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Western Libraries Responds to Antisemitism, Book Vandalism

Posted on: April 3, 2018

Topic(s): Updates, Events

New Additions to Library Collections & Invitation to April 10 Event

Since mid-March, the Western Washington University community has been grappling with the discovery of vandalized (and in some cases, destroyed) books within the Libraries’ Jewish Studies collection. While libraries are havens for expression and intellectual freedom, the targeted destruction of Jewish Studies materials because of their subject matter crosses the line from free speech into hateful conduct.  University Police are actively seeking to identify the individual(s) involved in these crimes and to deter further incidents.

In response to these antisemitic acts, the Libraries has replaced the damaged items and added new books to the collection. The University will hold an event at 10 a.m., Tuesday, April 10 to showcase the collection and to come together in a public display of solidarity and support for the rights of readers to access information. This public event will take place in the Wilson Library Reading Room and precedes Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, which begins at sunset on April 11.

Western Libraries is proud to restore the vandalized content and to continue efforts to acquire new resources supporting Jewish Studies. These efforts reflect the Libraries’ ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and its mission to ensure that historically marginalized voices are well represented within our collections.

To that end, and prior to these antisemitic incidents, the Libraries has been actively acquiring content related to Jewish and Holocaust Studies in order to support both The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity,  and Jewish Studies coursework at Western. Recent acquisitions include print books, e-books, digital primary source archives, children’s books, and special collections materials. Also of particular note is a donation from what was formerly the Northwest Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Ethnocide Education, and is now The Ray Wolpow Institue. These materials are discoverable through the Libraries’ OneSearch interface. Users can also browse the virtual Holocaust and Genocide Studies collection, a selection of materials that has been curated over the last several years.

To support the Libraries’ efforts to build and maintain diverse and inclusive collections, please consider donating funds (specify “for Jewish Studies materials”—or another subject area, if desired—in the additional gift instructions) and/or suggesting a specific title for purchase.


Read more: Western Libraries Responds to Antisemitism, Book Vandalism


New SensusAccess Service Now Available

Posted on: April 3, 2018

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Partnership Results in New Service for Students with Disabilities

Beginning spring 2018, Western Washington University students, staff, and faculty will have a new service available to them. SensusAccess is a conversion service that makes documents searchable and accessible for individuals who use text-to-speech technology. This service allows users to convert inaccessible documents, such as course readings or assignments, into accessible versions at any time. You can learn more about and begin using this service by going here: https://access.wwu.edu/sensus.

In order to access documents used in everyday life, such as syllabi or admissions paperwork, individuals with specific kinds of disabilities may need to employ text-to-speech technology to read the document. However, the document first needs to be formatted to ensure that the assistive technology can read and deliver a coherent report of its contents to the person with a disability.

Historically, all requests for document conversion for accessibility purposes had to go through Western’s disAbility Resources for Students. But now with SensusAccess, students, staff, and faculty can create accessible versions of their documents as needed. Typical conversion rates vary due to a variety of factors but the usual turnaround time is less than 24 hours -- and the service is free for Western users! SensusAccess is intended as a self-service solution and complements existing accessibility services at Western.

Everyone at Western is encouraged to use this service when creating or reformatting educational or informational documents. Here are a few examples of how SensusAccess can be used:

●     Faculty and Instructors: When you assign course readings that are formatted as scanned articles or PDFs, you can create an accessible version using SensusAccess. You can also learn more about PDF accessibility principles here:  https://wp.wwu.edu/webtech/accessible-pdf/ and available training here: https://access.wwu.edu/.

●     Staff: When you create informational documents, or if you need to convert an existing document into an accessible version, you can e-mail the newly accessible document to the student or colleague upon the completed conversion.

●     Students: If you ever need an accessible version of your course materials, you may use the SensusAccess service.

Prospective users should know that SensusAccess is perfect for documents under thirty pages or so. However, if there are print-impaired individuals who require the conversion of large texts into accessible versions, these individuals should contact the disAbility Resources for Students office for assistance and support [insert hyperlink: http://www.wwu.edu/drs/contact.shtml]

SensusAccess services at Western are made possible through an innovative partnership between Western Libraries, Web Communication Technologies (WebTech), and the disAbility Resources for Students office. SensusAccess is one example of several University-wide efforts dedicated to improving accessibility at Western in order to co-create an inclusive educational environment by providing a new tool to address a common problem.  For more information, please see:  Western Digital Accessibility.


Read more: New SensusAccess Service Now Available


Welcome Madeline Kelly

Posted on: November 30, 2017

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: September 27, 2017

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 Library.Communications@wwu.edu


Read more: Grad Students Visit CPNWS


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