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New Research-Writing Studio

Posted on: Monday, March 9, 2015 - 10:32am

Topic(s): Resources, Updates

Western Libraries and the Learning Commons are pleased to announce the merger of Research Consultation and the Writing Center into the Research-Writing Studio, which will integrate academic support in a vibrant learning environment staffed by research consultants and writing assistants.

 

The merger will be accomplished beginning with the relocation of Research Consultation and the Writing Center to Haggard Hall East behind the Student Technology Center (STC). 

 

University faculty have repeatedly identified the development of student research and writing skills as an important role of the Libraries. The Research-Writing Studio, funded exclusively by private donation, will feature flexible furnishings and mobile technologies to facilitate scholarly work and support for core academic literacies such as researching, reading, and writing. Students can work on their academic projects individually, with peers, or with consultants.

 

Featuring innovative pedagogies important to student learning, the Research-Writing Studio will integrate support for academic work, and scholars who use the Studio can receive feedback while they practice their craft.  Research consultants and writing assistants will offer incremental, strategy-based consultations while students work individually or collaboratively within the space.

Over the next few months, you may notice Studio-related changes in the Library.  In addition to the relocation of Research Consultation and the Writing Center to Haggard Hall East, the oversize collection will be relocated to the Wilson Library, and the reference collection will move from Wilson to Haggard 2. Although no major construction is planned, some infrastructure improvements to electrical and lighting will occur over the summer.

For more details on implementation plans, please contact Andrea.Peterson@wwu.edu.

 

 

Read more: New Research-Writing Studio


New Titles List!

Posted on: Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 11:58am

Topic(s): Resources, Updates

Every month, hundreds of new titles are added to the Western Libraries’ collections. There are new books, CDs, scores, videos, maps, lots of online content, and more. Most are purchased because a faculty member or student has requested them. But how can you keep track of what new resources have been added?

Announcing the New Titles Lists! You can now review the Libraries’ lists of new resources. The lists are created once a month, so reviewing them doesn’t take much time. And the lists are sorted by Library of Congress call number, so all the resources in a given discipline are easily findable in each list. Don’t know what the Library of Congress call number is for the topics you’re interested in? Check here!

We know you’re busy, so sign up to have an email reminder sent to you whenever a new set of lists becomes available. The New Titles web page is located at <http://www.library.wwu.edu/newtitles>. We are currently creating six lists each month – one each for newly acquired Books, Videos, CDs, Scores, Maps and Electronic Resources. Good luck with your teaching and research, and we welcome your feedback!

Read more: New Titles List!


Partners in Teaching and Learning

Posted on: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 7:55am

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories, Resources

The instruction plan for Western Libraries Heritage Resources articulates the goal of ensuring that Western students “are able to find, understand, and interpret a wide variety of research sources in various contexts throughout their lives.” With that in mind, Heritage Resources staff work closely with instructors to meet specific course needs and learning objectives by providing access to a wealth of materials that can enhance, enrich, and enliven research in nearly any subject area.

For example, this past August, a new cohort of Environmental Education graduate students visited Western’s campus and spent time working with archival and primary source materials at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS).  As part of the M.Ed Residency program partnership between the North Cascades Institute (NCI) and Western’s Huxley College of the Environment, these students live at the Environmental Learning Center located in the North Cascades National Park for one year, during which time they are able to immerse themselves in place-based pedagogy.

At the heart of place-based education is the recognition that experiential community-based learning enhances a student’s educational experience by treating the local community as one of the primary sources for teaching and learning. The mission of the CPNWS is to “enhance public and scholarly understanding of the region’s past and present,” and this natural programmatic alignment led Huxley faculty and Heritage Resources staff to recognize an opportunity for collaboration.

In preparation for the on-site visit, Heritage Resources staff arranged a selection of original and archival materials representative of various perspectives of place - including environmental, economic, recreational, and indigenous views - for students to review and analyze. In the Archives Building Research Room, students divided into groups and reviewed the maps, photographs, pamphlets, letters, and other materials. Together they considered issues related to the construction of cultural and regional identity, the evolution of policy, perceptions of concepts such as “conservation” and “wilderness,” and the significance of place names in determining cultural values. Course instructor and NCI Graduate Program Coordinator Joshua Porter posed several challenging questions, which led to lively and interactive class discussions.

Different resources on each table give you insight in terms of both the media and the policy – How does the creation of information determine the ‘value’ of whatever is being discussed? What is the leverage you have if you are creating these maps? What is your leverage in terms of conveying to the world what matters, what has value, what has meaning?” asked Porter.

Several students questioned what could be the implications for the cultural heritage of a place when traditional native names were removed and replaced with new names. Others pointed out how some of the maps were defined in terms of resource extraction rather than conservation. When looking at the photographs, some students observed how having access to archival materials like these gave them a glimpse into the lives of people from the past, bringing them closer despite the passage of time and changes in cultural contexts. Often these glimpses inspired unexpected insights and additional questions.

“Although there was a lack of reciprocity in terms of resource extraction, it’s also impossible to miss the level of intimacy between the people and the land in these photographs, even if the conservation policy was lacking at that time. It would be so interesting to talk to these people. The photographs capture historical moments as opposed to all of the moments of everyday life. Another mode of inquiry would also be interesting to pursue,said student Liz Blackman.

After this observation, Roz Koester, Assistant Archivist for Outreach and Instruction for Heritage Resources, was quick to mention the oral histories that are also contained at the CPNWS, and invited Blackman to return if she would like to further explore those personal narratives. Koester explained that oral histories offer an opportunity to hear from the people we are interested in first-hand and in their own words. She also mentioned that sometimes people will begin their research with certain expectations about what they are going to find, but often their perspectives will alter as a result of the information they encounter.

“Exploring these types of complexities is part of the beauty of working with primary sources. You can come to these materials with a bias and that is where you start your inquiry, but the records that are here can present an opportunity to challenge that bias. Original, archival, primary source research offers us insight that can make us challenge our own assumptions, our own points of view. You might be led in a completely different direction than what you originally intended. As archivists, it’s the critical analysis piece that we really want people to get out of this experience,” explained Koester.

The class concluded with Porter leading a discussion about how students and educators can benefit in utilizing the materials offered by Heritage Resources to explore the relationship between how meaning is constructed, how cultural values are expressed, the impact this can have on policy and information creation, and how this in turn affects our own assumptions about both people and place. Porter also pointed out that as environmental educators, the students should remember that no matter where they go once they have completed graduate school, they can use archival and primary source materials to benefit their future teaching and learning practices.

“Moving forward, I really encourage all of us to continue to do research here, but also to keep in mind what resources there are in every community that we enter into in the future, how to sleuth out those resources and how, as educators, we can uses these sources,” stated Porter.

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 the three programs provide for responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research. If you’d like to learn more about the Heritage Resources Instruction Program, or are interested in discussing how Heritage Resources can support your teaching and learning needs, please contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu or phone (360) 650-6621.

Read more: Partners in Teaching and Learning


Display Cases Available

Posted on: Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 10:13am

Topic(s): Exhibits, Resources, Updates

Western Libraries provides access to display cases to departments and organizations at Western as part of its service to the academic community.  Exhibit cases are available to any Western-affiliated organization, and may be reserved for one to two months. 

Exhibits in the Libraries are created to direct attention to the materials, services, and aims of the Libraries, or to reflect the aims, goals, and services of departments and organizations at Western.  Past exhibits have included examples from the Children’s Literature Conference, the Students for Sustainable Water Associated Students club and their water bottle recycling program, and the Transportation Services promotion of the “May is Bike Month” campaign.  The Libraries’ exhibit cases are also an excellent forum for showcasing student work. 

If you are interested in making a request for a display, please make your reservation by submitting the online application form at least one month before the date you wish to begin your exhibit. Request approval is subject to case availability. For more information about current exhibits or exhibit policies, see the Display Case Exhibits web page

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Sustainability Wall Grand Opening

Posted on: Thursday, June 5, 2014 - 1:55pm

Topic(s): Feature Stories, Resources, Updates

Last week marked the grand opening of the new Wilson Library Sustainability Wall.  A collaborative project between Western Libraries, the Office of Sustainability and the AS Environmental Center, this wall provides Western with a central and public location where the campus community can find out about environmental and sustainability events.  The Sustainability Wall is located near the north entrance to the Wilson Library between Zoe’s bagels and the Tutoring Center.  The wall which previously just held a water fountain, an unused radiator, and an AED station (which was relocated around the corner), now incorporates a non-electric water bottle refill station, a Western Sustainability calendar, an environmental and sustainability bulletin board, and a bookshelf highlighting various sustainability themes throughout the academic year. 

The idea for the wall came from a team composed of two students from the Students for Sustainable Water (SSW) club, and two Western Libraries staff.  Together, they submitted a Green Energy Fee Grant Program proposal to install a water bottle refilling station and educational kiosk in the Wilson Library to educate campus on the use of reusable water bottles as well as general information on sustainability at Western.   “Western's commitment towards the environment and sustainability is strongly ingrained in our campus culture, but up until this point it's been difficult to find an accessible resource for students to get involved and stay engaged. I'm excited for ‘The Sustainability Wall’ to be that hub of information, located in the heart of resources at WWU: the Wilson Library,” said Carolyn Bowie, student lead on the project.  The proposal was funded in the spring of 2013 and installation was completed in the spring quarter of this year. 

The project team is excited about the opportunity to educate campus on the value of Lake Whatcom as a water resource.  A sign above the water bottle refill station includes a stunning aerial photograph of Lake Whatcom and provides information on the value and issues with Lake Whatcom. Both of the student team members were also involved in the campaign to remove water bottle usage from campus.  “This project also serves the need of students to fill their water bottles on campus, especially after our recent victory in ending bottled water sales. I've heard that employees at Zoe's are already directing students to make use of the newly installed refill station!” said Bowie.

The Green Energy Fee (GEF) Grant Program exists to promote experiential learning opportunities and sustainable practices at Western Washington University.  The GEF is funded by Western students, managed by the Office of Sustainability, and grants are chosen by the Green Energy Fee Committee, composed of students, staff, and faculty representatives. 

For more information on the Green Energy Fee Grant Program, visit wwu.edu/gef 

(This press release was written by and courtesy of Regan Clover, Green Energy Fee Grant Program Coordinator, Office of Sustainability. Photo by Patrick Schmidt; featured in photo are GEF Team Members Rob Lopresti, Clarissa Mansfield, Gerald Kitsis and Carolyn Bowie).

Read more: Sustainability Wall Grand Opening


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