Library Wide

Appears on the Front Page

Sharing Research Through Conversations

Conversations in Common - Introduction to Research 


When Western students have the opportunity to engage in meaningful research that they later share with others, they not only learn valuable research skills, but they also enrich the university community by allowing others to benefit from the results of their work.


Recognizing the multiple benefits of creating such opportunities for sharing, Research and Instruction Librarian Peter Smith has turned the final day of his Library 201 “Introduction to Research Strategies” course into a poster exhibition during which students present their research findings as part of a “Conversations in Common” event hosted in the Learning Commons.









Students in Smith’s class selected their own unique subjects to explore, which they then researched in stages, applying their individual questions to the scholarly literature and traveling from inquiry to thesis.

Learning Commons Coordinator Shevell Thibou commented on how much she enjoyed working with the Library 201 students during the Learning Commons sponsored Research-Writing workshops that she facilitated as part of this course. She noted that often students began with an assumption which ultimately evolved into something quite different from their original conception.

“What was also great about this is that often students would end up wanting to know even more about their topics as their perspectives changed because of their research,” said Thibou. “Watching them demonstrate that initiative and create opportunities to learn even more, to move beyond not just where they started but also where they left off with their research project was really exciting.”

Smith noted how expanding the students’ possible audience beyond the confines of the classroom affected their research and scholarship experiences.  

“The students know they have to create something for an audience that is different than their instructor,” explained Smith. “The whole idea is to create a ‘public’ exhibit, which changes their whole approach. I have seen students become more engaged with tackling their research when they know they have to not only construct a poster based on their findings, but also be able to stand by it and explain it to someone who may know nothing at all about their topic.”










Research topics varied widely, including subjects taken from current events, educational, social, or environmental issues. Some students selected their research topics based on their personal interests or career aspirations.

For example, Felicity Shomer chose to examine the effect of Theatre Arts programs on high school students with special needs, and during her research she discovered multiple positive impacts to implementing such programs, in addition to learning how to integrate some of these practices into the classroom. She remarked that this information will help her as she pursues her “dream job” of teaching theatre to students with special needs.








With each recurrence the Library 201 poster exhibit has increased in popularity among Library and Learning Commons faculty and staff who often come away from the sessions having learned something new themselves, and who have begun to look forward to this event as an opportunity to learn directly from students.

“Getting an opportunity to learn from our own students here at Western, to listen to them engage thoughtfully and enthusiastically about their work, really demonstrates how the teaching and learning experience is so dynamic and interactive,” said Thibou.  “I am also really glad we have a program like ‘Conversations in Common’ to serve as a venue for students, faculty, and staff to connect with each other and as part of the teaching and learning experience.”

Conversations in Common is an initiative sponsored by Western Libraries and the Learning Commons to create opportunities for people to engage in informal dialogue and learn more about various resources and programs at Western. For more information about this event or about the “Conversations in Common” program, contact:


Library Department: 

Heritage Resources Newsletter

The 2015-2016 Fall/Winter issue of Heritage Highlights is now available! In this issue, we explore various forms of writing for, about and by children, as evidenced in the collections of Western Libraries Heritage Resources. Featured holdings include songbooks and sports booklets from Western's days as a normal school for teachers, the papers of noted children's author and illustrator Doris Burn, and rare items in the Poetry for Children and Teens collection.

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.

Image: rare item from the Poetry for Children and Teens collection, housed in Special Collections.

Contact Person: 

Faculty Materials Review

Western Libraries holds review of withdrawn materials


As part of its regular review process of library materials, Western Libraries at Western Washington University will hold a faculty review of materials that have been withdrawn from the library collection during the summer and fall quarters.


Some of these resources are being withdrawn because they are duplicated in the library’s collections or have been replaced by a newer format/edition.  Others are being withdrawn because library faculty consider them no longer needed for the collections.


All faculty members are welcome to review the withdrawn resources from Friday, Dec. 4, to Friday, Dec. 11, by appointment. In accordance with state law, withdrawn resources may be transferred to university departments but cannot be given to individuals. To arrange an appointment to review the material, contact Kate Cabe either by phone at 650-6740 or via e-mail

Contact Person: 
Library Department: 

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.

Contact Person: 
Library Department: 

"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!

Contact Person: 
Library Department: 

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.

Library Department: 

Floating Clouds

Masters of Japanese Cinema Series 

This year's Masters of Japanese Cinema Series begins Tuesday, November 10th at 6:30pm at the Pickford Film Center with a screening of Naruse Mikio’s  award-winning film Floating Clouds.


Floating Clouds made a clean sweep of the prestigious Kinema Junpo awards in 1956, winning best actor (Mori Masayuki), best actress (Takamine Hideko), best director, and best film. 


Based on one of the final works by Naruse’s favorite source novelist, Hayashi Fumiko, the story involves the love affair between Yukiko (Takamine) and a married man (Mori), starting during World War II in French Indochina and continuing through the privations of the postwar years.  Mori plays his traditional role of the weak-willed man whose choices (or lack thereof) affect those around him, and Takamine gives one of her best performances, showing why she is considered one of the greatest of Japanese actors.


Floating Clouds will be introduced by David Gray, who is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Film Studies in the English Department at Western Washington University.


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. 

Contact Person: 
Library Department: 

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.

Contact Person: 

October, Events, Archives, & More!

What's Happening @Western Libraries?

It seems like October is always busy here at Western Libraries, and this fall is no different! We began the month with a Grand Opening celebration of the Research-Writing Studio, and then the very next week marked the beginning of this year's TLA  sessions. 


The Dr. Leslie E. Spanel Planetarium has announced their fall line-up with plenty of shows scheduled in October, and Western launched the Campus Equity and Inclusion Forum with a special event held in the Wilson Library Reading Room on October 15th. 


Additionally, the compelling photographic exhibition, Canada's Arctic: Vibrant and Thriving, now on display in Special Collections, had a fascinating complementary panel discussion on Oct. 22nd entitled "One Arctic or Many?" during which panelists considered questions of boundaries in the Arctic

You might not know this, but October also happens to be Archives MonthWestern Libraries Heritage Resources Tumblr has been posting new content every day featuring archival content highlighting some of the unique and fascinating tidbits from the history of our region and WWU. For example, did you know Western used to hold a pie-eating contest as part of the "Campus Day" celebration?

October 19-25th is Open Access Week. Observed internationally, Open Access Week is designed for the academic and research community to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access. Check out Display Case Number 2 by the Wilson Library North Doors to learn more and remember that all of the materials in that case are available for borrowing! Additionally, you can glimpse into some of the ways Western is involved with Open Access by exploring Western CEDAR.  

Western Libraries is participating in this year's Fall Family Open House on September 24 by offering special Saturday access to the exhibition of Canada's Arctic, and by hosting open houses in the Map Collection and Special Collections from 11am to 4pm. The Research-Writing Studio will also showcase its services at 3:30pm, while offering refreshments of cider and donuts! The ever-popular Canines on Campus, a certified service animal program, will be available for visits in their usual spot at the end of the Skybridge between the hours of 1pm and 4pm. 


Additionally, Garth Amundson's very talented Art 371 students are currently showcasing their visually-striking creative works in the windows of Wilson 3, 4, & 5 East as part of "Fast-Forward Reverse," (available for viewing now through November 4th). 


WWU Professor Laura Laffrado kicks off this year's Heritage Resources Distinguished Speakers events with a talk on October 27th at 4pm about the talented writer Ella Higginson, who was once quite famous and then nearly forgotten--until now, that is! Trust us, you don't want to miss this special event! 


We are also very pleased to share that this year both the Munro Seminar for Civic Engagement and Western's Sustainability Awards celebration are being held in the Wilson Library Reading Room. 


And we haven't even gotten to November yet...


If you are interested in learning more about events @Western Libraries and the Learning Commons, check out our online events calendar or check out the Library News.

Library Department: 


Subscribe to RSS - Library Wide