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Western Libraries Update - July 2020

Posted on: July 24, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Western Libraries Update 

At this time, Western Libraries’ buildings remain closed to library patrons through the summer; however, the library continues to be open online.  As we look ahead to the upcoming academic year, it is too early to know precisely what fall quarter will look like in terms of opening up access to library buildings and spaces. 

We understand the frustrations this uncertainty may cause for those whose plans are  dependent on access to library buildings. Please know that we share these same frustrations and anxieties, and we want to do all we can to meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff in a safe manner. 

At this time, Whatcom County is still in “Phase 2” of Washington State’s “Safe Start” plan. During Phase 2, libraries are not permitted to open their physical buildings to the public but can implement on-site pickup of materials if certain health and safety guidelines are met.  Beginning July 21, Western Libraries began offering online requesting of library materials, with on-site pick up and mail delivery options. This means Western students, staff, and faculty can now request, borrow, and pick up or receive by mail items from the Libraries’ collections. You can learn more about this service at Expanded Phase 2 Services - July 2020. Summit and ILL services are not yet available, but resume when it is possible to do so.

Western Libraries offers a wide range of online resources and services to support teaching and learning. For students, the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio is available online during posted hours of operation. You can connect live to an online meeting, initiate a chat using Ask Us, or send us a draft paper for email response. The Studio staff and librarians are available to answer any of your research and writing questions via chat. Additionally, our online Library Information Tutorials and learning with archives and special collections materials focus on starting a research project, finding and evaluating sources (including local and unique materials), as well as drafting and revising your text. These tutorials and other learning resources are available 24/7.

The Tutoring Center, which primarily supports math and science GURs, also provides online and appointment-based tutoring services. You can find out more about these services and see a full list of the classes supported by visiting the Tutoring Center’s website.

We are paying close attention to all of the health and safety guidance, state mandates, and university decision-making, as things change and new knowledge is shared. Should we reach Phase 3 or 4 in the coming months, the Libraries is working with university leaders in health and safety requirements that must be in place in order to resume library services further. We will communicate new information as soon as it becomes available.

We recognize how difficult and disruptive the COVID-19 pandemic and global response have been in people’s personal and professional lives. We appreciate your understanding as conditions rapidly change and Western Libraries reevaluates its ability to deliver a wide range  programs and services. As we struggle to adapt to the challenges of operating in an  unpredictable environment, we are not always able to provide as much advance notice as we would like. We will continue to share new information via Western Today, on the Libraries’ website, on our social media channels, and also with signage where appropriate.

We ask that students, parents, staff, faculty, and others from the Western community please reach out to us with any questions about access to specific resources, services, or materials at this time. We will do everything possible to find methods and resources to answer your questions and meet your needs, even if our library buildings remain closed. Please see the complete directory of library personnel for more detailed contact information, and do not hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns. If you have general questions or are not sure who to contact, please email

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Stories To Tell: Bi-weekly Interviews Series Begins Tuesday July 7th

Posted on: July 1, 2020


Western Libraries Heritage Resources is delighted to partner with Dr. Dharitri Bhattacharjee and Western C.A.R.E.S. on an upcoming online interview series called Stories To Tell: A South Asian Perspective on COVID-19.  

About the Series

The pandemic has been an unprecedented period of trials and tribulations for many. However, we have also witnessed remarkable instances of connection, creativity, and solidarity in small and big communities, across local, national and global networks. Storytelling and oral histories can be empowering sources of hope and healing during our most agonizing times. Too often, endeavors to document these stories make invisible and render unheard the voice of the minority. Stories To Tell: A South Asian Perspective on COVID-19 is an ONLINE/LIVE bi-weekly interview series which hopes to be a starting point for gathering marginalized voices of people of South Asian heritage from different walks of life. We are living in a historic moment and Western CARES (Outreach and Continuing Education) and Western Libraries Heritage Resources would like to welcome, share and preserve a diversity of South Asian oral histories, mostly from the Pacific Northwest, in this month-long series. Dr. Dharitri Bhattacharjee (South Asian and Indian Ocean historian from Western’s History Department) will talk to students, small business owners, essential workers, community leaders, refugees, academics about their myriad responses to the pandemic.

In addition to capturing local and regional experiences relating to COVID-19, this will be a valuable project in its focus on South Asian voices and perspectives that are too frequently absent or underrepresented in archival collections. South Asians are an important minority community in the USA and they are more than celebrity comedians, CEOs of MNCs or cab drivers. This series will endeavor to capture the diversity in South Asian voices. The interview recordings will be archived by the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (and the South Asian American Digital Archives (SAADA)) and made available to faculty, students and community members in support of research, teaching and learning at Western and beyond.

Join Us For The Interviews

This interview series is open and free to the public via the Zoom platform (registration is required via the Western C.A.R.E.S. website at:
Details: 2 -3 PM Pacific Standard Time on Tuesdays and Thursdays (July 7 through August 6). Interviews will last for 30 minutes followed by Q&A with the audience.

Interview Schedule


For more information, please contact Dr. Dharitri Bhattacharjee at:

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Tutoring Center Summer Services & Hours

Posted on: June 26, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Tutoring Center Summer Services & Hours

person studying in front of a laptopThe Tutoring Center continues to provide all of its tutoring support services online, including support to students for their math and science GURs. During the Tutoring Center’s regular hours this summer (Mon.-Thurs. 12pm - 2pm), students can connect with a peer advisor by clicking on the “Chat with the TC'' link, found on the left side of the Tutoring Center’s main page. Tutoring Center peer advisors are available to answer general questions, match a student up with a tutor, connect students with additional online resources, or make referrals to other services.

Peer advisors have been working to ensure that all of the resources that the Tutoring Center offers are available online, that procedures for connecting students with tutors are recorded and understood, and that students’ questions regarding this new service model are answered. Peer advisors can also assist with answering study skills questions, and students who want more in-depth study skills support will have the option of joining a Zoom room where they can utilize video, audio, white board, or screenshare options.

Additionally, students can access a PDF drop-in card, which provides a full list of tutoring-supported courses, on the Tutoring Center drop-in page.  Online study groups for specific courses are in the process of being scheduled, and more information about those groups can be found on the study group section of the Tutoring Center’s website, and will also be emailed directly to students enrolled in those particular courses.

The Tutoring Center is working hard to ensure students have access to the services they need, but they welcome feedback on how they can do even better.  While acknowledging there will be some new challenges, they are committed to ensuring that the Tutoring Center will continue to be an invaluable resource to students throughout summer quarter and beyond, and they invite you to reach out to them with any questions or comments you may have. For more information about what the Tutoring Center offers, or to chat with a staff member, visit the Tutoring Center website.

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Western Libraries Updated Information for Summer 2020

Posted on: June 8, 2020

Topic(s): Updates

Western Libraries Updated Information for Summer 2020

--Last updated 6/26/2020

Western Libraries continues to follow guidance from Governor Inslee and the State of Washington in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. During Phase 2 of the Governor’s “Safe Start” plan, libraries must remain closed to the public, but are allowed to provide limited access to materials when certain procedural and safety requirements are met. 

The Governor recently issued new Phase 2 guidance specifically for libraries, and that information is being reviewed and assessed to ensure Western Libraries can comply with the necessary requirements while prioritizing the health and safety of all library staff, and the health and safety of all who use the library. Western Libraries is also actively working with the university to acquire the necessary PPE and develop the safety procedures required in order to provide expanded access to library materials. 

There are significant complexities in developing a plan for curbside pickup. Unfortunately, even though we wish things were easier, we cannot simply open the door and lend materials. There are regulations at both the State and local level that need to be followed, including the Phase 2 Curbside Library Services COVID-19 Requirements established by the state. We are using those requirements as a starting point, and we also need to work within Western’s required Safe Start department plan, which was not released until June 15. While we began exploring how we could safely provide curbside access before this, we couldn't begin any real planning until after this point. 

Once we submit our plan to the university, there are an additional five areas of Western that need to review and approve the plan, (Human Resources,  Environmental Health and Safety, Space Administration, Facilities Management, and the COVID-19 Planning unit). Once the plan is approved, then we still need to ensure we have the support, the supplies, and the resources to implement the plan. As we continue our planning efforts, Western Libraries physical building will remain closed to the public through the summer quarter and likely into the intersession preceding fall quarter.

We have extended the due date for all materials currently checked out to September 23. If you have materials you would like to return now, you can return them to the outside drop box under the skybridge near the Haggard Hall entrance to the Libraries. Please note that in order to ensure the safety of our staff, these materials will not be checked in until staff are approved to begin limited work in the buildings. If you have questions about a specific loan, contact the Circulation Desk at

If you have equipment or items from the STC, ATUS, or the Haggard 114 loan desk, please contact Classroom Services at 360-650-3300 or  with questions about due dates. Please do not return any equipment items in the book drop.

At this time, it is too early to know precisely what fall quarter will look like in terms of giving the public (or non-library personnel) access to library buildings and spaces. We understand the frustrations this uncertainty may cause for those whose plans may be dependent on having access to the library buildings in the near future. Please know we want to help, and that we share those same frustrations and anxieties. If you need access to specific resources or materials at this time, or if you have already identified resources you may need in the fall, please reach out to us. While we may not be able to offer you physical access, we will do everything possible to find alternative methods to meet your needs.

We want to support you and help find solutions to your needs, even if we are not able to do that in person at this time. For example, for faculty members wondering about materials, services, and resources you need to support courses you are planning, please reach out to your Subject Team(s). They are eager to help, and can explore and identify options to help meet your needs, whether courses are in person or online.  

Library personnel look forward to expanding services when it is safe to do so, and once protocols to ensure reasonable and safe processes for managing access to physical items are in place. We will share new information about our services as soon we possibly can, via our website, direct email communications, Western Today announcements, and via the University’s Coronavirus FAQ site.   

Until that time, library staff and faculty will continue to collaborate actively with you to provide online resources and services.  Please see the complete directory of library personnel for more detailed contact information, and do not hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns. If you have general questions or are not sure who to contact, please email

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Award for Undergraduate Research Now Available

Posted on: April 21, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Now Accepting Submissions for the Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award 

Western Libraries is currently accepting applications for the 2019-2020 Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award. Awards are given annually to students who demonstrate outstanding library research in the writing of papers for college credit courses taught at Western. Each Undergraduate Research Award winner receives $500.00 and publication in Western CEDAR, Western’s institutional repository. Applications are due by May 18, 2020.

Three people standing near a "Congratulations" sign whole holding awards certificates for the Libraries Undergraduate Research AwardStudents must be enrolled at Western during spring 2020 in order to apply, and are encouraged to enter research and writing projects that they completed either in the spring, summer, or fall of 2019, or from the winter and spring quarters of 2020.

Undergraduate research at Western is a significant way students connect with and explore the world around them. Collaboration between faculty and students is integral to teaching and learning, which Western Libraries encourages by providing the resources and support students need to complete their research. 

“Despite the turmoil around Covid-19 that has resulted in many cancellations, we wanted to make sure this award was still available,” explained librarian and chair of the award committee Gabe Gossett. “We know students are dealing with a lot right now, which is all the more reason for us to recognize and celebrate their hard work. We want the award and the recognition that comes with it to still be possible for students, and we extended the deadline in the hopes that will help.”

Now in its seventh year, the Libraries Undergraduate Research Award has grown to honor research from an array of disciplines. In the past, awards have been given to student research in the areas of Chemistry, Economics, Journalism, and Linguistics and Community Health.  If you are a student who would like to apply for this award, or a faculty member who wishes to nominate a student, please see the full award guidelines and details here.

This year, the Libraries Undergraduate Research Award winners will be announced on June 19, 2020. Questions? Contact us here.


Photo caption: the 2018-2019 winners of the Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award: Tyler Bunker (History),  Samia Saliba (History), and Maggie Newhouse (Political Science).