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Western Libraries Responds

Posted on: April 11, 2018

Topic(s): Updates, Events, 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.”


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Bellingham Pride 2017

Posted on: July 10, 2017

Topic(s): Updates, Events, Feature Stories

Western Libraries & Bellingham Pride

Western Libraries’ staff, friends, and family came together in celebration of “Bellingham Pride” on Sunday, July 9, 2017. Since 2013, participating in  Pride has grown into an annual tradition that many library employees look forward to and enjoy. For the past couple of years, Western Libraries has also walked in the parade and shared a festival table with members of the Bellingham Public Library and the Whatcom County Library System.

"I really do look forward to this every year," said staff member Amy Sedovic. "It is such a family-friendly event and a wonderful way to connect with the wider Bellingham community as a whole.  And the cheers of, 'we love our libraries!' from friends and neighbors along the parade route is very hopeful and heartwarming." Sedovic explained how libraries are seen as “open, welcoming, and affirming places,” and that she feels honored to be a part of that tradition.

As explained by the American Library Association, libraries can serve LGBTQ people by ensuring that they are represented in library collections. Additionally, as a population frequently subjected to discrimination and harassment, LGBTQ people can benefit from access to information and the sense of community libraries provide.  

"I was really excited that the libraries were going to table at Pride," said Emma Winningham, who began working at Western Libraries a little under a year ago. "I knew I had to sign up to be there! It was a great opportunity to connect with our broader community and show that we can work together to support each other.”

Librarian Rebecca Marrall explained that she looks forward to the festival every year because of the chance to connect with the community and raise awareness about the Libraries’ historical and archival collections that feature regional LGBTQ narratives. A poster  featuring some of these collections was on display and served as a popular conversation piece at the festival.

“The Heritage Resources poster was a big hit,” said librarian Sylvia Tag. “Lots of folks commented on the amazing history within our region and community around LGBTQ organizations, artists, and activists as displayed on the poster.”

Western Libraries anticipates increased WWU participation  in the Bellingham Pride events as enthusiasm for such an important and significant celebration grows, and they invite anyone interested to join them next year!  

For more information about the LGBTQ Archival and primary source materials at Western Libraries, contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.


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Connecting Literature to Life

Posted on: March 2, 2017

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories, Exhibits, Resources

Connecting Literature to Life: Childhood Inspiration Comes Full Circle

Keri Krout can still recall the long hot California summers of her childhood, and how they were marked by each arrival from the mail-order Scholastic book club. Krout and her siblings would gather around their mother, eagerly watching as she opened up the cardboard wrapping that encased the book.  But the one book Krout remembers most of all is Andrew Henry’s Meadow, written and illustrated by Doris (Wernstedt) Burn.

“We not only read her story, but I remember studying the pictures for hours and imagining my life in a meadow full of friends,” explained Krout. “My home of choice was the bird house built up in the sky. I imagined what a cool breeze would feel like, and the sound of the birds singing just to me.”

 Andrew Henry's Meadow is the story of a boy who feels ignored and unappreciated by his family and decides to build a special retreat for himself in a nearby meadow. Other children from the neighborhood join him, so he builds houses for them as well, each one customized to complement their interests and hobbies.

“My brother and I attempted to build a pulley system in his bedroom like Andrew Henry built for his younger brothers, but I admit our attempts fell short,” said Krout. She noted that while other books continued to arrive in the mail, it was Andrew Henry’s Meadow that impacted her the most.

“I grew up working with children,” said Krout, who now works as the manager of the Associated Students Child Development Center (CDC) at Western Washington University. “I think perhaps I understand children’s need to have their own space thanks to Andrew Henry.”

Krout recalled how her favorite childhood story resurfaced when she first began working at Western as she walked through The Outback on her way to work. She encountered a small cabin and was astonished to learn its connection to Doris Burn, as the cabin had once belonged to June and Farrar Burn, Doris Burn’s parents-in-law.

“My beginning started with a simple story of the need to create, to escape, to be understood and accepted.  And here I was, standing by the cabin which had belonged to the family of the woman whose life and creating influenced mine in ways I’m sure I can’t count.  I felt a sense of utter gratitude of how life can take a person full circle,” Krout explained.

Krout relayed this experience to some of the families of the CDC, and one of the parents later emailed her about a special exhibition featuring the work of Doris Burn that was on display at Western Libraries. As part of this exhibition, Doris Burn’s daughter, the local author and multi-dimensional artist Skye Burn, was scheduled to give a special public presentation about the life and legacy of her mother. Krout knew immediately she would attend this event, and following Skye’s talk, the two women finally met in person.

“What an honor to meet her daughter and to bask in the glow of creative genius,” said Krout. “How can I begin to even thank Doris and her family?”

Burn’s work continues to speak to readers of all ages, and since her death in 2011, Andrew Henry’s Meadow has been reissued by Penguin’s Philomel Books. The title has also been published and is presently available in translation in Korea, China and Japan.  Andrew Henry's Meadow won the Washington Governor's Art Award and was a Weekly Reader book club selection.

 “Plenty of Things to Do: The Work of Northwest Children’s Author Doris Burn,” will remain on display through March 10th, and is available for viewing weekdays Monday – Friday in Special Collections, (Wilson Library 6th Floor) between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Additionallydigital version of the Doris Burn exhibit is now available online, as are detailed collection guides to the Doris Burn Artwork and Manuscripts and related collections of June and Farrar Burn Papers and South Burn Papers, housed and available at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies

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. These materials help document the cultural and artistic history of the Pacific Northwest region and were created by an artist and writer who sought specifically to engage with the needs, interests, and creativity of a younger audience.

Skye Burn’s talk, “The Strength of a Dream: A Daughter's Portrait of a Northwest Children's Author and Illustrator,” can be found in Western CEDAR and is viewable from this link.


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Summit to Salish Sea in Western CEDAR

Posted on: November 8, 2016

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories, Resources

New Journal Featuring the Work of WWU Huxley College Graduate Students

Open Access Week may be over, but we still have news to share of how Western is contributing to Open Access every single day. Did you know that Western’s Master Theses collection is the most highly-used collection in  Western CEDAR? And now the addition of a brand new journal, Summit to Salish Sea: Inquiries and Essays, demonstrates yet again how WWU graduate students are actively supporting Western’s commitment to enrich academic inquiry and strengthen communities by sharing their work in CEDAR.

This new journal, hosted by Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment and the North Cascades Institute, showcases the work of the students in the Masters of Environmental Education program. Articles are based on the final capstone presentations from the end of the graduate students’ programs, and cover a wide range of subjects related to environmental education.  Submissions in the journal are separated into two formats: speeches and essays, and some are enriched with multimedia.

“Currently, the journal is oriented around the theory and practice of environmental education with a focus on personal stories and revelations arising from teaching and study of the field,” explained journal founder and editor-in-chief, Nick Stanger. “Topics are as diverse as the student body, including forest-based schools, queer theory and environmental education.”

Graduate students from the M.Ed. residency program whose work is featured in S2SS: Inquiries and Essays / photo courtesy of Nick Stanger

 

Stanger is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Education in the Department Environmental Studies. He came to Western two years ago from the University of Victoria, where he recently received his doctoral degree examining transformative experiences and places. He decided to start this journal when he was searching for a way to document, celebrate, and share the tremendous work that his students put into their culminating projects, which are not finalized in the form of traditionally-defined theses. CEDAR seemed like a perfect fit for a number of reasons, including its capability to support a variety of content formats.

“CEDAR gives me the opportunity to include many of my students’ media, including audio, video, and still photographs,” explained Stanger. And as for what inspired the journal’s title? Recognizing the invaluable relationship between the environment and one’s own learning experiences, the title pays homage to both.  As described on the journal site:

 “The students' experience ranges from the summits of the North Cascades to the Salish Sea, a binational location, long recognized for its ecological and cultural diversity. Hosted within the traditional territories of many Coast Salish First Nations, this educational experience influences a rich inquiry into the nuances and complexities of environmental education. Whether students are tackling early childhood environmental education, environmental or education philosophy, or cultural explorations in education, their submissions represent a distinctly powerful Masters experience.”

Graduating students on the day of their capstone presentations ‘Passing the Paddle’ to the incoming cohort.

 

Western currently publishes two journals in CEDAR, (the other one being the Journal of Educational Controversy, hosted by Woodring College), with anticipated growth in this area in the near future. Part of a global movement promoting access to scholarship and creative works, Western CEDAR (an acronym for Contributing to Education through Digital Access to Research) officially launched in the fall of 2014,  as a service of Western Libraries and in partnership with Western's Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

CEDAR serves as a platform to disseminate and promote the research, scholarship, and creative works of Western faculty, students, staff, departments, centers, units, institutes, and programs. There is a social-equity component to Open Access publishing that aligns nicely with the field of environmental education, as barriers which could prevent access to potentially beneficial information are removed, which means research and scholarship shared in CEDAR and created by students, faculty, and staff at Western are made freely available to everyone. By showcasing Western’s scholarly and creative works, CEDAR facilitates their global discovery and promotes sustainable scholarly communication.

“My students are very aware of the limitations of traditional publishing system - and with that - the limitations of environmental education and environmental justice as taught within a university setting,” explained Stanger. “This approach to including their voices within the landscape of environmental education and beyond is an enabling opportunity,” adding that their reactions to the journal have been very positive. 

“It has been surprisingly well-received by the students,” said Stanger. “I think it enhances the quality of their work, knowing that their documents will be seen beyond me and the audience that hears their work during the capstone.”

You can find the latest issue of Summit to Salish Sea: Inquiries and Essays, here:  http://cedar.wwu.edu/s2ss. While there is currently only one published volume available, Stanger is currently co-editing volume two, due out March 2017, with an alum from the program.

For more information about the M.Ed. in Environmental Education program, please see https://huxley.wwu.edu/med-environmental-education. Questions about Western CEDAR? Please contact westerncedar@wwu.edu.


Read more: Summit to Salish Sea in Western CEDAR


Rick and Barbara Osen Endowment

Posted on: April 26, 2016

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories

Osens Establish Endowment for the Advancement of Western Libraries

               Rick and Barbara Osen at the endowment signing celebration, April 5, 2016

 

Earlier this year, Rick and Barbara Osen expressed their wish to make a gift to Western Libraries that would have a lasting impact. On April 5, 2016, members of Western Libraries joined the Osens in recognition and celebration of the establishment of the “Rick and Barbara Osen Endowment for the Advancement of Libraries.”

 

The endowment’s purpose is especially significant for Rick Osen, who worked at Western Libraries for 35 years, holding managerial and administrative positions that involved virtually every area of the organization, including acting Dean of Libraries from 2012 through 2013.  Osen’s decades of dedication and leadership positively impacted the Libraries’evolution and helped shape its future.

 

“It is particularly meaningful that Rick and Barbara should wish to create an endowment to support the professional and organizational development of staff and faculty,” explained Dean of Libraries, Mark Greenberg. “During his long career in the Western Libraries, Rick saw firsthand how advancing people’s skills and understanding advances their careers and improves library services to the Western community.  I am grateful to Rick and Barbara for helping Western Libraries to invest in people.”

 

While at Western, Osen was a strong proponent of professional and organizational development, and he worked to ensure that Libraries personnel had opportunities to advance their knowledge and skills.  Since his retirement in early 2014, Osen has stayed in close touch with his colleagues and has remained a strong supporter of Western Libraries. 

Rick and Barbara Osen joined by their son-in-law Robert and daughter Justyna at the endowment signing celebration.
 
“Rick was always on top of ongoing developments in academic librarianship and provided countless opportunities for library staff to stay current so that we could make use of the best of these ideas,” said Jeff Purdue, Learning Commons and Media Librarian.  “Through this endowment, he has found an ideal way of continuing that focus and demonstrating that though he is retired, his commitment to Western Libraries and the role it plays in the intellectual life of the University continues unabated.”

 

 Proceeds from the Rick and Barbara Osen Endowment for the Advancement of Libraries may be used to pay expenses related to professional and organizational development for Western Libraries faculty and staff through workshops, seminars, and other similar programs.  At their request, preference will be given to professional and organizational development activities that occur at Western.

 

“With an emphasis on funding training or workshops on campus, it allows all staff to benefit from engaging ideas that enhance work performance and facilitate a shared vision for Western Libraries,” said Special Collections Manager Tamara Belts. She added that the expansion of opportunities for individual staff training and development also benefits the Libraries as a whole, because recipients are able to bring back and share what they learn with the organization.

 

Western Libraries Administration looks forward to working together collaboratively and in consultation with Libraries faculty and staff, to identify professional and organizational development opportunities that maximize participation and positive outcomes for individuals and for the Libraries as a whole. 


Read more: Rick and Barbara Osen Endowment


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