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Stories To Tell: Bi-weekly Interviews Series Begins Tuesday July 7th

Posted on: July 1, 2020


Western Libraries Heritage Resources is delighted to partner with Dr. Dharitri Bhattacharjee and Western C.A.R.E.S. on an upcoming online interview series called Stories To Tell: A South Asian Perspective on COVID-19.  

About the Series

The pandemic has been an unprecedented period of trials and tribulations for many. However, we have also witnessed remarkable instances of connection, creativity, and solidarity in small and big communities, across local, national and global networks. Storytelling and oral histories can be empowering sources of hope and healing during our most agonizing times. Too often, endeavors to document these stories make invisible and render unheard the voice of the minority. Stories To Tell: A South Asian Perspective on COVID-19 is an ONLINE/LIVE bi-weekly interview series which hopes to be a starting point for gathering marginalized voices of people of South Asian heritage from different walks of life. We are living in a historic moment and Western CARES (Outreach and Continuing Education) and Western Libraries Heritage Resources would like to welcome, share and preserve a diversity of South Asian oral histories, mostly from the Pacific Northwest, in this month-long series. Dr. Dharitri Bhattacharjee (South Asian and Indian Ocean historian from Western’s History Department) will talk to students, small business owners, essential workers, community leaders, refugees, academics about their myriad responses to the pandemic.

In addition to capturing local and regional experiences relating to COVID-19, this will be a valuable project in its focus on South Asian voices and perspectives that are too frequently absent or underrepresented in archival collections. South Asians are an important minority community in the USA and they are more than celebrity comedians, CEOs of MNCs or cab drivers. This series will endeavor to capture the diversity in South Asian voices. The interview recordings will be archived by the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (and the South Asian American Digital Archives (SAADA)) and made available to faculty, students and community members in support of research, teaching and learning at Western and beyond.

Join Us For The Interviews

This interview series is open and free to the public via the Zoom platform (registration is required via the Western C.A.R.E.S. website at: https://oce.wwu.edu/westerncares
Details: 2 -3 PM Pacific Standard Time on Tuesdays and Thursdays (July 7 through August 6). Interviews will last for 30 minutes followed by Q&A with the audience.

Interview Schedule


For more information, please contact Dr. Dharitri Bhattacharjee at: bhattad@wwu.edu

Read more: Stories To Tell: Bi-weekly Interviews Series Begins Tuesday July 7th

Kristine Rex to Retire from WWU after 39 Years

Posted on: June 29, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories

Kristine Rex to Retire from WWU Libraries

Kristine (Kris) Rex will retire from Western Washington University after 39 years at Western Libraries on June 30, 2020. Kris has been a longtime member of the Cataloging and Metadata Services department of Western Libraries, and she began working as a temporary worker in Cataloging before becoming a fulltime cataloger. She has cataloged every format of material, including music, curriculum, documents, children’s books, serials, rare books, maps, and electronic resources.

“My favorite things are anything that really challenges me, and anything electronic,” stated Kris. “I, along with Tamara Belts, Ruth Steele, and Peter Smith, were the ones who started working with CONTENTdm and metadata standards. With the help of David Bass, I moved the electronic theses from CONTENTdm to CEDAR, which was the first collection in Western CEDAR. And of course, we have moved the rest of the CONTENTdm collections into MABEL now.”

In recent years, Kris has served as the interim Tech Services Representative to the Orbis Cascade Alliance, represented cataloging/metadata interests on the Alma Management Team at Western Libraries, and served as lead cataloger for WWU’s theses, (both electronic and physical).

Members of the WWU MABEL Team, recipients of the WWU 2019 Team Recognition AwardKris also took the lead on the Western CEDAR metadata remediation project, and played a key role in the metadata crosswalking component during the migration of digital collections from CONTENTdm to MABEL. She was a member of the MABEL Team, which received the 2019 Team Recognition Award at Western, and she has spearheaded countless metadata development projects, many of her own devising.

“It has been exciting to me to be able to be at the forefront of all of the digital initiatives and to see them grow, be used and preserved for the future,” explained Kris, adding, “Who would have known that digital assets would be so important during this pandemic?”

Any accounting of Kris’s contributions to the success of Western Libraries and its users will be incomplete, but it must be stated that she has without a doubt had an immense impact on the library and on Western.  Kris has said that a favorite part of her job has been the people she has worked with over the years, and we at Western Libraries will miss her very much. We know that as an organization, we will not be the same without her kind spirit, industrious work ethic, and keen institutional memory. As we are unable to celebrate with her in person at this time, we hope you will join us in wishing Kris all the best in her well-earned retirement.

Read more: Kristine Rex to Retire from WWU after 39 Years

Tutoring Center Summer Services & Hours

Posted on: June 26, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Tutoring Center Summer Services & Hours

person studying in front of a laptopThe Tutoring Center continues to provide all of its tutoring support services online, including support to students for their math and science GURs. During the Tutoring Center’s regular hours this summer (Mon.-Thurs. 12pm - 2pm), students can connect with a peer advisor by clicking on the “Chat with the TC'' link, found on the left side of the Tutoring Center’s main page. Tutoring Center peer advisors are available to answer general questions, match a student up with a tutor, connect students with additional online resources, or make referrals to other services.

Peer advisors have been working to ensure that all of the resources that the Tutoring Center offers are available online, that procedures for connecting students with tutors are recorded and understood, and that students’ questions regarding this new service model are answered. Peer advisors can also assist with answering study skills questions, and students who want more in-depth study skills support will have the option of joining a Zoom room where they can utilize video, audio, white board, or screenshare options.

Additionally, students can access a PDF drop-in card, which provides a full list of tutoring-supported courses, on the Tutoring Center drop-in page.  Online study groups for specific courses are in the process of being scheduled, and more information about those groups can be found on the study group section of the Tutoring Center’s website, and will also be emailed directly to students enrolled in those particular courses.

The Tutoring Center is working hard to ensure students have access to the services they need, but they welcome feedback on how they can do even better.  While acknowledging there will be some new challenges, they are committed to ensuring that the Tutoring Center will continue to be an invaluable resource to students throughout summer quarter and beyond, and they invite you to reach out to them with any questions or comments you may have. For more information about what the Tutoring Center offers, or to chat with a staff member, visit the Tutoring Center website.

Read more: Tutoring Center Summer Services & Hours

Kim Marsicek to Retire from WWU after 35 Years at Western Libraries

Posted on: June 24, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories

Kim Marsicek to Retire from WWU after 35 Years 

Kim MarsicekKim Marsicek will retire from Western Washington University on June 30, 2020 after working at Western Libraries for over 35 years. Kim started her career at Western Libraries on January 2, 1985 in Circulation Services. As the years passed, Kim’s leadership role in the library grew as she accepted more responsibility, and she eventually became the Circulation Services Manager. She also became the Access Services Manager, and her leadership of Access Services overlapped with several significant changes within the Libraries, many of which impacted the circulation and media desks, the Return Room, and the course reserves program.

One of the milestones changes that occurred in the Libraries during this period was the transition away from the card catalog system to an online catalog system. Also during this period, the Libraries physical footprint expanded as the Mann Family Skybridge was constructed and the library grew to include a large portion of the Haggard Hall building. Additionally, Western Libraries joined the Cascade regional resource sharing program, which became the Orbis Cascade Alliance, the consortium responsible for the Summit borrowing and lending program.

In 2014, Kim transitioned away from her leadership role in Access Services to a leadership role as the first manager of Western’s new institutional repository, Western CEDAR. Western CEDAR is part of a global movement to promote open access to information, research, and scholarly and creative work, and it advances Western’s commitment to enriching academic inquiry and strengthening communities by sharing the expertise and creativity of WWU students, faculty, and staff worldwide.  

When Kim took on the new and unprecedented role of managing Western’s institutional repository, she had an opportunity to shape, inform, and implement best practices, procedures, and operations for this valuable teaching, learning, and scholarly communications tool. Her effective leadership in this area will continue to yield dividends for the university community (and beyond!) for years to come.

Kim has expressed profound appreciation for the opportunity to work with many wonderful colleagues, and noted that many of them have also become cherished friends. She also shared how much she has enjoyed working with student colleagues, and how she has appreciated seeing them grow throughout their journey at Western. Upon retirement, Kim plans to travel the States from coast to coast with her husband, Jerry, and she also hopes to visit several locales in Europe. In addition to frequent travels, Kim plans to spend time with family and friends, and to continue to beautify her home and garden.

Kim’s leadership and service throughout these past 35 years, combined with her remarkable work ethic, her attention to detail, her thoughtful problem-solving, and her delightful sense of humor, are strengths and gifts that will be sorely missed. We at Western Libraries hope you will join us in thanking Kim for everything she has done for Western, and wish her well in her retirement.

Read more: Kim Marsicek to Retire from WWU after 35 Years at Western Libraries

Connie Mallison to Retire from WWU June 2020

Posted on: June 22, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories

Connie Mallison to Retire from Western June 24, 2020

Connie Mallison will retire from Western Washington University at the end of June after fifteen years working at Western Libraries. Connie began at Western on November 1, 2004 in an Administrative Assistant position reporting to then University Librarian Bela Foltin. During her first several years, the university librarian served as the university records officer, which meant Connie was also responsible for managing public records requests.  She worked closely with the assistant attorney general and departments all over campus, and she earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues.  To recognize her accomplishments, in 2007 she was awarded the President’s Exceptional Effort Award for her coordination of Western’s compliance with public records requests.

Over the years, there have been significant changes in Connie’s work, and for many years she also served as the events coordinator for the library.  In thinking about that work, Connie expressed how much she loved being able to help make the events in the library a success, and how she also enjoyed working with so many wonderful people from throughout the university and the community. Connie was also instrumental in developing and bringing the "Canines & Cats on Campus" program to Western. In 2012, Connie received a call from Whatcom Therapy Dogs asking if the library had ever considered allowing therapy animals to visit the students. She talked with then Dean of Libraries Chris Cox about the possibilities, and ultimately they decided to launch the program.  

Students visiting with 'Canines and Cats on Campus' dog and human volunteers“These visits to the Libraries by teams of dogs (and cats) and their owners to support our students during the stressful time at the end of the quarter have become very popular with the students,” Connie noted, adding “I’m happy to have helped make this special program possible.” 

During the time Connie worked at Western Libraries, she saw Special Collections move from the second floor of Wilson to its renovated space on the sixth floor, followed by the addition of  Zoe’s Bookside Bagel cafe into the former Special Collections space. The Learning Commons and Hacherl Research and Writing Studio were also created, and Copy Services relocated to the first floor of Haggard Hall to make room for the Digital Media Center. The Map Collection relocated from Huxley College, and ultimately moved to the renovated space on Wilson’s second floor.  

“It has been fascinating to watch,” she remarked. “The library has been a busy place the last fifteen years, and I don’t expect that to change either!”  As she looks toward the future, Connie shared that “even though I’m excited to take on my next ‘excellent adventure,’ the Libraries and everyone that I’ve had the privilege to work with over these last 15 years will always be very special to me.”

We at Western Libraries are grateful for the opportunity we have had to work with Connie, and she will be greatly missed. And while we are not able to celebrate with her in person at this time, we hope you will join us in wishing Connie all the best for a long, happy, and healthy retirement.

Read more: Connie Mallison to Retire from WWU June 2020

Documenting Western's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted on: June 9, 2020

Topic(s): Updates

Documenting Western's Response to COVID-19 

Western Libraries Heritage Resources is creating a digital archive to preserve documentation about Western Washington University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Material that is collected will be preserved and available for future generations to access and use. The COVID-19 documentation project will collect the experiences of Western students, staff, and faculty who have adjusted to working, teaching, and learning from home in response to the current public health crisis.

Western Libraries Heritage Resources consists of University Archives and Records Management, Special Collections, and the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, which work together to document the culture and history of Western, the community, state, region, and world. Over the next few months, Western Libraries Heritage Resources will be seeking stories, photographs, recordings of WWU-sponsored programming, official university memos and directives, art and poetry, and other documentation that chronicles the COVID-19 pandemic through the voices of the university and community. A project page with information about early collecting efforts is available at the following link: https://library.wwu.edu/hr/COVIDproject.

Interested individuals are invited to write a paragraph or two describing their personal COVID-19 experiences. Questions to consider: How are you transitioning to online classes? How is social distancing impacting your life and work? How has the pandemic changed your daily routines, and the ways you engage with your community and campus? What are some key challenges for the university community during the crisis? What do you miss the most about your lives on campus? What activities have you engaged in to help others, and how have you been helped during this time?

When ready, pieces may be submitted online via the form provided on the project website, which can be found at this link. https://library.wwu.edu/hr/COVIDproject. For more information, or to  learn about possible donation of other digital or physical records related to COVID-19 experiences, please contact Elizabeth Joffrion, Director of Heritage Resources, at Elizabeth.Joffrion@wwu.edu or (360) 650-3283.

Read more: Documenting Western's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Western Libraries Updated Information for Summer 2020

Posted on: June 8, 2020

Topic(s): Updates

Western Libraries Updated Information for Summer 2020

--Last updated 6/26/2020

Western Libraries continues to follow guidance from Governor Inslee and the State of Washington in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. During Phase 2 of the Governor’s “Safe Start” plan, libraries must remain closed to the public, but are allowed to provide limited access to materials when certain procedural and safety requirements are met. 

The Governor recently issued new Phase 2 guidance specifically for libraries, and that information is being reviewed and assessed to ensure Western Libraries can comply with the necessary requirements while prioritizing the health and safety of all library staff, and the health and safety of all who use the library. Western Libraries is also actively working with the university to acquire the necessary PPE and develop the safety procedures required in order to provide expanded access to library materials. 

There are significant complexities in developing a plan for curbside pickup. Unfortunately, even though we wish things were easier, we cannot simply open the door and lend materials. There are regulations at both the State and local level that need to be followed, including the Phase 2 Curbside Library Services COVID-19 Requirements established by the state. We are using those requirements as a starting point, and we also need to work within Western’s required Safe Start department plan, which was not released until June 15. While we began exploring how we could safely provide curbside access before this, we couldn't begin any real planning until after this point. 

Once we submit our plan to the university, there are an additional five areas of Western that need to review and approve the plan, (Human Resources,  Environmental Health and Safety, Space Administration, Facilities Management, and the COVID-19 Planning unit). Once the plan is approved, then we still need to ensure we have the support, the supplies, and the resources to implement the plan. As we continue our planning efforts, Western Libraries physical building will remain closed to the public through the summer quarter and likely into the intersession preceding fall quarter.

We have extended the due date for all materials currently checked out to September 23. If you have materials you would like to return now, you can return them to the outside drop box under the skybridge near the Haggard Hall entrance to the Libraries. Please note that in order to ensure the safety of our staff, these materials will not be checked in until staff are approved to begin limited work in the buildings. If you have questions about a specific loan, contact the Circulation Desk at library.circulation@wwu.edu.

If you have equipment or items from the STC, ATUS, or the Haggard 114 loan desk, please contact Classroom Services at 360-650-3300 or classroomservices.forms@wwu.edu  with questions about due dates. Please do not return any equipment items in the book drop.

At this time, it is too early to know precisely what fall quarter will look like in terms of giving the public (or non-library personnel) access to library buildings and spaces. We understand the frustrations this uncertainty may cause for those whose plans may be dependent on having access to the library buildings in the near future. Please know we want to help, and that we share those same frustrations and anxieties. If you need access to specific resources or materials at this time, or if you have already identified resources you may need in the fall, please reach out to us. While we may not be able to offer you physical access, we will do everything possible to find alternative methods to meet your needs.

We want to support you and help find solutions to your needs, even if we are not able to do that in person at this time. For example, for faculty members wondering about materials, services, and resources you need to support courses you are planning, please reach out to your Subject Team(s). They are eager to help, and can explore and identify options to help meet your needs, whether courses are in person or online.  

Library personnel look forward to expanding services when it is safe to do so, and once protocols to ensure reasonable and safe processes for managing access to physical items are in place. We will share new information about our services as soon we possibly can, via our website, direct email communications, Western Today announcements, and via the University’s Coronavirus FAQ site.   

Until that time, library staff and faculty will continue to collaborate actively with you to provide online resources and services.  Please see the complete directory of library personnel for more detailed contact information, and do not hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns. If you have general questions or are not sure who to contact, please email LibraryCommunications@wwu.edu.

Read more: Western Libraries Updated Information for Summer 2020

Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information - Update

Posted on: May 22, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information - Spring 2020 Update

Over the last 16 months, Western Libraries and the Subscription Task Force have been engaged in the challenge of bringing subscription expenditures into alignment with the Libraries’ allocated collections budget. The final list of subscription cancellations for the 20-21 Academic Year (AY) is now available to all Western faculty, staff, and students on the Libraries’ subscription review webpage

This work involved the efforts of dozens of people, both internal and external to the Libraries, and was shaped by multiple outreach initiatives and tours through faculty and university governance channels. As was shared in January 2020, due to the combination of a flat collections budget and inflation of subscription costs, Western Libraries anticipated a subscriptions budget shortfall of more than $300K in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-21. This immediate pressure required a reduction to subscriptions which meant moving towards a more agile, access-based approach rather than focusing primarily on traditional modes of ownership. 

During fall quarter 2019, 252 titles were identified for potential cancellation based on scores acquired by applying 13 quantitative and qualitative criteria. Of these original 252 titles, 63 titles  will be retained. Forty-seven titles will be paid for using the originally planned buffer of $66,000, with an additional 16 titles funded from the Libraries’ carryforward funds. 

Given current financial uncertainties, there are no additional one-time funds to retain more than the 63 titles mentioned above. Further, any one-time funds applied this year would only increase the scope of reductions for AY2021-22, as those funds are not added to the base budget. In saving an additional 16 titles beyond original projections this year, the Libraries are attempting to strike a balance between mitigating this year’s losses and making next year’s worse.

The retained titles will remain available for one year, after which they may again be subject to cancellation. The remaining 189 titles from the original draft cancellation list will be cancelled; the end date for each subscription—and any post-cancellation retention rights—are listed in the cancellation spreadsheet. This list represents a total reduction of approximately $278,000.

Next academic year, all subscriptions up for renewal will again come under review. Budget pressures are still such that annual subscription reductions are necessary into the foreseeable future. These pressures include the unsustainability of funding inflationary increases combined with an increasingly competitive university budget, steeply rising subscription prices, and ongoing publisher consolidation. If the Libraries collection budget remains flat, projections are for $121,000 in reductions for AY2021-22 and roughly $94,000 each subsequent year. 

Future annual subscription review processes will follow the same basic schedule as the 2019-20 review. They will include a variety of quantitative and qualitative evaluation criteria, including a period for input from the university community. To help ensure the best possible outcomes for next year, the Libraries is looking for constructive suggestions about how the process might be improved. To that end, you are invited to complete a short survey about the AY2019-20 subscription reduction process. The Libraries will use suggestions gathered from this survey to inform future revisions to the process. The survey should take less than fifteen minutes to complete and is due by Sunday, June 14.

Western Libraries appreciates the interest and involvement of the many people who have participated in this process, and encourages faculty to continue connecting with their UPRC and Senate Library Committee representatives, the Libraries’ subject teams, and each other. 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. While these challenges are ongoing, collective efforts and commitment can influence a more sustainable future for subscriptions. Western has the opportunity to be part of these important efforts. For more information about Open Access and the future of scholarly communications, visit the Task Force webpage.

Read more: Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information - Update

Heritage Highlights Newsletter

Posted on: May 12, 2020

Topic(s): Newsletters

Artwork by student W. O. Edson depicting Normal School nurse May Mead "Combating the flu," from the 1919 Klipsun yearbook.Heritage Resources is pleased to share the Spring 2020 edition of our quarterly newsletter, Heritage Highlights. The COVID-19 crisis and the “stay at home” reality has drastically changed our lives and the ways we intersect with each other. This is truly a historic moment. In this issue you will find stories about Western’s current and past efforts to maintain continuity in the midst of crises. We also bid farewell to long-time Special Collections Manager Tamara Belts upon her retirement, and report on early and developing efforts to document the experiences of the campus community during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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


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