campus, summer is typically identified as being the best time for much-needed construction projects to take place here at Western. And at Western Libraries you may notice a few things happening, beginning Monday, June 16th, when re-roofing work begins on the tile roof of the 1928 section of Wilson Library. This work will also involve the insulation of the attic space above the Reading Room (Wilson 4 Central.

The north doors of Wilson Library will be closed for the duration of the project, beginning Monday, June 16th, with an estimated date of completion being sometime in late August. Additionally, the student-staffed Learning Commons Information Desk will be closed and the Research Consultation Desk will be temporarily relocating from Wilson Library to the Haggard Hall Circulation Desk for the summer and intersession periods. If you need any assistance, please stop by the Circulation Desk.

During this same time period, the brick walkway between High Street and the rose garden along the north side of Wilson Library will be re-paved, meaning that entire area will be bordered by a fence and subsequently inaccessible to the public.

Throughout these projects there will be construction traffic and associated noise along High Street and the grassy area outside Zoe’s and Wilson 2 West, particularly between the hours of 7:00am and 4:30pm. As always, we appreciate your understanding and patience.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Frank.Haulgren@wwu.edu

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Sustainability Wall Grand Opening

Last week marked the grand opening of the new Wilson Library Sustainability Wall.  A collaborative project between Western Libraries, the Office of Sustainability and the AS Environmental Center, this wall provides Western with a central and public location where the campus community can find out about environmental and sustainability events.  The Sustainability Wall is located near the north entrance to the Wilson Library between Zoe’s bagels and the Tutoring Center.  The wall which previously just held a water fountain, an unused radiator, and an AED station (which was relocated around the corner), now incorporates a non-electric water bottle refill station, a Western Sustainability calendar, an environmental and sustainability bulletin board, and a bookshelf highlighting various sustainability themes throughout the academic year. 

The idea for the wall came from a team composed of two students from the Students for Sustainable Water (SSW) club, and two Western Libraries staff.  Together, they submitted a Green Energy Fee Grant Program proposal to install a water bottle refilling station and educational kiosk in the Wilson Library to educate campus on the use of reusable water bottles as well as general information on sustainability at Western.   “Western's commitment towards the environment and sustainability is strongly ingrained in our campus culture, but up until this point it's been difficult to find an accessible resource for students to get involved and stay engaged. I'm excited for ‘The Sustainability Wall’ to be that hub of information, located in the heart of resources at WWU: the Wilson Library,” said Carolyn Bowie, student lead on the project.  The proposal was funded in the spring of 2013 and installation was completed in the spring quarter of this year. 

The project team is excited about the opportunity to educate campus on the value of Lake Whatcom as a water resource.  A sign above the water bottle refill station includes a stunning aerial photograph of Lake Whatcom and provides information on the value and issues with Lake Whatcom. Both of the student team members were also involved in the campaign to remove water bottle usage from campus.  “This project also serves the need of students to fill their water bottles on campus, especially after our recent victory in ending bottled water sales. I've heard that employees at Zoe's are already directing students to make use of the newly installed refill station!” said Bowie.

The Green Energy Fee (GEF) Grant Program exists to promote experiential learning opportunities and sustainable practices at Western Washington University.  The GEF is funded by Western students, managed by the Office of Sustainability, and grants are chosen by the Green Energy Fee Committee, composed of students, staff, and faculty representatives. 

For more information on the Green Energy Fee Grant Program, visit wwu.edu/gef 

(This press release was written by and courtesy of Regan Clover, Green Energy Fee Grant Program Coordinator, Office of Sustainability. Photo by Patrick Schmidt; featured in photo are GEF Team Members Rob Lopresti, Clarissa Mansfield, Gerald Kitsis and Carolyn Bowie).

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Medieval Manuscripts Support Learning

Professor Katie Vulić has been bringing her medieval literature classes to Western Libraries Special Collections ever since she first began teaching at Western. For the first several years, Vulić taught students exclusively from copies of original works; Special Collections owns a number of facsimile reproductions of medieval manuscripts that helped her students gain an understanding of the original context and culture of their class texts.

At the same time that she was using these facsimile materials, Vulić was also very interested in finding an opportunity to introduce original materials into her courses so that her students could engage directly with original manuscripts and learn from them firsthand about medieval literary culture.

“One of the goals in using original manuscripts is for students to recognize how hugely different their reading practices are between reading mass-produced, cheap, clean texts versus hard-to-produce medieval luxury goods, the kind where every letter written is its own work of art,”  explained Vulić. "Additionally, with the facsimile materials, I could say ‘Here is what is known, here is what has already been discovered.’ With the original materials, I can do that too, but then I can also come back and ask, ‘What can we learn from these materials that is not yet known? What are the differences between medieval reading practices and our own?’”

Last year, Vulić was able to pose these questions to some of her graduate students after she made arrangements to borrow some original manuscript fragments and incunables (early printed books) from Washington State University’s Special Collections for her class to use. These materials were kept in Western Libraries Special Collections, and her graduate students were then able to spend a number of hours over a two-week period working directly with the borrowed materials.

“I had them go the whole nine yards with the manuscript fragments: transcribe passages, prepare a thorough description of their features, and check the existing databases in order to identify what they were. Students did say it was a lot of work but they also really enjoyed it and said I should keep the project going,” stated Vulić.

Though all of the medieval items loaned from Washington State were just individual leaves of parchment separated from their full original manuscripts, students can learn a lot from scraps and fragments. “If a book was taken apart like that, it was often because it was considered commonplace, outdated, or not valuable. Old manuscripts could be used for scrap, or for reinforcing the binding of other more current books. What that means is most of the scraps we can afford and that we see tend to be in Latin and church-related, but one advantage of that is they also tend to be searchable,” explained Vulić.

While some of the manuscript fragments have cataloged information as part of their records, other fragments have very little documented information accompanying them. However, for the fragments that are not searchable, there is still a lot that can be discovered.

“It’s hard to make a huge discovery in just one day, but sometimes we could use context clues to figure things out. And students come away with a real appreciation for the unique methods, challenges and experiences of this profession. They also gain firsthand experience with archival practices and discovering something ‘new’ in an archive, sometimes even contributing quite a lot to existing knowledge. Students are surprised by how hard these materials are to read, but they seem to have a lot of fun with it, as if they are working out puzzles. It’s an opportunity that undergraduates don’t usually have—a chance for them to see and interact with materials that are usually kept behind glass.”

This experience with her graduate students made her think of piloting a similar project in her undergraduate classes, and one year later,  Dean of Western Libraries Mark Greenberg helped facilitate another loan of original materials from a rare book dealer with whom he has worked in the past.

Vulić has since used these original manuscript fragments this past quarter in two of her undergraduate classes. She synthesized the highlights of what her graduate class did over a two week period into two days, and Vulić thinks her classes have enjoyed the experience. She noted that access to these materials gives students an enhanced sense of the culture, can correct misinformation from movies, video games, and popular culture, and can help students become more grounded in the time period from which the pieces were produced, while simultaneously creating opportunities for interaction with the original materials about which there might not be a lot of known information.

Vulić explained that while she wished Western Libraries would someday have its own collection of original manuscripts, she also wanted her colleagues to know about the resources available to them that Western Libraries can help provide. She stated that she is always surprised when she meets someone who teaches at Western who has not visited Special Collections.

“It would be lovely if more of our colleagues would take advantage of these resources. I have found it to be fantastic working with library staff. They are always so willing to work with me and to meet my teaching needs. They have always been the best partners in just the best possible ways. I cannot say enough good things about them. For faculty thinking about setting up a new class and using some of these resources, it may take a little work to get things going, but it will be worth it in the long run, and you will always get the support you need from the library!” 

Connect, Communicate, Create

In February 2014, Western Washington University’s Learning Commons announced a tagline contest in which Western students, faculty, and staff were asked to help create a memorable and positive phrase that captured the Learning Commons mission. The Learning Commons brings together resources and programs to advance teaching and learning, online and across the physical space of Western Libraries. As added incentive and as a show of appreciation, it was also established that the winner of the contest would be awarded a $100 gift card to the A.S. Bookstore.

 

After reviewing over 60 submissions, the winning tagline of: “Connect, Communicate, Create” was selected. The Learning Commons partners agreed that each of the three key words in that phrase successfully captured the Learning Commons’ essence. Unbeknownst to the Learning Commons partners when they chose the winning entry, creator of the tagline, student Kathryn Jensen, also happens to be employed as a Writing Center Assistant.

 

As Learning Commons Director Carmen Werder stated, “I was delighted to find out that Kathryn is one of our very own student staff in her role as a Writing Center Assistant – no wonder she really gets the Learning Commons.  We are very grateful to her for helping us find a phrase that captures the Learning Commons dream.”

 

Jensen explained how she came up with the tagline after she began thinking about the mission of the Learning Commons during a discussion in her first-year intern seminar at the Writing Center.

 

We had been talking about how to establish it as a place students know they can go for all kinds of peer collaboration from working on group projects to writing assistance to math/science tutoring. I realized that the idea of 'connecting' with others was sort of the core of the Learning Commons, and created a tagline that emphasized that,” said Jensen.

 

Werder, who also directs the Teaching Learning Academy (TLA), and Writing Instruction Support (WIS), mentioned how the word “communicate” represents another significant component of the tagline.

 

“We also want everyone to think of the Learning Commons as a place to communicate in genuinely human ways – not only to gain information, but to engage in spirited dialogue about topics that matter most,” stated Werder. For example, “Conversations in Common,” a program that began during winter quarter 2014, is one way the Learning Commons offers the Western community opportunities for both making connections and communicating ideas.

 

Such programs and activities hosted in the Learning Commons naturally lead to the third component of the tagline, which is the word “create.”  Werder noted how she and other Learning Commons partners were “especially thrilled” to see how the winning tagline emphasized “the Learning Commons as a place to create new knowledge, and to create it together.”

 

In addition to Jensen’s winning submission, Carly Roberts, who is also President of Western’s Associated Students (AS), submitted a tagline suggestion that grabbed the attention of the Learning Commons partners. Learning Commons Program Coordinator Shevell Thibou stated that all of the partners were pleased with Roberts’ emphasis on the Learning Commons as a physical gathering space.

 

“We also liked how the phrase ‘gather here’ was both an explanation and an invitation, welcoming everyone into this collaborative space available for connecting, communicating, and creating knowledge,” explained Thibou.  Because of this emphasis, the Learning Commons partners expressed their appreciation to Roberts for her valuable contribution, acknowledging that the tagline and other future marketing materials will also incorporate the part of Roberts’ submission that includes the phrase “Gather Here.” The Learning Commons partners would also like to thank everyone else who participated in the tagline naming contest for offering their submissions. 

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Undergraduate Research Award Winners

Western Libraries is pleased to announce the 2014 winners of the Undergraduate Research Award, which is an annual award given to Western Washington University undergraduate students who demonstrate outstanding library research in the writing of papers for courses taught across the colleges.

It recognizes excellence in undergraduate research papers based on significant inquiry using library resources and collections, and learning about the research discovery and information synthesizing process. 

Members of the 2014 award review committee included: Jeanne Armstrong (Libraries), Margaret Fast (Libraries), Carol Janson (Art), James Inverarity (Sociology), Tilmann Glimm (Math).

The 2014 Award Winners who will receive a cash award of $500.00 and an award certificate are:

  • Kristine Farwell (Economics), “The Impact of the Recent Global Financial Crisis on Microfinance Sustainability.”
  • Audrey Marsh (Biology), “Evolution of the Y-Chromosome in Primates.”
  • Celina Muñoz (History), “The Plague, the Poor, and the Problem of Medicine.”

 

The 2014 Honorable Mention recipient who will receive an honorable mention certificate is:

Jenna Wilson (American Cultural Studies), “Race Representations in Children’s Picture Books and Its Impact on the Development of Racial Identity and Attitudes.” 

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