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New Exhibit: To the Mountaintop

Posted on: September 17, 2018

Topic(s): Updates, Exhibits

To the Mountaintop: A Social History of Mountaineering

Woman standing in front of a mountainWestern Libraries Heritage Resources will host a new exhibition exploring the complex relationship between humans’ love of high altitudes and issues of gender, race, and class. “To the Mountaintop: A Social History of Mountaineering,” will open on September 26 and remain on display through March 22, 2019. The exhibit is free and open to the public, and will be available for viewing Monday – Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed weekends and holidays) in Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th floor).

Mountains are as much a part of the human psyche as they are a part of the landscape. In his last speech, Martin Luther King spoke of having “been to the mountaintop” and seen a land of greater promise, and Americans proudly sing the lines, “From every mountainside, let freedom ring.” Literally and symbolically, mountains are a source of liberation. But in helping some reach new heights, mountains have also been the backdrop to past and present struggles that have left others feeling looked down on.

“To the Mountaintop” will feature rare books, historical photographs, and manuscript materials from Western Libraries’ division of Heritage Resources. Together, these unique resources reveal glimpses into the mountaineering history of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, providing background and context to support the study not only of climbing and outdoor recreation, but also topics including race, gender, class, culture, and climate change.    

Read more: New Exhibit: To the Mountaintop

Updated Library Hours and Access Info

Posted on: September 14, 2018

Topic(s): Updates

Updated Library Hours and Access Information

The Wilson Library north doors will re-open on Monday, September 17, 2018.

On Thursday, September 20, Western Libraries will open to the public at 10:00 a.m. This delayed opening is in order to allow as many library employees as possible to participate in Western's annual Fall Convocation events.

Western Libraries intersession hours will continue through September 25. Normal Library hours will resume on September 26. 

Read more: Updated Library Hours and Access Info

Librarian Robert Lopresti to Retire from Western

Posted on: July 20, 2018

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Librarian Robert Lopresti to Retire from Western

Robert Lopresti will retire from Western Libraries on August 31, 2018 after 31 years of service as a librarian at Western Washington University.

Lopresti joined Western Libraries in 1987 as the librarian for government documents, and has since served in many capacities, including as Head of Reference and Instruction, and also as the Map Librarian. In his role as Map Librarian, he was instrumental in the move of the Map Collection from Huxley College to Western Libraries. 

Lopresti is a full professor who has served as a research and instruction librarian to a number of colleges and programs, including Huxley College of the Environment and the Canadian-American Studies program.  He has also been a member of the university’s Sustainability Committee since its founding in 2005.

Over the years, Lopresti has been an instructor for the credit-bearing courses Library 201 and Library 125. Additionally, he has frequently served as a guest librarian in his library colleagues’ classes for sessions about government documents.

Lopresti is also an award-winning author of several scholarly articles, two novels, and more than sixty mystery and fantasy stories. Lopresti’s short stories have been finalists for the Derringer Award five times, winning three times.  He has also won the Black Orchid Novella Award, and has been reprinted in Best American Mystery Stories and Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. 

Lopresti’s recent work of nonfiction, “When Women Didn’t Count, the Chronic Mismeasure and Marginalization of American Women in Federal Statistics,” is the result of four decades of work with government publications. It is also the 2018 recipient of the Lane/Virginia F. Saunders Memorial Research Award, presented by the Government Documents Round Table of the American Library Association for excellence in scholarship related to government information. 

“For more than 30 years, Rob’s  expertise and assistance have been indispensable entry points into the fascinating world of government information,” stated Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg.  “Countless faculty, students, staff, and community members relied on his knowledge to navigate the complexities of local, state, and federal documents.  That knowledge culminated recently in his award-winning book on the marginalization of women in federal statistics – a fitting capstone to his distinguished career.”

A retirement celebration in Lopresti’s honor will be held in the Solarium (Old Main 590) on Thursday, August 16, 2018 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  For more information, please contact

Read more: Librarian Robert Lopresti to Retire from Western

Films on the Kanopy Platform Available for Request July 1

Posted on: June 28, 2018

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Films on the Kanopy Platform Available for Request

In winter 2017, the Western Libraries began a pilot program to provide access to over 20,000 films on the Kanopy streaming platform. Films were free to the Western community until the fourth view[1], at which point they were automatically purchased for one year at a flat fee.

Over the 18 months that the Libraries piloted this patron-driven acquisition (PDA) approach, Western users watched more than 6,000 hours of content from more than 3,000 unique films, and triggered the purchase of over 200 titles. While the expansive access provided by the Kanopy PDA program has been valuable to our users, the financial impact and unpredictability of these unmediated film purchases has put a strain on the Libraries’ limited resource access budget. In order to pace spending and better steward university funds, the Libraries will be switching from the unmediated PDA model to a mediated, request-driven approach.

Effective July 1, Western faculty, staff, and students will be able to request Kanopy films for purchase (similar to the Libraries’ current practice of accepting book and DVD purchase requests). As before, Kanopy films will be discoverable via OneSearch, which will then direct users to an online request form. The Libraries will accept requests from faculty, staff, and students until the budget for each quarter has been expended. Because funding is limited, requests will be evaluated based on their relevance to specific coursework.

This new approach to Kanopy films is part of a broader library effort to revise and clarify media acquisition policies and guidelines. This fall, Western users can expect a new webpage summarizing the results of this work, including any changes from current practice.

If you have any questions, we encourage you to reach out to Collection Services or the Director of Collections. We will try to respond to any queries within five business days.


[1] One Kanopy “view” was equivalent to watching thirty seconds of a film.

Read more: Films on the Kanopy Platform Available for Request July 1

Map Collection Open by Appointment

Posted on: June 28, 2018

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Map Collection Open by Appointment Only as Staff Prepare for Move

The Map Collection will be open by appointment only throughout the summer, as library faculty and staff prepare the collection to move to its new home in Wilson Library 2 East. Anyone interested in using the collection prior to fall quarter should contact Madeline Kelly for assistance.

When it opens, the Map Collection space will feature an area for programming, new map cases and furnishings, and ample study space for all library users. The necessary renovations to Wilson 2 East will begin in late June and will disrupt collections and services previously housed there; a synopsis of anticipated changes can be found in a May 31st story in the library news.

The map move is part of a larger university project to move disAbility Resources for Students (DRS) and Veteran Services into the first floor of Wilson Library.

The Map Collection will reopen for fall quarter in its new location.

Read more: Map Collection Open by Appointment