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Western Libraries Closed to the Public and Accessible Online

Posted on: March 11, 2020

Topic(s): Updates

Western Libraries Closed to the Public & Accessible Online

Western Libraries has been working diligently to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak in accordance with the university and public health mandates, guidelines, and practices. We have prioritized the health and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and community members, while trying to sustain regular operations as much as possible.  

In light of the most recent recommendations from the CDC to limit the size of all social and public gatherings, along with the Governor’s March 23 “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order for the State of Washington, Western Libraries will be closed to the public until further notice. This closure includes the computer labs in Haggard Hall (HH) 101, 112, 233, and the study spaces in HH 250 and 350.

We recognize the importance of library collections to Western’s teaching, learning, and research missions. However, at least for the duration of the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, it will not be possible to loan items from the Western Libraries’ circulating collection. Likewise, the Orbis Cascade Alliance has suspended Summit borrowing until further notice.  

Once it is again safe to do so, circulation of physical materials will resume, and Libraries will communicate new information as soon as it becomes available. Please also know that the due date for all materials checked out to patrons will be extended to June 15 (except for items already due after that date).  Recalls will not be possible during this period.

While the Libraries’ physical buildings and collections are not accessible at this time, the Libraries is committed to providing as much online access to collections, services, and support as possible. Please see the web pages: Library Services and Access to Materials FAQs and the Teaching and Learning FAQs for more information. 

Additionally, If you would like to request a title in electronic format, please submit a purchase request via ILLiad and specify e-book as the format. We are happy to purchase electronic copies of books if they are available, meet other standard purchase criteria, and are financially feasible. If you have a specific question, please contact Library.Collections@wwu.edu.

We understand how difficult and disruptive the COVID-19 pandemic and global response have been in people’s personal and professional lives, and we recognize that this situation is constantly evolving.  We will continue to post updates as plans change and details are confirmed, and as Western continues to share its evolving university-wide plans, the Libraries will also evaluate and identify evolving needs and adjust operations accordingly. 

We are actively working to identify actions we can take to prepare for a variety of needs, while prioritizing the health and well-being of library users and staff. We appreciate your understanding as conditions rapidly change and Western Libraries reevaluates its ability to deliver established programs and services. We are not always able to provide as much advance notice as we would like, as we also struggle to adapt to the challenges of operating in this unpredictable and uncertain environment. 

Western Libraries appreciates all library users and all library personnel, and we value and rely on each other as a community. We want to stay connected to each other during these difficult times, and we encourage you to reach out to us and share any questions, concerns, and comments you may have, (or even if you just want to say hello!).  Please remember we are still here with you, even if we are not all in the same building. You can always email us at LibraryCommunications@wwu.edu, or check out our full staff directory for more customized contact information. And above all, please take care of yourselves and each other.

Additional information about Western's planning and response can be found on the coronavirus information website,  which features Frequently Asked Questions; has links to campus, regional and national resources; an archive of campus messaging and media stories about coronavirus; a new toll-free campus coronavirus information line, and more. The site is a living document, and will get frequent updates as the coronavirus situation evolves.

--This page was last updated 3/25/2020

Read more: Western Libraries Closed to the Public and Accessible Online

Canines & Cats on Campus - CANCELED

Posted on: March 5, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Events

UPDATE: 'Canines & Cats on Campus' Visit Canceled

students visiting with a dog from the 'Canines & Cats on Campus' programUPDATE: The Canines & Cats program regrets they must cancel this event and will not be visiting Western Libraries this quarter. They apologize for the inconvenience and added they hope to see everyone in June, and they wish students well on their finals.

Western Libraries will once again be joined by members of the “Canines & Cats on Campus” registered therapy animal program from Monday, March 9 through Thursday, March 19, 2020. 

Teams of humans and animals will be located in the gallery space at the end of the Mann Family Skybridge on the Wilson side of the library off and on between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. during both the week preceding and the week of final exams. 

During this two-week period, this space will be reserved exclusively for the registered Canines & Cats on Campus therapy animal program, and animals who are not official volunteers with this program are not permitted in this area. Additionally, Western Libraries would like to remind everyone that while ADA service animals are welcome in the library, pets may not be brought into library facilities at any time.

For more information about the upcoming Canines & Cats on Campus visit, a schedule which includes the names of the volunteers, photos of the animals, and the times when they will be available for visiting, will be posted on an easel in the designated gallery area beginning Monday, March 9.

Remember to stop by the library to say hi or de-stress when you are in need of a break from studying for finals, working on projects, or writing those last few papers!  


Read more: Canines & Cats on Campus - CANCELED

I Am Black History, Herstory, Hxstory Photo Gallery

Posted on: February 6, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Events, Exhibits

New Photo Exhibit in Celebration of Black History Month

A new exhibition of photographs in celebration of Black History Month will be on display beginning February 6 through March 2, 2020 in multiple locations throughout Western Washington University. The exhibition is entitled, I Am Black History, Herstory, Hxstory, and features students, staff, and faculty of Western.

Portrait from the "I Am Black History, Herstory, Hxstory" exhibitBlack History Month is an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments and challenges overcome by those within the African American and Black community. In celebration of the students, staff, and faculty of African descent at Western, black and white photographic portraits will be displayed in select galleries throughout Western Libraries, the Multicultural Center, and Carver Gym through the month of February.

The exhibition offers an opportunity to recognize the collective excellence among us by featuring some of the many unsung scholars and heroes who are part of Western’s community. Each image is accompanied by a quote chosen by the individual featured in the photo. This exhibition is free and open to the public, and available for viewing during the open hours of the various locations.

This project is the result of a collaboration among multiple partners at Western, including the Ethnic Student Center, the Black Student Union, the African-Caribbean Club, the Viking Union, Western Libraries, Student Outreach Services, Men’s Resiliency, and the Digital Media Center.

Special thanks to Victoria Matey and Adam Haizlip for initiating and leading the project, to the Associated Students Publicity Center for printing the photographs, to photographer Thomas Meade, and to the members of the Western community who are featured in this exhibition.

If you have questions or need more information about this exhibit, please contact Adam Haizlip at haizlia@wwu.edu, Victoria Matey at mateyv@wwu.edu, or Eric Alexander at alexane6@wwu.edu.

Read more: I Am Black History, Herstory, Hxstory Photo Gallery

Special Collections Manager Tamara Belts to Retire

Posted on: February 3, 2020

Topic(s): Updates

Tamara Belts, Special Collections manager at Western Libraries, will retire on April 1st after working at Western Washington University for over 42 years. Belts got her start at Western as a transfer student in 1974, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1976. Picture of Tamara Belts in the Special Collections stacks.

She has worked for Western Libraries since October 1977 in many roles, including positions in Circulation, Serials, Cataloging, Acquisitions, Government Information, and her current position in Special Collections.

For more about Belts, the many positions she has held, and the myriad changes she witnessed throughout her tenure at Western Libraries, please see the full Western Today story (link below).

Read more: Special Collections Manager Tamara Belts to Retire

Upcoming Grad Studio Re-location & Digital Access to Collections

Posted on: January 30, 2020

Topic(s): Updates

Upcoming Graduate Studio Re-location, Collections Moves, and Ensuring Digital Access to Journals & Periodicals

Next summer, Western Libraries will re-locate the Graduate Research & Writing Studio from the 5th floor of Wilson to the 2nd floor of Haggard. In its new location, the Graduate Studio will be better situated to provide Western’s graduate students with the academic support—and community—they need.

JSTOR logo design In order to accommodate this move, and to make best use of library spaces, the collections on the second floor of Haggard will be consolidated with those on the third floor. As part of this process, the Libraries will conduct a targeted review of print periodicals with the goal of withdrawing volumes duplicated in digital format on the JSTOR platform. 

JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization that hosts journal content and ensures long-term access and preservation. JSTOR content is complete, high quality, and guaranteed in perpetuity, allowing the university to reduce its periodicals footprint strategically without losing any content or sacrificing the researcher experience.

Reviewing the duplicate periodicals is part of an ongoing effort to meet the needs of library users more effectively. Digital periodicals—particularly those on stable platforms like JSTOR—provide a convenient and accessible researcher experience, and in the past two decades the format has rapidly overtaken print as the standard for scholarly journals.

The Libraries will be reviewing, moving, and staging duplicated periodicals for review throughout winter quarter. Librarians will manually check the highest-use titles to verify the completeness of JSTOR copies. In late February, university faculty will be invited to review the titles as well, and will have until the end of the quarter to suggest titles for further vetting. Librarians will review these requests and ensure that only titles and volumes with complete, high-quality online duplicates are withdrawn. The actual, physical withdrawal process will begin during spring break.

The review process will not result in any loss of content in the short- or long term. The Libraries is only considering withdrawing volumes that the university owns permanently. JSTOR guarantees its content in perpetuity, via either the platform itself or the trusted third-party repository, Portico. JSTOR content is high quality, downloading at 600 DPI, and the company will re-scan journals as needed to remedy any errors users do encounter.

The Libraries welcomes feedback about this project and will work as transparently as possible, sharing updates here and via Western Today, faculty governance channels, and department chairs. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out to your Subject Team, the Collection Services division, or the Director of Collections.

Read more: Upcoming Grad Studio Re-location & Digital Access to Collections

Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information

Posted on: January 18, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information

Over the next six months, the Western Libraries will be engaging the university in important conversations about our collective mission, the information landscape, and the implications for library subscriptions. The vision of our university calls on each of us to advance the ideals of exploration, critical thinking, connection, and creativity. Collectively, we seek to provide a transformational educational experience for our students, grounded in innovative scholarship, research, and creative activity; as well as justice and equity in our policies, practices, and impacts. 

Photo of a stack of magazines with their spines facing out. In this spirit, Western Libraries continues to move forward in new directions, favoring broad access to information over more traditional models of ownership, challenging the narrative that knowledge can be owned, and seeking ways to keep information open to the community where it can best serve the greater good. We are not alone in these efforts: libraries around the world are pushing for a more sustainable, open, and just approach to information, and the current moment represents an opportunity for all of us. 

In the short-term, university conversations about access to information will center necessarily around subscription reductions. Due to the combination of a flat library collections budget and inflation on subscriptions, the Western Libraries anticipates a subscriptions budget shortfall of more than $300K in FY 2020-21, and $80K in subsequent years. This immediate pressure requires that we reduce Western’s subscriptions in favor of a more agile, access-based approach. Read more about our process for tackling this challenge and reducing subscriptions on the Western Libraries Subscription Task Force webpage.  

In the long-term, the proliferation of journal titles, rising costs of library subscriptions, and for-profit journal landscape require a more forward-looking conversation about scholarly publishing. Western has the opportunity to be part of these important discussions; read more about Open Access and the future of scholarly communications on the Task Force webpage.

Throughout the next six months, the Task Force will strive to work transparently and consultatively, and will continue to communicate updates via the Task Force webpage, the Library News and Western Today, department chairs and faculty governance, leadership groups like the AS Board and the Graduate Student Advisory Council, all-faculty emails, and the Libraries’ subject teams

We appreciate your feedback and look forward to a robust conversation about the future of publishing, scholarly communication, and library subscriptions. Remember: Western is not alone in this struggle. Universities across the country and around the world are grappling with unsustainable subscription pricing and engaging in serious conversations about the future of scholarly publishing. We hope that Western will be part of those conversations, as well.

For more information on how the Libraries manages subscriptions, consult the Subscription Management Glossary and FAQ. For more information on Open Access and the scholarly publishing ecosystem, review the SPARC Open Access page, which includes a downloadable Open Access fact sheet.

Read more: Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information

Heritage Highlights Newsletter

Posted on: November 21, 2019


Heritage Resources is pleased to share the Fall 2019 edition of our quarterly newsletter, Heritage HighlightsScreenshot from MABEL's landing page that lists “Featured” and “Recently Added” options. In this issue you will read about how we are working to improve and enhance online access to our collections through the MABEL and OMEKA platforms. MABEL will greatly increase access to a range of digitized content, including photographs, audio-visual materials, and oral histories, and we use OMEKA to host carefully selected and curated exhibitions featuring content from our holdings. 

We hope you enjoy and as always, please reach out if you have questions or comments about our collections and programming. 

Read more: Heritage Highlights Newsletter

New Exhibition at Western Libraries about Jewish Books and Printing

Posted on: September 16, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Exhibits

As Far As Their Books Reach - Jewish Printing and the Global Jewish Diaspora

Image depicts two children in a quasi-Biblical landscape learning about the holidays of the Jewish calendar at the feet of an older relative or teacher. The image is typical of the Bezalel school’s decorative art nouveau style.

Western Libraries Heritage Resources hosts a new exhibition tracing the journeys of the Jewish people through their books and printing. “As Far As Their Books Reach: Jewish Printing and the Global Jewish Diaspora,” will be on display September 23, 2019 through March 20, 2020, in Western Libraries Special Collections (Wilson 6th floor).

This exhibit is free and open to the public, and will be available for viewing Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointment (closed weekends and holidays).

Heinrich Heine described the Bible as the Jews’ “portable homeland.” The same could be said for Jewish books more broadly, which bear witness to the long and remarkable history of the global Jewish diaspora. Through a survey of historical Judaica, this exhibition traces the physical, intellectual, and cultural journeys of the Jewish people, and explores the traditions that have earned the Jews the description “People of the Book.”

Featured materials are from the recently acquired Judaica / Holocaust & Genocide Studies Collections located in Western Libraries Special Collections, and the exhibition is co-sponsored by Western Libraries Heritage Resources and The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity. Numbering more than 3,000 titles, the collection spans 500 years and six continents.

For more information about the exhibit, or to request a group or class visit, please contact Judaica Project Archivist David Schlitt, David.Schlitt@wwu.edu, (360) 650-3193. 

Read more: New Exhibition at Western Libraries about Jewish Books and Printing


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