Western Libraries News

Utamaro and His Five Women

Masters of Japanese Cinema Series

Masters of Japanese Cinema  continues on Tuesday, December 1st at 6:30pm with Utamaro and his Five Women, Mizoguchi Kenji’s portrait of the famous ukiyo-e artist Kitagawa Utamaro, and the social world around him in 18th century Edo (Tokyo).


Utamaro and His Five Women is the second film that Mizoguchi made after the end of World War II during a time when the Japanese film industry was under strict control of the occupation authorities.  Period films in general were frowned upon, but according to Donald Richie and Joseph Anderson (authors of the book, The Japanese Film: Art and Industry), Mizoguchi was able to get permission to make Utamaro by promising to make another film about women’s rights.  That film, The Victory of Women, came out first in spring, 1946, with Utamaro coming out at the end of that year.


Utamaro has often been considered somewhat of an autobiographical testament by Mizoguchi who studied painting himself, as Kurosawa Akira had also done.  There is a spirit of fun in this film, but it also features a sensitivity to the diminished social status of women.  This sensitivity is present in nearly all of Mizoguchi’s films, whether they are modern or period dramas.


Co-sponsored by Western Libraries and the Pickford Film Center, the Masters of Japanese Cinema series is one of the Pickford's longest running and most loved series. Jeff Purdue, who is both a librarian at Western and also the series curator, consistently selects some of the best films in World Cinema, featuring movies that span both decades and genres.


Each film in the series begins with an introduction from select speakers including local professors, artists, and educators.  Tonight’s film will be introduced by Julia Sapin, a professor of Art History at Western whose research focuses on the intersections of art and design in Japan during the Meiji period (1868-1912).  She teaches a wide range of courses on Asian and Pacific art history, and is chair of the Art Department.

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"Canines on Campus" Return!

"Canines on Campus" Program Visits the Library

Western Libraries will again be joined by members of the “Canines on Campus” registered therapy animal program, (formerly known as “Pet Partners,”) from November 30th through December 10th. 


The therapy animals who are part of the Canines on Campus program are registered through several different agencies and have met certain standards of skills and aptitude. Whatcom Therapy Dogs and Dogs on Call are the two organizations which provide volunteers to the Canines on Campus program. Teams of humans and animals (which still include Smokey the cat!) will be located in the gallery space at the end of the Skybridge on the Wilson side of the library off and on between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. during both the week preceding and the week of final exams. 

During this two-week period, this space will be reserved exclusively for the registered Canines on Campus therapy animal program, and animals who are not official Canines on Campus volunteers are not permitted in this area. Additionally, Western Libraries would like to remind everyone that while ADA service animals are welcome in the library, animals that are pets may not be brought into library facilities at any time.


For more information about the upcoming Canines on Campus visit, a schedule which includes the names of the volunteers, photos of the animals, and the times when they will be available for visiting, will be posted on an easel in the designated gallery area beginning the morning of Monday, November 30th. Stop by the library to say hi or de-stress when you are in need of a break from studying for finals, working on projects, or writing those last few papers!

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Open Access News

Open Access News @WWU: Western CEDAR Updates

Western Washington University launched its Institutional Repository known as  Western CEDAR  in the fall of 2014. Part of a global movement promoting open access to scholarship and creative works, Western CEDAR is a service of Western Libraries, in partnership with Western's Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

During the past year, content in Western CEDAR has grown to include 108 faculty research pages, 26 departmental pages, 441 theses, 111 Scholars Week poster sessions, and the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. By the end of this past October, scholarship contained in CEDAR had been downloaded worldwide over 65,000 times.


Western Libraries has taken an active leadership role in managing CEDAR day-to-day, teaching interested faculty, staff, and students about the software’s many capabilities, and educating them on their intellectual property rights and responsibilities. Western CEDAR advances the University’s commitment to enriching academic inquiry and strengthening communities by sharing the expertise and creativity of its students, faculty, and staff worldwide via the Web.


Recently the Institute for Watershed Studies (IWS) collaborated with Western Libraries to add their collection to CEDAR. The IWS supports research on freshwater lakes, streams and wetlands, including Lake Whatcom, which is the primary drinking water source for the City of Bellingham and parts of Whatcom County.

The City of Bellingham and Western have worked together on investigations of the water quality in Lake Whatcom since the early 1960s. Beginning in the 1980s, a monitoring program was developed by the City and the IWS to provide long-term water quality data for the lake and its tributaries. Having the IWS collection in Western CEDAR means that this information is now accessible for anyone to search, find, and use.


This past summer, back issues of the interdisciplinary peer-reviewed Journal of Educational Controversy were also added to the repository. The next issue is scheduled for publication directly in CEDAR sometime this fall, and will include an article which examines the benefits, pitfalls, and sustainability of open access publishing.


For more information about Western CEDAR, contact Scholarly Communications Librarian Jenny Oleen or Western CEDAR Manager, Kim Marsicek.

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Digitization of Artists' Works

Washington Rural Heritage Grant Award 

Thanks to a $5,000 Washington Rural Heritage Grant,  Western Libraries will be digitizing the correspondence, photographs, sketches, and papers of three prominent Pacific Northwest artists: Guy Anderson, Charles Stokes and Louis Mideke. 


Once digitized, this content will be added to Heritage Resources’ digital collections, as well as the Washington Rural Heritage website, making these materials publicly available for use in research, teaching and private study.


Julia Sapin, chair of Western’s Art department, noted the significance of obtaining the Anderson materials.


“Guy Anderson was a leading figure in the Northwest School of painting and drew attention to this region through his form of abstract expressionism,” Sapin said. “It is a boon to our library’s collection to have this esteemed gift among its offerings, and Western students, as well as students and scholars from across the country, will be able to make use of this resource and increase their understanding of Anderson’s practice and community.”


Western Libraries Heritage Resources is partnering on the project with the Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner and the LaConner Public Library System. Washington Rural Heritage is a collaborative digitization program headquartered at the Washington State Library that brings together unique local history materials from libraries, museums and the private collections of citizens across Washington State.

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Exhibition: Canada's Arctic

Canada's Arctic: Vibrant and Thriving

Canada’s Arctic: Vibrant and Thriving, a traveling exhibition of contemporary photographs of the Canadian Arctic, is now open at Western Libraries. This unique exhibition offers audiences a brief glimpse into the lives of Northerners, while showing a perspective of the environment and activities that help shape and influence this vibrant region.


Canada’s North is a region as vast as it is diverse. Modern conveniences exist alongside thriving traditional cultures in a region that faces both challenges and opportunities. Canada and its partners in the Arctic Council face the challenge of trying to ensure sustainable economic and environmental development throughout the circumpolar region with lasting benefits to the health and well-being of Northerners and Northern communities. 


The exhibition is open for public viewing Monday through Friday (excluding holiday closures) from 11:00am to 4:00pm in Western Libraries Special Collections (6th floor Wilson Library) from now through December 11th. A special selection of maps related to this region will also be on display in Western Libraries’ Map Collection (1st floor Wilson Library).


Exhibition sponsors are Western Libraries Heritage Resources, Western Washington University’s Center for Canadian-American Studies; Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.


For more information about this exhibition, contact Western Libraries Special Collections Manager, Tamara.Belts@wwu.edu; (360) 650-3193



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Special Collection Donated to Western

New Collection Features Doris Burn Artwork & Manuscripts

Siblings Skye, Lisa, and Mark Burn introduce Librarian Sylvia Tag to a portfolio of Doris Burn's drawings that now form part of the collection donated to Western Libraries.


Western Libraries has received a new collection of materials from noted children’s author and illustrator Doris Burn. A long-time resident of the San Juan Islands, Doris (Wernstedt ) Burn authored and illustrated the 1965 classic Andrew Henry’s Meadow, which won the Washington Governor’s Art Award. Burn also wrote The Summerfolk and The Tale of Lazy Lizard Canyon, and served as illustrator for a range of children’s works that are included in and documented through this donation.


Examples of some of the books and materials that are now part of the new collection.


The collection is a gift from the Burn family to Western Washington University via the Doris Burn Legacy LLC, and contains first-edition copies of children’s works written or illustrated by Burn, manuscripts and original artwork prepared for titles including Andrew Henry’s Meadow, and a number of unpublished and hitherto unseen manuscripts and drawings.


“This donation allows us to preserve the work and legacy of a noted children’s author and illustrator,” said Archivist Ruth Steele. “These materials are an important addition to the unique and rare collections held by Western Libraries.”


Skye, Lisa, and Mark Burn share memories of their mother's work with librarian Sylvia Tag and Archivist Ruth Steele.


These materials help document the cultural and artistic history of the Pacific Northwest region and were created by an artist and writer who sought specifically to engage with the needs, interests, and creativity of a younger audience. Burn’s work continues to speak to readers of all ages, and since her death in 2011, Andrew Henry’s Meadow has been reissued by Penguin’s Philomel Books. The title has also been published and is presently available in translation in Korea, China and Japan.


The collection of materials from the Burn family will be preserved and made available for research and use through Western Libraries Heritage Resources, in association with the Children’s Literature Interdisciplinary Collection, and is a valuable addition to the Libraries’ holdings. The Libraries promotes active use of these holdings by faculty, staff and students and also welcomes community members who may be interested in exploring these and other collections.

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Undergraduate Research Award Winners

Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award Winners for 2015 Announced!

Winners of the Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award were honored at a small reception held in Western Libraries Special Collections on Friday, June 5, 2015, during which Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg publicly recognized each student for their work and presented the awardees with their award certificates. Also in attendance were members of the 2015 Undergraduate Research Award review committee, friends and family members of each of the award-winning students, and the students’ faculty mentors.


Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award is given annually to three Western Washington University undergraduate students in recognition of their excellence and originality in creating research papers for courses taught across the colleges based on significant inquiry using library resources and collections. Each winner of the Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award receives a certificate, a cash award of $500.00, and publication of their prize-winning paper in Western CEDAR, Western Washington University’s institutional repository.


Award applicants must demonstrate outstanding library research in the writing of their research papers, and winners are selected by an award review committee consisting of a variety of faculty members from Western Libraries and other disciplines at Western. Members of the 2015 award review committee included: Jeanne Armstrong (Libraries), Javier Berzal de Dios (Art), Amanda Eurich (History), Margaret Fast (Western Libraries), and Jeff Purdue (Western Libraries).



The three 2014-2015 winners listed below with their paper titles and faculty mentors are:




Andrew Hoffman

Title: Computational Chemistry in Rational Material Design for Organic Photovoltaics

Mentor:  Tim Kowalczyk, Assistant Professor, Chemistry








Corena Sharp

Title: Responding to Sex Workers’ Rights as Workers’ Rights: Reducing Sex Trafficking in the Dominican Republic

Mentor:  Babafemi Akinrinade, Associate Professor of Human Rights, Fairhaven College






Ashley Weyers

Title: Taking Back Birth: Alternative Birth Professionals Empowering Women in Childbirth

Mentor:  Jen Lois, Professor of Sociology





Congratulations to these three remarkable students for all of their accomplishments!

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Student Celebration 2015

Western Libraries Celebrates its Student Employees 

This past Friday May 29, 2015, staff, faculty, and students from Western Libraries  gathered in the Reading Room for the Libraries' annual student celebration held in recognition of our wonderful, hard-working, and amazing student employees who help make the library all that it is each and every day. We were also honored to be joined by members of the Hearsey family, who helped us celebrate and recognize the twelve recipients of the Herb and Beth Hearsey Scholarship.  


Every year, Western Libraries chooses one student employee from among the graduating seniors who has distinguished themselves from their peers by demonstrating unusual imagination, interest, and capability in providing outstanding service. This year’s Mabel Zoe Excellence in Student Service Award was presented to beloved student employee Kali Legg in recognition of the numerous ways she has provided outstanding service as a Learning Commons Liaison, a Writing Center Assistant, and a Research-Writing Assistant.


Graduating seniors were also recognized for their dedication and hard work while student supervisors spoke about their seniors’ unique contributions to the Libraries as well as the students’ aspirations and hopes for their lives following graduation.

In addition to the speeches and award presentations, the celebration also included dinner, cake, quite a bit of laughter, lots of hugs (and maybe even a few tears), before concluding with the much-loved tradition of the gift basket give-away.

Always a special night for us at Western Libraries, we wanted to share with you some images from that memorable evening, and take this opportunity to thank all of our students once again for all they do and all they are.

The Herb and Beth Hearsey Scholarship is awarded annually to current full-time students who demonstrate merit on the basis of their scholarship applications and letters of reference. Awardees must also be student employees at Western Libraries for a minimum of 8 hours a week for at least one quarter prior to applying. Herb Hearsey was a reference librarian in Wilson Library in 1941 who was charged with developing an effective program of library instruction for students, and in 1995, he and his wife Beth Hearsey established an endowment to ensure that future generations of library student assistants are recognized for their important work.


In 1998, Miriam Snow Mathes, a professor of library science at Western, established an endowment to fund both the Western Libraries annual student recognition event and also the Mabel Zoe Wilson Excellence in Student Service Award. The first Western Libraries Student Celebration was held in 1999, and have been held annually every spring since then. 


For more photos from this special evening, see Western Libraries' Facebook page.

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Libraries' Role in Publishing

Rebecca Marrall & ALA 2015 Emerging Leaders Project: Libraries' Role in Publishing

Western Washington University’s Rebecca Marrall was recently selected as one of the American Library Association's (ALA) 2015 Emerging Leaders. According to the American Libraries magazine, the Emerging Leaders program recognizes the “library world’s rising stars” by annually selecting 50 of the “best and brightest” library professionals and paraprofessionals with fewer than five years of library experience to participate in project-planning groups and serve in  leadership roles in their profession.


“It’s an incredible honor to participate in this program,” said Marrall. “I was one of only two people selected from the Pacific Northwest region, and the topic I get to explore with my project group is timely, fun, exciting, and challenging.”


Marrall’s project is sponsored by RUSA (Reference & User Services Association), and in addition to Marrall, the team consists of four other Emerging Leaders. Since January 2015, the team has collaborated online and across time zones to explore their project topic: an examination of the role of libraries in the publishing cycle. Marrall explained that although their project title was originally “Library as Publisher,” as the team delved deeper into the research process, it became clear that libraries engage in a wide range of publishing-related activities.


“Once we began working, we discovered that the phrase ‘Library as Publisher’ was actually too limiting because it did not fully address all the roles that libraries fulfill in the publishing cycle,” said Marrall.


The Emerging Leaders team started their work by conducting an environmental scan to create a snapshot of how a variety of different libraries (including public, government, academic, or archival libraries) have been participating in the publishing process. Whether through supporting author research and content creation, publishing both printed and online content, disseminating and curating publications, or promoting best practices by educating content creators about both Open Access and copyright, libraries have become increasingly involved in the publishing process.


“We identified four main aspects of the publishing cycle and realized that many libraries have some sort of role in this cycle. The ubiquity of libraries’ publishing activities is quite profound,” said Marrall.


According to Marrall and her team members, the four service areas where libraries play a role in publishing are: education and instruction; development and editing; product design and production; and marketing and dissemination. Marrall and her team members also conducted a national survey among library professionals about their information needs and library publishing services. The team intends to host a poster session about the Emerging Leaders experience at an upcoming national conference, and then will also share both the results of the national survey and the environmental scan with the Reference & User Services Association Board, who will use the information to determine future directions within the organization. Marrall explained how this project not only provides an opportunity to share information with libraries on a national level, but that it will also be useful locally here at Western.


“I definitely see some overlap with some of the work my Emerging Leaders team is doing and with the work we are doing here at Western Libraries; the findings thus far are certainly relevant to things like CEDAR,” stated Marrall, referring to Western’s institutional repository. “This really is an evolving phenomenon. The 21st-century library is not merely a storehouse for information. It doesn’t mean libraries no longer have that role; rather, it means that libraries have expanded to include so much more.”


Marrall and her team members plan to present their findings to RUSA by July 10, 2015, and then hope to share their results with a wider audience shortly thereafter.


For more information about this project, contact Rebecca.Marrall@wwu.edu.


Rebecca M. Marrall is the Discovery Services Librarian at Western Libraries. In addition to participating in credit instruction and in the Research-Writing Studio, she leads the Resource Discovery Unit and chairs the OneSearch Management Team (the latter being the Libraries catalog interface management working group). After graduating with her MLISc from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa in 2010, Marrall accepted the Diversity Resident Librarian position at Western Libraries. Research interests include: diversity and inclusion practices in LIS settings, library instruction, and user experiences.

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