Western Libraries News

Mapping Mars

 

WWU Professor Melissa Rice will give a talk entitled “Mapping Mars - Our Evolving Vision of the Red Planet,” on Tuesday, April 28th from 4:00 to 5:30 pm in the Map Collection (located in Wilson Library 170). 

 

Only 60 years ago, Mars was thought to be a living world, covered with vegetation that changed with the seasons. Then the Space Age first brought a new view of Mars as a dry, cratered and barren planet. But in more recent decades, with mapping efforts by sophisticated spacecraft, our vision of Mars has continued to evolve into that of a complex and fascinating world. 

 

This event is free and open to the public, and everyone is invited to come and learn more about the mapping, science, and exploration of the Red Planet.

 

Dr. Melissa Rice is an Assistant Professor of Planetary Science at Western Washington University, where she teaches in the Geology Department and the Physics & Astronomy Department. Her research focuses on the sedimentology, stratigraphy and mineralogy of planetary surfaces; the current aim of her work is to help constrain the habitability of ancient environments on Mars. She is a collaborator on the active NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity and Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity missions. Dr. Rice received her Ph.D. in the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University. She was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at the California Institute of Technology.

 

This event is sponsored by Western Libraries, The Planetary Society, WWU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, and WWU’S Department of Geology.

 

For more information, contact Dennis.Matthews@wwu.edu or call the Map Collection at Western Libraries (360) 650 – 3272.

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Steve Mayo Exhibit Extended!

 

In case you haven't seen it yet, a special exhibit of noted Pacific Northwest maritime artist Steve Mayo’s historical watercolors illustrating the voyages of Capts. Vancouver, Cook and Robert Gray to the Pacific Northwest in the late-18th century will remain on display in Special Collections through the end of May.  

 

The exhibit will be available for viewing when Special Collections is open, Monday through Friday between 11am and 4pm, and is co-sponsored by Western Libraries Heritage Resources and Western's Department of Art.

 

Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes Special Collections, the University Archives and the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. Together the three programs provide for responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research.

 

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Fly Fishing @Western Libraries

What do fly fishing and Western Libraries have in common? You might be surprised at the connections between these two seemingly incongruous things!

Professor Paul Piper, who is also Western Libraries librarian for Special Collections, is teaching a Library 320 Class this quarter, “Fly Fishing in American Literature and Culture.” This class explores both the sport and art of fly fishing in American literature and culture, and considers the implications of fly fishing as a cultural phenomenon on gender, race, and environmental concerns by utilizing the fly fishing collection in Special Collections. 

 

After a student in the class mentioned that he had never actually done any fly fishing and thought he could benefit from understanding something of the physical experience, Piper spoke with two professors who are also sitting in and contributing to the class, Woodring College of Education Human Services Professor Dr. Stan Goto, and Huxley College Environmental Sciences Professor Dr. Leo Bodensteiner, about arranging a time for students to experience what it feels like to cast a flyrod.

 

This past Thursday’s sunny afternoon presented itself as the perfect opportunity for the class to engage in some experiential learning activities to help enrich their classroom experiences. Here are some photos of students gathered together on the lawn in from of Old Main first learning some tips from Bodensteiner, and then practicing their casting skills.  

 

“The students seemed thrilled by the kinesthetic experience of holding and handling a fly rod. In subsequent discussion they talked about how it made the conceptual more real.  Several students said they wanted to further pursue it," said Piper.

 

To see more pictures from Thursday's class, check out the Libraries Facebook page. To learn more about Western Libraries  fly fishing collection, which includes: books, periodicals, manuscripts, photographs, artworks, audio and video personal interviews and histories, and fly fishing artifacts such as rods, reels, flies, and fly tying materials, contact: Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.

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1812: Special Exhibit

Heritage Resources and the Center for Canadian-American Studies are co-sponsoring a traveling exhibit commemorating the recent Bicentennial of the War of 1812. The exhibit will be primarily in Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th floor) with some pieces also located on the 4th Floor Rotunda of Wilson Library. The exhibit will be on display and available for viewing from March 30th- May 29th Monday through Friday between the hours of 11:00am-4:00pm (CLOSED Monday, March 25th for Memorial Day).

 

Curated by the Canadian War Museum and delivered to Western through the Canadian Consulate in Seattle, ‘1812’ presents a new and dramatic account of the War of 1812 as seen through the eyes of its Canadian, American, British, and First Peoples participants. The exhibition will give viewers a broad overview of these multiple perspectives using text, images, and graphic design.

 

In conjunction with the exhibit, Dr. Jared Hardesty will give a presentation titled “Expanding our Understanding of the War of 1812: Looking Beyond America’s Border,” on Wednesday, April 15th in Special Collections. This presentation is also being offered as part of Western’s “Active Minds, Changing Lives Week.”

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Heritage Resources Winter Newsletter

The Winter 2015 "community edition" of Heritage Highlights is now available! This issue features several exciting public programming opportunities, new acquisitions - including the papers of civil rights leader Reverend Robert Hughes and records from the Skagit artists’ community of Fishtown - and recent collaborations with local and regional partners such as Huxley College of the Environment and the Pickford Film Center.

Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and the University Archives & Records Management. Together these programs provide for responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research.

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Sharing Student Research

One of the advantages of being at Western is that we have daily opportunities to engage in the learning experience, which reminds us how integral teaching and learning is to all that we do.

Yesterday as part of a Learning Commons "Conversations in Common," students, staff, and faculty had the opportunity to learn from students in Peter Smith's "Introduction to Research Strategies" class, who generously hosted a poster session to showcase the results of their research. Here is just a small sample of some of the students and their posters from yesterday's session.

 

Each student in the class selected a unique subject to explore, which they then researched in stages, applying their individual questions to the scholarly literature and then traveling from inquiry to thesis. Research topics included civil disobedience, sports imagery, careers in Communications, alpine ecosystems, art therapy, media issues, and much, much more. Special thanks to Peter and his Library 201 class for sharing with all of us! 

Library Department: 

New Research-Writing Studio

Western Libraries and the Learning Commons are pleased to announce the merger of Research Consultation and the Writing Center into the Research-Writing Studio, which will integrate academic support in a vibrant learning environment staffed by research consultants and writing assistants.

 

The merger will be accomplished in two phases. The first phase begins with the relocation of Research Consultation and the Writing Center to Haggard Hall East behind the Student Technology Center (STC). The second phase will be implemented by the fall of 2015 when the Research-Writing Studio will move into its permanent space in the center of Haggard Hall adjacent to the STC.

 

 

University faculty have repeatedly identified the development of student research and writing skills as an important role of the Libraries. The Research-Writing Studio, funded exclusively by private donation, will feature flexible furnishings and mobile technologies to facilitate scholarly work and support for core academic literacies such as researching, reading, and writing. Students can work on their academic projects individually, with peers, or with consultants.

 

Featuring innovative pedagogies important to student learning, the Research-Writing Studio will integrate support for academic work, and scholars who use the Studio can receive feedback while they practice their craft.  Research consultants and writing assistants will offer incremental, strategy-based consultations while students work individually or collaboratively within the space.



Over the next few months, you may notice Studio-related changes in the Library.  In addition to the relocation of Research Consultation and the Writing Center to Haggard Hall East, the oversize collection will be relocated to the Wilson Library, and the reference collection will move from Wilson to Haggard 2. Although no major construction is planned, some infrastructure improvements to electrical and lighting will occur over the summer.

For more details on implementation plans, please contact Andrea.Peterson@wwu.edu.

 

 

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Mike Olson and Resource Access

It's no secret, especially among Western Washington University faculty, that access to academic resources is critical to the university's ongoing excellence. In a time when budgets are tight and costs are increasing, it's especially important to find other ways to ensure academic work can continue unabated. That's one reason that Western Libraries recently hired Mike Olson to be director of Scholarly Resources and Collection Services.

 

In the new position, Olson oversees scholarly communications and leads and administers collection development and services at Western Libraries. Providing leadership for the selection and management of collections, he also coordinates the development and promotion of sustainable models of scholarly communication by working closely with library leadership, staff and external stakeholders to advance other digital initiatives.

 

History Professor Amanda Eurich, who served on the search committee that recommended Olson’s hire, said she was struck by his experience and his qualifications.

 

"Mike was on the top of my list when I received the applicant files because of the years of experience he had in collection development," she said. "But even more importantly, he is a committed scholar, engaged in the process of research and writing. Because of this, I felt that he would truly understand faculty investment in library resources."

 

As an academic librarian at a number of institutions, including both Harvard University and UCLA, Olson has been actively involved with scholarly communication and resource access for more than 25 years. Additionally, because he is also an accomplished scholar, he personally understands the importance of securing access to materials that support writing and research needs.

 

"I know firsthand the user’s joy and exhilaration when academic libraries get it right, and the pain and frustration when they don’t," Olson said. "I think Western Libraries does so many things right, and we want to improve whenever we can."

 

The cost of journal and database subscriptions rise about 4 to 6 percent each year, and the budget allocated to pay for them can't keep up.

 

But by negotiating better subscription terms, favoring open access models of scholarly communication and regularly reviewing and adjusting current subscriptions lists, there are things the Libraries can do institutionally to strengthen purchasing power and provide greater access to resources, Olson said.

 

“The acquisitions budget has always been a big problem, especially for people in fields like history, who rely heavily on the library for their research," said History Professor Peter Diehl. "There are journals that are needed, especially those in other languages, which get cut because of a lack of funds. The cost of academic monographs keeps going up but the budget to acquire them does not.”

 

Eurich agreed. While being a member of a consortium such as the Orbis Cascade Alliance has many benefits, she said, sometimes faculty and students just need to grab a book right away.

 

“You could say the library is our lab,” she said. “It is still important to have works on the shelf. We consider ourselves a writing-intensive discipline. Our students are conversant with Summit, but they still sometimes need immediate access to books and other resources.”

 

In addition to his experience and expertise, Olson’s personality and open communication style lend themselves well to facing the challenges that lie ahead. Diehl, who has a friendship with Olson dating back to when they first met as graduate students at UCLA over 30 years ago, spoke highly of Olson’s excellent interpersonal skills.

 

“He works so well with other people, and that’s a real asset. He has successful experience, both with collection development and with people,” Diehl said. “And, on a personal note, he gives me someone to watch football games with!”

 

Olson explained that he has a personal interest in sports, movies, and music.

 

“I’m curious about many other things as well, so that has been useful in my career as a collection development librarian, and when talking with people in higher education. As a native Seattleite and an alum of the University of Washington, I really feel right at home here at Western,” said Olson.

 

Olson emphasized that he is always pleased to meet with faculty to discuss the Libraries’ scholarly resources, and that he wants to encourage anyone interested in these issues to contact him. He intends to spend the upcoming year meeting with faculty independently and in small groups to learn more about how they currently use the Libraries’ resources, and their needs and priorities for the future. These meetings will feed directly into the creation of a “Resource Access Plan,” which will be fully developed this time next year. In looking forward, Olson spoke about the importance of increasing access to information by finding ways to remove barriers to content and scholarship.

 

“I want to enable Western’s students, faculty, staff, and administrators to work more effectively. Also, I want to ensure that our library resources are highly useful and highly-used. I really have one goal, and everything else fits within it: to collaborate campus-wide on rational and transparent ways to provide access to scholarly resources for the Western community,” said Olson.

 

Mike Olson can be contacted by phone (360) 650-4320 or via email Mike.Olson@wwu.edu.

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Western CEDAR’s Global Impact

Did you know that publications from WWU’s faculty, staff, and students, including Western’s Masters Thesis Collection, are being downloaded by people from all over the world? Western CEDAR brings together articles, conference papers, presentations, and book publications, making them accessible to readers who come from locations both near and far to us here in Bellingham. Western CEDAR’s website now includes a dynamic map that shows activity beginning with the previous days’ downloads before switching to real-time activity, so you can see for yourself the global impact of the work we are doing here at Western.


Western CEDAR, part of an innovative global movement promoting open access to scholarship and creative works, is a service of Western Libraries, in partnership with the Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. CEDAR advances Western Washington University’s commitment to enriching academic inquiry and strengthening communities by sharing the expertise and creativity of its students, faculty, and staff.

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Sustainability in the Library

On February 5th, the Tutoring Center and the Map Collection, both housed in Wilson Library, were awarded "Sustainable Office Certification." The Sustainable Office Certification program is offered through Western's Office of Sustainability, and participation in the program creates opportunities for departments and offices here at Western to protect the environment, conserve resources, and promote safety and health through the measurement and recognition of sustainable practices that are adopted in the workplace. 

The Map Collection was first inspired to pursue Sustainable Office Certification after both Western Libraries Circulation Services and the Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) achieved certification. The recent certification of both the Tutoring Center and the Map Collection has subsequently inspired other Learning Commons partners and library departments to also consider participating in this program. 

"I would love it if we could take a look at certification for all of the areas of the library and Learning Commons in both Wilson Library and Haggard Hall. It would be great if we could come together and do this in a unified way, and perhaps even become a model for other buildings on campus to work towards," said Map Collection Manager, Dennis Matthews.

There are resources and toolkits available online through the Office of Sustainability for anyone who is interested in participating in this program. Matthews explained that the certification process is very straightforward, and that the checklist helps participants become more aware of easily-adoptable small actions which turn into natural habits.

In using the checklist, Map Collection staff were able to recognize sustainable practices they had already adopted, as well as identify new practices that could easily be implemented.

"There were some things already done for us, like the lights in the Map Collection already being connected to motion sensors, but there were other things we realized we could implement easily, like printing double-sided, turning off our monitors, little things like that. Carol Berry in the Office of Sustainability was really helpful, as were the TLA students who also advised us," stated Matthews.

Other operational practices in the Map Collection include recycling, using compostable materials, and "up-cycling" maps that would otherwise have been discarded. Maps that are not needed in the Map Collection are first offered to other libraries located both regionally and globally, and then leftover maps are given away to the public. Students at Western have been particularly innovative with these maps, using them for decoration, wrapping paper, and even art projects. Several years ago, a student and artist named Emma Nestvold transformed some of these maps into beautiful works of art that were on display in one of the library art galleries.

While there are a number of benefits to participating in the Sustainable Office Certification Program, one of the positive outcomes that many people may not expect is that participation in the program can also help instill a sense of meaning, purpose, and connection in the everyday actions and routines that make up our daily work-lives.

"When you participate in this program, you not only become more aware of your environment, but also of how your actions affect and connect you to others. It helps you build a sense of community because you feel like you are working towards something a little bit bigger than yourself," stated Matthews.

To learn more about the Sustainable Office Certification Program, see: http://www.wwu.edu/sustain/programs/soc/success-stories/. To learn more about the Map Collection, see the Map Collection library guide, and don't miss the upcoming Open House Event on Wednesday, February 18th from 2 to 4pm in the Map Collection, Wilson Library 170!

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