Students, You Can Help Us!

Posted on: Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 2:25pm

Topic(s): Updates, Events, Resources

Please Help Us Improve the Library Website


Western Libraries is currently working to develop a new and improved website, and YOU can help!

We hope you can share a few minutes of your time and help us determine what changes we should make to improve the experience of using the Libraries’ website.  

The Libraries will host a "Usability Outreach Table" in the library on the second floor of Haggard Hall (near the Circulation Desk) from 1pm to 3pm on Oct. 19, 20, 25, & 26. 

Your feedback from participation in user testing will directly inform subsequent development decisions and will give us useful information that we will incorporate into the website design. So please consider dropping by to share your important feedback with us, or feel free to contact us to arrange another time that is convenient for you. 

We appreciate your help! For more information, please see  or email

Creating Open Education Resources

Posted on: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 3:01pm

Topic(s): Updates, Events, Resources

Interested in creating your own textbook which can be shared with students at no cost to them?  

Join the editors of the new textbook, The Research Process: Strategies for Undergraduate Students, as they discuss how they created an edited anthology, collaboratively written by specialists across the library, to support undergraduate student research.

This special event is being held as part of Open Access Week, and is geared towards faculty and instructors who may be interested in creating or collaborating on their own open access textbook. 

Join us at 4:00pm on Thursday, October 27th in Western Libraries Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th Floor) to learn more about publishing through WWU’s Institutional Repository, Western CEDAR, a service available to all faculty authors associated with Western. An electronic toolkit of resources, including templates, will also be provided during this session. 

TLA Dialogue Sessions

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. 

Archives, Media, and Identity

Posted on: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 12:57pm

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories, Resources

Using Archives to Enhance Teaching & Learning

How can media history inform our understanding of our current moment? What is the role of media in the construction of identity, social hierarchies, and our understanding of power? Recognizing that archival and primary source materials provide evidence that can help answer these kinds of questions, Professor Helen Morgan Parmett decided to experiment by integrating an upper-class research and writing assignment with resources at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS), a division of Western Libraries Heritage Resources.


Last quarter students from Professor Morgan Parmett’s Communications Studies 416 class, “Cultural History of Media and Identity,” spent several hours at the CPNWS to review a variety of primary source archival materials in their consideration of the intersections between cultural history, media, and identity formation.

This was the first time many of these students had ever worked directly with archival materials, and CPNWS staff sought to provide contrasting examples of locally-produced media by also including materials that spoke to the experiences, interests, and voices of traditionally under-represented individuals and groups. For example, in addition to exploring historic issues of more mainstream publications such as the Bellingham Herald, students also examined the Northwest Passage, an alternative newspaper produced from 1969-1986, as well as a range of newsletters and educational materials produced by women’s organizations and LGBTA+ advocacy groups.

Heritage Resources Assistant Archivist for Outreach and Instruction Roz Koester helped facilitate the inquiry process by asking students to consider not just the materials in front of them, but to also think about what was not kept.


"Since we so often rely on written documentation to provide evidence of our shared cultural heritage, it's important to be aware that there are stories and experiences that remain untold,” explained Koester. “A lot of records don't get preserved, so, as researchers, you need to not only be thinking about the information that's available in the resources you're using, but also what might be missing. And we should all be thinking about how we can engage those hidden voices in order to preserve a more complete picture of our history."

As a required component of their research and writing assignment, students were expected to contribute to the scholarship of media history and identity found in secondary literature by constructing an original argument based on archival evidence of media influence on the construction Pacific Northwest identities.


Professor Morgan Parmett hopes that through this assignment, her students will develop a greater understanding not only of media history, but also of where we are now and how we are currently using media. She emphasized how we can learn much about today by considering the media histories of the past:


“For one, they disillusion us from the idea that things have always been a certain way by demonstrating the conflicts, debates, and struggles out of which our current moment emerged,” explained Professor Morgan Parmett. “These histories illuminate the fact that many of the debates we currently have about media and its societal effects are, in fact, not new. Seeing how these debates were resolved in earlier periods may provide insights for how we might move forward into our media futures in more socially just ways.”

Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes Special Collections, the University Archives & Records Management, and the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. Together these units provide for the responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research.  For more information about how Heritage Resources supports the research needs of students and educators, contact


Studio Growth & Success

Posted on: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 - 3:55pm

Topic(s): Feature Stories, Resources, Updates

Increased Use & Future Growth of the Research-Writing Studio

The Research-Writing Studio at Western Libraries experienced record-breaking usage throughout fall quarter 2015, recording at least 7,500 visits, over 10 times higher than the number of visits received by the Writing Center at its former site. These numbers are all the more impressive given early concerns that students would not be able to find the new Research-Writing Studio after the Writing Center and Research Consultation merged services and re-located to Haggard Hall last spring.


“After nearly 30 years with the Writing Center, I thought I would get misty-eyed about leaving my Writing Center identity behind. But no such thing. At no time in my history here have I seen students this engaged, forming community, taking charge of the space and their learning,” explained Roberta Kjesrud, the studio’s director of writing.


Fully staffed by a mix of both professional and student staff members who offer expertise to support the student research and writing experience, there are typically between one and four research and writing Studio Assistants available at any given time during the hours the Studio is open.  Involving student studio staff in the teaching and learning process also has its own benefits.


“One of the great things about having student staff as Studio Assistants is the unique perspective they bring.  They know what it’s like to take the courses and complete the types of assignments that we often see represented in the Studio, and they’ve struggled with the same academic and personal challenges that students using the Studio face,” explained Kelly Helms, the Studio’s assistant director of writing. “They also know what strategies and feedback are most helpful to students, and this peer-based teaching and learning environment builds a community of scholars that would not possible without our dedicated student staff.”


Centrally located on the second floor of Haggard Hall in a very bright and open space, the inviting atmosphere of the Studio offers students a dedicated place for writing and for obtaining research and writing assistance. Students are encouraged to collaborate with each other, with Studio staff, or to work on their own.  The studio is designed to support students at all levels and across all disciplines.


“The research and writing process is almost always intertwined,”  said Gabe Gossett, Head of Research Consultation and part of the studio leadership team. "Where at one moment a researcher is trying to make sense of the ideas they are trying to explore in writing, at another moment a writer is looking for sources that speak to the topic they want to write about. [The studio approach] offers as-needed support to build towards learning outcomes that will ultimately leave students better able to take charge of their own inquiry process, with on-hand support to make it possible.”  


The Studio’s immediate and extraordinary reception by students, faculty, and university administrators, makes abundantly clear the importance and value of this project, and Western Libraries is pleased to share the exciting news that the final phase of the Research-Writing Studio project has been fully funded thanks to the tremendous generosity of donors Cindy, Don, and Adam Hacherl.


Cindy Hacherl is an alumna of Western and a graduate of the English Department with long-standing connections to Western. Together, the Hacherls are passionately committed to making the vision of the Research-Writing Studio a reality, and they recognize the benefit of this project for both current and future students.  


Not only did the Hacherls make possible the creation of a collaborative workshop space in Haggard Hall 222 and the Studio’s current transformation, but their ongoing generosity mean that the full vision of the Studio project can be completed.  This last phase will expand the Studio toward the building’s entryway, increasing both its visibility and capacity. New furniture, access to electricity and technology, glass and acoustical accents, and clear signage will also contribute to the completion of this expanded area.


Additionally, just as the Libraries face unprecedented demand for collaborative and individual work spaces, so too have they received increased requests for class workshops. Students using the Studio on their own regularly request that their professor schedule a formal workshop, and professors who do, routinely encourage new students to connect with the Studio staff for follow-up work. Since individual work and workshops are mutually reinforcing, there is a clear need for a second workshop and group instruction space. Plans call for creating an inviting, glass-enclosed teaching space with moveable tables and chairs and an instructor’s station with A/V equipment. Having this additional space will better equip the Studio staff to help meet the needs of students engaging in research and writing work.


University faculty have repeatedly identified the development of student research and writing skills as an important role of the Libraries. Integrating the practices of research and writing is one way Western Libraries and the Learning Commons are working together to address this identified need, and it is through the generosity of the Hacherl family that the Research-Writing Studio will continue to grow in strength and ability to positively impact students engaged in research and writing here at Western.


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