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Welcome Madeline Kelly

Posted on: Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 9:26am

Topic(s): Updates

Western Libraries Welcomes New Director of Collections

Western Libraries has hired Madeline Kelly as the Director of Collections. Madeline comes to Western from the University Libraries at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA., where she served as Head of Collection Development.

In her new position at Western, Madeline leads units responsible for acquisitions, course reserves, interlibrary loan and resource sharing, cataloging, circulation, collections assessment, and maps.

As a member of the Libraries’ senior leadership team, Madeline works collaboratively to shape the Libraries’ strategic priorities. As the Director of Collections, she oversees the Libraries’ $2.2 million collections budget, and works collaboratively to develop, implement, and promote a vision for user-centered collections and services at Western Libraries.

Madeline has experience in public services, preservation, and collection development, and she is particularly interested in finding practical and sustainable ways to assess the quality and value of library collections and make sure they best support the needs of the students, faculty, and staff. Before assuming her management role, Madeline developed and implemented a comprehensive collection assessment program for George Mason University. Her article, “Applying the Tiers of Assessment: A Holistic and Systematic Approach to Assessing Library Collections,” describes the Mason approach.

Since 2014, Madeline has given numerous presentations on holistic collections assessment, including a half-day workshop at the 2017 NASIG conference in Indianapolis. She continues to explore ways to assess and manage library collections sustainably, and her other professional interests include preservation and emergency planning, workplace mentoring, and social justice and equity issues.

Prior to working at Mason, Madeline worked at Trinity Washington University (Washington, DC), Wheelock College Library (Boston, MA), and the Watertown Free Public Library (Watertown, MA). She has also worked in retail and agriculture. She holds a BA in English and Spanish from the University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, VA), and received her MLS from Simmons College (Boston, MA).

Outside of the library, Madeline enjoys all things food (growing, cooking, eating) and all things outdoors (running, hiking, paddling). She relocated from the DC area to Bellingham in October with her husband and two cats.

Read more: Welcome Madeline Kelly

Grad Students Visit CPNWS

Posted on: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 8:31am

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Graduate Students Utilize Archival & Primary Source Materials

A new cohort of Environmental Education graduate students visited Western’s campus earlier this month and spent time working with archival and primary source collections at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS), a unit of Western Libraries’ broader division of Heritage Resources. CPNWS staff pulled together a selection of materials representing various perspectives of place – including environmental, economic, recreational, and indigenous views – for students to explore and analyze.

In the Archives Building Research Room, students divided into groups and reviewed the maps, photographs, pamphlets, letters, and other materials, considering 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.

The class concluded with a discussion about how students and educators can use primary source materials 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.

If you would like to learn more about the materials in Heritage Resources and at the CPNWS, arrange a class visit, or find out about how Western Libraries can support your teaching and learning needs, please contact us at

Read more: Grad Students Visit CPNWS

Expanded Online Access Now Available

Posted on: Monday, September 18, 2017 - 8:42am

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Expanded Access to Digital Content Now Available Online

Western Washington University now has perpetual, full-text, electronic access to Early English Books Online, the U.S. Serials Set 1 Digital Collections, and an assortment of newspapers, all of which were previously only available via microforms at Western Libraries.

In an effort to improve access to research collections, Western Washington University recently purchased perpetual, full-text, electronic access to Early English Books Online, the U.S. Serials Set, and an assortment of heavily used newspapers -- much of which was previously available only on microfilm in the Western Libraries.  

Enhanced access to this content now permits patrons to search and read these materials online at any time.  Access is provided as fully searchable full-page views. 

The decision to purchase perpetual electronic access to these resources and to reduce the microfilm footprint advances Western’s plans to relocate disAbility Resources for Students and Veteran’s Services from Old Main into the first floor of Wilson Library.  This larger, modern, highly visible location will increase the quality and capacity of services provided to students and faculty.  The plan also offers the Libraries the opportunity to relocate the Map Collection from the Wilson Library first floor to a more visible location on the second floor and to improve adjoining learning spaces.

The new digital content currently includes:

  • Early English Books Online, 1473-1700 with enhanced (subject searching) individual catalog records (130,000 titles from 200 libraries)
  • Globe and Mail, 1844-2014
  • Los Angeles Times, 1881-1993
  • New York Daily Times, 1851-1857
  • New York Times, 1857-2014
  • Times Digital Archive, 1785-1985
  • U.S. Serial Set 1 Digital Collection, 1789-1969
  • Wall Street Journal, 1889-2000
  • Washington Post, 1877-2000


To access this new content, search for your title in OneSearch or visit: (Remember to “Sign in for Full Access.”)

Read more: Expanded Online Access Now Available

Naomi Shihab Nye to Speak @WWU

Posted on: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 10:48am

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Western Washington University and the Whatcom County Library System are the sites for 2018 Arbuthnot Lecture

Photo of author Naomi Shihab Nye positioned behind a microphone and holding a book

Western Washington University and the Whatcom County Library System invite you to  the 49th annual May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture to be delivered by author and poet Naomi Shihab Nye.

In poetry and prose for children, teens, and adults, Naomi Shihab Nye explores themes of identity and belonging, building literary bridges of empathy across which strangers can meet and connect.

The Arbuthnot Lecture, considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature, is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a Division of the American Library Association.

The 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture will take place at 7:00pm on Saturday, April 28, at the Western Washington University Performing Arts Center. A reception will follow in the Performing Arts Center Foyer.

The lecture is FREE and open to the public, but registration is requested. Click here to register

The daughter of a Palestinian father and an American mother, Nye grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas.  Her experience of different cultures has influenced much of her work, and she is often described as having a talent for writing about everyday life while also addressing cultural issues. She has written and edited more than 30 books for adults and children, and her latest for young people, “The Turtle of Oman,” was chosen as a 2015 Notable Children's Book by the American Library Association (ALA). Amongst her many honors, she has also received four Pushcart Prizes, was a National Book Award finalist, and has been named a Guggenheim Fellow. 

Sylvia Tag, curator of the Children's Literature Interdisciplinary Collection at Western Libraries, noted “Naomi Shihab Nye spreads hope and light through her poetry and prose. Western Washington University and the Whatcom County Library System are honored to host the Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, and invite her particular brilliance to illuminate our diverse and word-hungry communities.”

The May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture celebrates May Hill Arbuthnot, who served as a strong voice for children’s literature. Each year a lecturer is chosen who will prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature. This paper is delivered as a lecture each spring, and is subsequently published through Children & Libraries, the journal of Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). 

ALSC, a division of the ALA, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. Members of the 2018 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Committee are: Chair Elizabeth Ramsey Bird, Evanston Public Library (Ill.); Timothy D. Capehart, Beavercreek (Ohio) Community Library; Monica Edinger, The Dalton School, New York; Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library, Washington, D.C.; and Sharon McKellar, Oakland (Calif.) Public Library.

Read more: Naomi Shihab Nye to Speak @WWU

When Women Didn't Count

Posted on: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 12:19pm

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Librarian Rob Lopresti Publishes New Book: 'When Women Didn't Count'

Western Washington University Librarian Rob Lopresti’s latest book, When Women Didn't Count: the Chronic Mismeasure and Marginalization of American Women in Federal Statistics, explores how 200 years of government statistical information has helped hide and distort women's history.

Lopresti’s book traces the development of data on population, employment, crime, health, and many other topics, beginning with the first Census in 1790 when only the male "head of the household" was listed by name.

In his book, Lopresti examines problems with data and illustrates the importance of using critical thinking when analyzing information, even when that information is from seemingly official sources, showing how often the statistics that have shaped perceptions of American women have been incorrect or based on false assumptions.

If you are interested in learning more about this book, Lopresti will be featured at a free reading and book-signing event at Village Books here in Bellingham at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, 2017.  You can also borrow this book from Western Libraries' collection and it is available for 7-day checkout.

Robert Lopresti has been a government information librarian at Western for 30 years. His articles have appeared in Library & Information HistoryJournal of Government Information, and Scientometrics. He is also the author of the novels Greenfellas and Such A Killing Crime, and his award-winning short stories have appeared in The Best Mystery Stories of the Year and The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror.

Read more: When Women Didn't Count