Celebration of Jack Prelutsky

Posted on: Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 9:25am

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Performance by Poet and Musician Jack Prelutsky: Oct.1

Jack Prelutsky will perform musical poetry from 4:30 -5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1 in Western Libraries’ Reading Room (Wilson Library 4th floor) at Western Washington University. This event is free and open to the public.

In 2006, the Poetry Foundation designated Jack Prelutsky as the nation’s first Children’s Poet Laureate. Prelutsky is best known for his humorous and imaginative verse, and has published over 70 books of poetry.

While Prelutsky has been making words rhyme for more than 45 years, his career began as a folk singer in coffeehouses and with uncertain aspirations of becoming an operatic tenor, and music is deeply entwined with his poetry.  He will perform musical poetry as part of this very special event.  

Jack celebrates the family: Dad, Mother, Baby Brother, and the family dog (who’s clearly a genius), during this performance of recited and sung poems. Jack will also pique the imagination with fanciful creatures, such as the “Radishark” and the “Umbrellaphant.” Then, when everyone’s ready for ANYTHING, his final poem offers an unlikely choice for lunch—hope no one’s hungry!

This special talk is presented by WWU Western Libraries PoetryCHaT, part of the Children’s Literature Interdisciplinary Collection, at Western Libraries.  Complimentary parking for this event is available near the library, in Lot 14G​.

TLA Dialogue Sessions Starting Soon!

Posted on: Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 9:38am

Topic(s): Updates, Events, Resources

Teaching-Learning Academy dialogues begin Oct. 5 & 6

The Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA), the campus-wide dialogue forum to study and enhance the learning environment at Western Washington University, begins the third week of fall quarter. Whether student, staff, faculty, or community member, everyone is invited to participate!

Grounded in the scholarship of teaching and learning, the TLA's central mission is to create a community of scholars who work together to better understand the existing learning culture, to share that understanding with others, and to enhance the learning environment for everyone. Engaged in studying the intersections between teaching and learning, TLA members include faculty, students, administrators, and staff from across the University, as well as several alumni and community members.

The TLA is now in its sixteenth year, and participants continue to report that it’s a great place to connect with others outside of their departments, and to learn more about Western’s teaching and learning culture. Many say it also gives them a chance to take a breath and just listen to what others (especially students) really think. Others express satisfaction in being able to advance real action steps in making Western an even better place to teach and learn.

Fall quarter is when TLA designs its “BIG” question to study for the rest of the year, so it’s a great time to get involved. The TLA welcomes everyone and offers four dialogue group options to accommodate busy schedules: Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 1:20 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 3:20. Dialogue groups begin meeting Oct. 5 or 6, and meet every other week in the Learning Commons (Wilson Library 2 West) for a total of five sessions during the quarter.

While the sessions are 80 minutes long, attendees are welcome to come for whatever time they have available. Many faculty and staff who cannot stay the entire time will participate for the first 50 minutes as there is a logical break then.

For more information, see  To sign up for a regular dialogue group and get on the listserv, email (Students: there is also an opportunity to participate in the TLA for LIBR practicum credit. For more information, contact

The Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) at Western Libraries is a Learning Commons partner and the central forum for the scholarship of teaching and learning at Western Washington University. 

Skye Burn: "The Strength of a Dream"

Posted on: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - 11:01am

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Skye Burn Talk to Launch WWU Exhibit on the Life and Work of Award-Winning Children’s Author and Illustrator Doris Burn

Local author and multi-dimensional artist Skye Burn will speak about the life and legacy of her mother, award-winning children’s author and illustrator Doris Burn, at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, October 11th in Western Libraries Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th floor). The event is free and open to the public.
Skye Burn has worked locally and internationally in the domains of art-infused leadership, social artistry, art-based social change, leadership education and community development. She is co-founder and former director of The Flow Project, a nonprofit organization offering research and education in art-infused leadership, and has served in multiple capacities on UNESCO-sponsored projects and initiatives.
During her presentation, entitled “The Strength of a Dream: A Daughter’s Portrait of a Northwest Children’s Author,” Skye Burn will provide a portrait of family stories, impressions, and memories of Doris Burn, including how her mother came to realize her life-long dream of becoming a children’s author and illustrator.
The event marks the launch of an exhibit featuring original manuscripts and artwork created by Doris Burn which will open at Western Washington University on Monday, October 3rd and will run through March 10th, also in Western Libraries Special Collections. It will be available for viewing weekdays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., excluding weekends and holidays, and is also free and open to the public.
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. She also wrote the much-loved favorites The Summerfolk, and The Tale of Lazy Lizard Canyon, and served as illustrator for a range of other well-known children’s works.
The exhibit incorporates manuscripts and artwork, and explores some of the themes and aspects of Doris Burn’s work that have connected with readers across generations. The pieces on display were selected from a far larger collection of Burn’s original works, which were donated to Western Libraries Heritage Resources in 2015 as a gift of the Burn Family via the Doris Burn Legacy LLC.

The talk is being offered as a Heritage Resources Distinguished Speakers program, which are quarterly events featuring presenters who are authorities in their respective fields and who have used Heritage Resources collections significantly in their research. 

I'll Fly Away

Posted on: Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 2:01pm

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Gloria Burgess to Present "I'll Fly Away: A Sojourn Through Poetry and Spirituals"

Award-winning poet, performer and distinguished scholar Gloria Burgess will explore the rich heritage of African-American spirituals and poetry at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4 in Room 16 of Western Washington University’s Performing Arts Center.The presentation is free and open to the public.

During this interactive presentation, Burgess will discuss the literary and artistic forms of spirituals and poetry that tied communities together socially and artistically during slavery, and continue to enrich the multicultural fabric of our state today through the work of contemporary African-America poets, musicians and artists. This sojourn through words and music will cover the sometimes hidden meanings of specific spirituals and poems, including how the art helped people cope as they were transported from one continent, and one culture, to another.

Burgess has presented keynotes, master classes, and artistic tributes focusing on African-American, African, and other oral traditions for over 30 years. She has presented, consulted, and performed in a variety of venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Washington National Cathedral, the Kenyan Parliament, and the South African Embassy in Switzerland. Burgess holds a doctorate in Performance Studies from the University of Southern California, and has served as regular and visiting faculty at universities in Washington and California. She is a Poetry Fellow with Cave Canem, a prestigious collective of poets and writers of the African diaspora, sponsored by the American Academy of Poets.

This special talk is presented by Humanities Washington, which offers a roster of cultural experts and scholars who provide low-cost, high-quality public presentations across the state, encouraging audiences to think, learn, and engage in conversation. The event is being co-sponsored by Western Libraries and the Western Washington University Departments of English, Liberal Studies, and Music.

Student Celebration 2016

Posted on: Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 11:01am

Topic(s): Updates, Events, Feature Stories

Western Libraries Celebrates its Student Employees

On Friday May 13, 2016, students, staff, and faculty from Western Libraries  gathered in the Reading Room for the Libraries' annual celebration held in recognition of our wonderful 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 fifteen recipients of the Herb and Beth Hearsey Scholarship.

The Herb and Beth Hearsey Scholarship is awarded annually to current full-time students who are employees of Western Libraries and who demonstrate merit on the basis of their scholarship applications and letters of reference. Herb Hearsey was a reference librarian at Western in 1941, and while working at Wilson Library he was charged with developing an effective program of library instruction for students. In 1995, Herb Hearsey, together with his wife Beth Hearsey, established an endowment to ensure that future generations of library student assistants are recognized for their important work.

Student staff have always been an essential part of Western Libraries. When Wilson Library’s namesake and Western’s first librarian Mabel Zoe Wilson first began working at Western, she was the only full time library employee for 10 years, and all additional library staffing needs were met by student employees. Today, Western Libraries has over 60 full time staff members, but during this past academic year, we also employed 112 students.

The Libraries’ student staff work in every area of the library and are engaged in a number of indispensable duties, such as scanning materials for interlibrary loan, special collections, and electronic reserves, as well as helping us manage our service desks. Library student employees  shelve, retrieve, and deliver books and other materials, and they create and contribute to the design of our outreach and promotional materials. They help facilitate the Teaching-Learning Academy dialogue sessions, and they work as peer advisors in the Research-Writing Studio. Individually and collectively, student employees enrich the library’s teaching and learning environment with their valuable insights, experiences, and perspectives.

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 Simon Bakke in recognition of the number of ways he has provided outstanding service tot he Libraries, both as a Learning Commons Liaison and as the Libraries' Graphic Artist. 

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 includes 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.

Miriam Snow Mathes, a professor of library science at Western, established an endowment  in 1998 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  they have been held annually every spring since then. 


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