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Posted on: May 23, 2016
Western Libraries & the Western Gallery Partnership
Western Libraries has partnered with the Western Gallery to exhibit pieces from the Gallery’s substantial 65 piece collection of original chairs, benches, and tables all by prominent designers from the mid-19th century to 1980s.
Photo caption: Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg, Western Gallery Director Hafthor Yngvason, and Western Libraries Art Committee: Michelle Becker, Leslie Hall, and Amy Stefany, (May 2016)
The chairs on display at Western Libraries are examples of mid-century design and include works by Hans Wegner, Isamu Noguchi, Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, and Arnie Jacobsen.
The installation is located on the third floor of Haggard and is strikingly displayed along the windows circling the rotunda. Stop by the library to find out more and take a look at some pieces from this remarkable collection.
Read more: Chair Collection Special Exhibition
Posted on: April 26, 2016
Osens Establish Endowment for the Advancement of Western Libraries
Earlier this year, Rick and Barbara Osen expressed their wish to make a gift to Western Libraries that would have a lasting impact. On April 5, 2016, members of Western Libraries joined the Osens in recognition and celebration of the establishment of the “Rick and Barbara Osen Endowment for the Advancement of Libraries.”
The endowment’s purpose is especially significant for Rick Osen, who worked at Western Libraries for 35 years, holding managerial and administrative positions that involved virtually every area of the organization, including acting Dean of Libraries from 2012 through 2013. Osen’s decades of dedication and leadership positively impacted the Libraries’evolution and helped shape its future.
“It is particularly meaningful that Rick and Barbara should wish to create an endowment to support the professional and organizational development of staff and faculty,” explained Dean of Libraries, Mark Greenberg. “During his long career in the Western Libraries, Rick saw firsthand how advancing people’s skills and understanding advances their careers and improves library services to the Western community. I am grateful to Rick and Barbara for helping Western Libraries to invest in people.”
While at Western, Osen was a strong proponent of professional and organizational development, and he worked to ensure that Libraries personnel had opportunities to advance their knowledge and skills. Since his retirement in early 2014, Osen has stayed in close touch with his colleagues and has remained a strong supporter of Western Libraries.
Proceeds from the Rick and Barbara Osen Endowment for the Advancement of Libraries may be used to pay expenses related to professional and organizational development for Western Libraries faculty and staff through workshops, seminars, and other similar programs. At their request, preference will be given to professional and organizational development activities that occur at Western.
“With an emphasis on funding training or workshops on campus, it allows all staff to benefit from engaging ideas that enhance work performance and facilitate a shared vision for Western Libraries,” said Special Collections Manager Tamara Belts. She added that the expansion of opportunities for individual staff training and development also benefits the Libraries as a whole, because recipients are able to bring back and share what they learn with the organization.
Western Libraries Administration looks forward to working together collaboratively and in consultation with Libraries faculty and staff, to identify professional and organizational development opportunities that maximize participation and positive outcomes for individuals and for the Libraries as a whole.
Read more: Rick and Barbara Osen Endowment
Posted on: March 29, 2016
Using Archives to Enhance Teaching & Learning
How can media history inform our understanding of our current moment? What is the role of media in the construction of identity, social hierarchies, and our understanding of power? Recognizing that archival and primary source materials provide evidence that can help answer these kinds of questions, Professor Helen Morgan Parmett decided to experiment by integrating an upper-class research and writing assignment with resources at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS), a division of Western Libraries Heritage Resources.
Last quarter students from Professor Morgan Parmett’s Communications Studies 416 class, “Cultural History of Media and Identity,” spent several hours at the CPNWS to review a variety of primary source archival materials in their consideration of the intersections between cultural history, media, and identity formation.
This was the first time many of these students had ever worked directly with archival materials, and CPNWS staff sought to provide contrasting examples of locally-produced media by also including materials that spoke to the experiences, interests, and voices of traditionally under-represented individuals and groups. For example, in addition to exploring historic issues of more mainstream publications such as the Bellingham Herald, students also examined the Northwest Passage, an alternative newspaper produced from 1969-1986, as well as a range of newsletters and educational materials produced by women’s organizations and LGBTA+ advocacy groups.
Heritage Resources Assistant Archivist for Outreach and Instruction Roz Koester helped facilitate the inquiry process by asking students to consider not just the materials in front of them, but to also think about what was not kept.
"Since we so often rely on written documentation to provide evidence of our shared cultural heritage, it's important to be aware that there are stories and experiences that remain untold,” explained Koester. “A lot of records don't get preserved, so, as researchers, you need to not only be thinking about the information that's available in the resources you're using, but also what might be missing. And we should all be thinking about how we can engage those hidden voices in order to preserve a more complete picture of our history."
As a required component of their research and writing assignment, students were expected to contribute to the scholarship of media history and identity found in secondary literature by constructing an original argument based on archival evidence of media influence on the construction Pacific Northwest identities.
Professor Morgan Parmett hopes that through this assignment, her students will develop a greater understanding not only of media history, but also of where we are now and how we are currently using media. She emphasized how we can learn much about today by considering the media histories of the past:
“For one, they disillusion us from the idea that things have always been a certain way by demonstrating the conflicts, debates, and struggles out of which our current moment emerged,” explained Professor Morgan Parmett. “These histories illuminate the fact that many of the debates we currently have about media and its societal effects are, in fact, not new. Seeing how these debates were resolved in earlier periods may provide insights for how we might move forward into our media futures in more socially just ways.”
Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes Special Collections, the University Archives & Records Management, and the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. Together these units provide for the responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research. For more information about how Heritage Resources supports the research needs of students and educators, contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.
Read more: Archives, Media, and Identity
Posted on: March 8, 2016
Western Libraries Remembers Ray McInnis
Raymond George McInnis passed away peacefully at Whatcom Hospice House on February 25th, 2016 after spending many months being cared for at his home. Ray was a beloved retired faculty member of Western Libraries at Western Washington University, and will be greatly missed by all of his friends and colleagues.
Ray was a librarian at Wilson Library from 1965 until he retired in 2001. During his 36 years at Western, he taught and published extensively. An avid scholar with a passion for both instruction and research, Ray wrote numerous articles, served as the editor of many reference volumes in a variety of disciplines, and taught not only library instruction courses, but also served as an adjunct professor of history.
Ray published his first book in 1967, and went on to write numerous texts related to academic research. He also gained a very rewarding Editorship for a ten-volume set of “concept dictionaries” in the humanities and social sciences for Greenwood Press.
After his retirement in 2001, Ray continued to be a frequent visitor to the library as he actively continued his scholarship. He combined his interest in woodworking and his love of research to begin building a website which delves into the cultural history of woodworking. The website is still in use today.
During his last few years at the Libraries, Ray chose to spend the majority of his time working with students at the reference desk. He was known for his unparalleled familiarity with the reference collection, and would go to great lengths to find an answer or a resource for a researcher.
Ray’s contributions to scholarship, to teaching and learning, and to Western Libraries were significant. He will be remembered with great fondness and gratitude for his service to his students, to his friends and colleagues, and to Western.
[Note: This article is offered on behalf of Western Libraries. Ray McInnis’ official obituary can be found at this link: http://whatcomcremationandfuneral.com/obituary/raymond-george-mcinnis ]
Read more: In Memoriam: Raymond George McInnis