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Kristine Rex to Retire from WWU after 39 Years

Posted on: June 29, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories

Kristine Rex to Retire from WWU Libraries

Kristine (Kris) Rex will retire from Western Washington University after 39 years at Western Libraries on June 30, 2020. Kris has been a longtime member of the Cataloging and Metadata Services department of Western Libraries, and she began working as a temporary worker in Cataloging before becoming a fulltime cataloger. She has cataloged every format of material, including music, curriculum, documents, children’s books, serials, rare books, maps, and electronic resources.

“My favorite things are anything that really challenges me, and anything electronic,” stated Kris. “I, along with Tamara Belts, Ruth Steele, and Peter Smith, were the ones who started working with CONTENTdm and metadata standards. With the help of David Bass, I moved the electronic theses from CONTENTdm to CEDAR, which was the first collection in Western CEDAR. And of course, we have moved the rest of the CONTENTdm collections into MABEL now.”

In recent years, Kris has served as the interim Tech Services Representative to the Orbis Cascade Alliance, represented cataloging/metadata interests on the Alma Management Team at Western Libraries, and served as lead cataloger for WWU’s theses, (both electronic and physical).

Members of the WWU MABEL Team, recipients of the WWU 2019 Team Recognition AwardKris also took the lead on the Western CEDAR metadata remediation project, and played a key role in the metadata crosswalking component during the migration of digital collections from CONTENTdm to MABEL. She was a member of the MABEL Team, which received the 2019 Team Recognition Award at Western, and she has spearheaded countless metadata development projects, many of her own devising.

“It has been exciting to me to be able to be at the forefront of all of the digital initiatives and to see them grow, be used and preserved for the future,” explained Kris, adding, “Who would have known that digital assets would be so important during this pandemic?”

Any accounting of Kris’s contributions to the success of Western Libraries and its users will be incomplete, but it must be stated that she has without a doubt had an immense impact on the library and on Western.  Kris has said that a favorite part of her job has been the people she has worked with over the years, and we at Western Libraries will miss her very much. We know that as an organization, we will not be the same without her kind spirit, industrious work ethic, and keen institutional memory. As we are unable to celebrate with her in person at this time, we hope you will join us in wishing Kris all the best in her well-earned retirement.

Read more: Kristine Rex to Retire from WWU after 39 Years

Kim Marsicek to Retire from WWU after 35 Years at Western Libraries

Posted on: June 24, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories

Kim Marsicek to Retire from WWU after 35 Years 

Kim MarsicekKim Marsicek will retire from Western Washington University on June 30, 2020 after working at Western Libraries for over 35 years. Kim started her career at Western Libraries on January 2, 1985 in Circulation Services. As the years passed, Kim’s leadership role in the library grew as she accepted more responsibility, and she eventually became the Circulation Services Manager. She also became the Access Services Manager, and her leadership of Access Services overlapped with several significant changes within the Libraries, many of which impacted the circulation and media desks, the Return Room, and the course reserves program.

One of the milestones changes that occurred in the Libraries during this period was the transition away from the card catalog system to an online catalog system. Also during this period, the Libraries physical footprint expanded as the Mann Family Skybridge was constructed and the library grew to include a large portion of the Haggard Hall building. Additionally, Western Libraries joined the Cascade regional resource sharing program, which became the Orbis Cascade Alliance, the consortium responsible for the Summit borrowing and lending program.

In 2014, Kim transitioned away from her leadership role in Access Services to a leadership role as the first manager of Western’s new institutional repository, Western CEDAR. Western CEDAR is part of a global movement to promote open access to information, research, and scholarly and creative work, and it advances Western’s commitment to enriching academic inquiry and strengthening communities by sharing the expertise and creativity of WWU students, faculty, and staff worldwide.  

When Kim took on the new and unprecedented role of managing Western’s institutional repository, she had an opportunity to shape, inform, and implement best practices, procedures, and operations for this valuable teaching, learning, and scholarly communications tool. Her effective leadership in this area will continue to yield dividends for the university community (and beyond!) for years to come.

Kim has expressed profound appreciation for the opportunity to work with many wonderful colleagues, and noted that many of them have also become cherished friends. She also shared how much she has enjoyed working with student colleagues, and how she has appreciated seeing them grow throughout their journey at Western. Upon retirement, Kim plans to travel the States from coast to coast with her husband, Jerry, and she also hopes to visit several locales in Europe. In addition to frequent travels, Kim plans to spend time with family and friends, and to continue to beautify her home and garden.

Kim’s leadership and service throughout these past 35 years, combined with her remarkable work ethic, her attention to detail, her thoughtful problem-solving, and her delightful sense of humor, are strengths and gifts that will be sorely missed. We at Western Libraries hope you will join us in thanking Kim for everything she has done for Western, and wish her well in her retirement.

Read more: Kim Marsicek to Retire from WWU after 35 Years at Western Libraries

Connie Mallison to Retire from WWU June 2020

Posted on: June 22, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories

Connie Mallison to Retire from Western June 24, 2020

Connie Mallison will retire from Western Washington University at the end of June after fifteen years working at Western Libraries. Connie began at Western on November 1, 2004 in an Administrative Assistant position reporting to then University Librarian Bela Foltin. During her first several years, the university librarian served as the university records officer, which meant Connie was also responsible for managing public records requests.  She worked closely with the assistant attorney general and departments all over campus, and she earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues.  To recognize her accomplishments, in 2007 she was awarded the President’s Exceptional Effort Award for her coordination of Western’s compliance with public records requests.

Over the years, there have been significant changes in Connie’s work, and for many years she also served as the events coordinator for the library.  In thinking about that work, Connie expressed how much she loved being able to help make the events in the library a success, and how she also enjoyed working with so many wonderful people from throughout the university and the community. Connie was also instrumental in developing and bringing the "Canines & Cats on Campus" program to Western. In 2012, Connie received a call from Whatcom Therapy Dogs asking if the library had ever considered allowing therapy animals to visit the students. She talked with then Dean of Libraries Chris Cox about the possibilities, and ultimately they decided to launch the program.  

Students visiting with 'Canines and Cats on Campus' dog and human volunteers“These visits to the Libraries by teams of dogs (and cats) and their owners to support our students during the stressful time at the end of the quarter have become very popular with the students,” Connie noted, adding “I’m happy to have helped make this special program possible.” 

During the time Connie worked at Western Libraries, she saw Special Collections move from the second floor of Wilson to its renovated space on the sixth floor, followed by the addition of  Zoe’s Bookside Bagel cafe into the former Special Collections space. The Learning Commons and Hacherl Research and Writing Studio were also created, and Copy Services relocated to the first floor of Haggard Hall to make room for the Digital Media Center. The Map Collection relocated from Huxley College, and ultimately moved to the renovated space on Wilson’s second floor.  

“It has been fascinating to watch,” she remarked. “The library has been a busy place the last fifteen years, and I don’t expect that to change either!”  As she looks toward the future, Connie shared that “even though I’m excited to take on my next ‘excellent adventure,’ the Libraries and everyone that I’ve had the privilege to work with over these last 15 years will always be very special to me.”

We at Western Libraries are grateful for the opportunity we have had to work with Connie, and she will be greatly missed. And while we are not able to celebrate with her in person at this time, we hope you will join us in wishing Connie all the best for a long, happy, and healthy retirement.

Read more: Connie Mallison to Retire from WWU June 2020

Western Libraries Responds

Posted on: April 11, 2018

Topic(s): Feature Stories

WWU holds event to replace vandalized books

This article is written by Mary Gallagher and is courtesy of the Office of Communications and Marketing at Western. It originally appeared in Western Today on April 10, 2018 and can be viewed here.

Members of the Western community who have responded to the destruction and vandalism of books in Western’s Jewish Studies Collection have replaced the books and grown the collection, illustrating the community’s resolve against acts of antisemitism and other forms of hate, bigotry and violence, said speakers at a Western Libraries event Tuesday morning.

“Whether campus is your home, or you live in Bellingham or beyond, we are all one community,” said President Sabah Randhawa. “We are united in opposition against these acts of antisemitic vandalism, and against all such acts of hatred and bigotry. This kind of cowardly action perfectly illustrates the nature of hate and bigotry, because it flourishes in darkness and withers when exposed to the light of reason and intellectual scrutiny.”

More than 250 students, faculty, staff and community members crowded into the Wilson Library Reading Room for the event, which was a response to acts of destruction and vandalism of books in Western’s Jewish Studies collection.

“The deliberate destruction of library books, along with hateful slurs written in them, constitutes a reprehensible, criminal act that will not be tolerated,” said Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg. Tuesday's show of solidarity, along with replacing the books and adding to the collection, show that as a community, “we vigorously oppose acts of bigotry and hate against the Jewish community and against all minoritized and marginalized groups,” Greenberg said.

The destruction of the books was appalling and upsetting, Randhawa said, in part because “this particular activity occurred in our library, the heart of our institution – of any academic institution – and involved the destruction of the very objects of knowledge itself.”

As outlined in last year’s report from Western’s Taskforce on Preventing and Responding to Antisemitism, Randhawa said, all forms of racism, bias and hate are interconnected and must be fought on a united front.

“Democratic institutions and values are not automatically sustained,” he said. “One of the central mandates of education is to examine what it means to be a responsible citizen and to ensure that human values are appreciated, nurtured and protected. Silence and indifference to the suffering of others, or to the infringements of civil rights in any society, can perpetuate these problems.”

German Professor Sandra Alfers, director of the Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, said that as someone who grew up in post-war West Germany, the destruction of books “conjures up particularly disturbing ghosts from the past.”

“Thanks to the support of many, our shelves in Wilson Library do not remain empty, and so we have replaced books that were destroyed and added traditional and new formats in written, oral and visual form to enhance our collection,” Alfers said. “More than 120 items have been added thus far, some of them not held by any other library in the state.”

But more work needs to be done, Alfers said. Hate crimes and violence against minority groups are on the rise in the U.S. as islamophobia, antisemitism, anti-immigrant sentiment and Holocaust distortion and denial are becoming more common around the globe.

“Reports can be shelved and forgotten,” Alfers said. “So, commit yourself to being engaged, to actively thoughtfully, and respectfully be building bridges, not walls, and creating much-needed change. To seek knowledge and to apply it. Therein lies your – our – responsibility as we stand up in unity to antisemitism, hate and bigotry.”

Read more: Western Libraries Responds

Western Libraries Responds to Antisemitism, Book Vandalism

Posted on: April 3, 2018

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories

New Additions to Library Collections & Invitation to April 10 Event

Since mid-March, the Western Washington University community has been grappling with the discovery of vandalized (and in some cases, destroyed) books within the Libraries’ Jewish Studies collection. While libraries are havens for expression and intellectual freedom, the targeted destruction of Jewish Studies materials because of their subject matter crosses the line from free speech into hateful conduct.  University Police are actively seeking to identify the individual(s) involved in these crimes and to deter further incidents.

In response to these antisemitic acts, the Libraries has replaced the damaged items and added new books to the collection. The University will hold an event at 10 a.m., Tuesday, April 10 to showcase the collection and to come together in a public display of solidarity and support for the rights of readers to access information. This public event will take place in the Wilson Library Reading Room and precedes Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, which begins at sunset on April 11.

Western Libraries is proud to restore the vandalized content and to continue efforts to acquire new resources supporting Jewish Studies. These efforts reflect the Libraries’ ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and its mission to ensure that historically marginalized voices are well represented within our collections.

To that end, and prior to these antisemitic incidents, the Libraries has been actively acquiring content related to Jewish and Holocaust Studies in order to support both The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity,  and Jewish Studies coursework at Western. Recent acquisitions include print books, e-books, digital primary source archives, children’s books, and special collections materials. Also of particular note is a donation from what was formerly the Northwest Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Ethnocide Education, and is now The Ray Wolpow Institue. These materials are discoverable through the Libraries’ OneSearch interface. Users can also browse the virtual Holocaust and Genocide Studies collection, a selection of materials that has been curated over the last several years.

To support the Libraries’ efforts to build and maintain diverse and inclusive collections, please consider donating funds (specify “for Jewish Studies materials”—or another subject area, if desired—in the additional gift instructions) and/or suggesting a specific title for purchase.

Read more: Western Libraries Responds to Antisemitism, Book Vandalism