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Supporting Student Professional Development

Posted on: Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 7:55am

Topic(s): Feature Stories

Supporting Student Employee Professional Development 

At Western Washington University, student employees play an integral role in helping the Libraries fulfill its teaching and learning mission. Whether through providing research and writing assistance in the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio, dialogue facilitation in the Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA), or by sharing their energy, expertise, and insights in the day-to-day activities that help the Libraries function effectively, the contributions and dedication of library student employees are essential to the successful advancement of Western Libraries' mission. 

In addition to their daily work, some students also engage in professional development and  research activities, which may include presentations at national and international conferences. For example, as part of their first year as assistants in the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio, student employees develop a research topic related to Studio scholarship and practice, which they later share in the form of “legacy projects.” They may also choose to submit their work as proposals for conference presentations.

Last fall, sixteen Studio student assistants attended the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW). Of those sixteen, fifteen students gave presentations where they spoke about their research and the results of their legacy projects with conference attendees.

“Studio assistants tell us that the seminar and the opportunity to design and present a research project to a broader community of practice  has a huge impact on their academic and professional skills and lives,” explained Pippa Hemsley, Assistant Director of the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio. While an undergraduate student at Western, Hemsley was herself  a student assistant in the former Writing Center.

Last fall, two additional library student employees presented at a different conference, the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL), held in Los Angeles, California. Autumn Simmons and Nathan Romond, (who both work for the TLA), gave a joint presentation about the use of dialogue and the practice of intentionally flattening hierarchies to eliminate barriers in teaching and learning.

“Autumn and I were able to present our work to an audience of international scholars, many of whom were faculty,” explained Romond. He noted that their presentation embodied what they were speaking about, “underscoring the idea that students can engage more personally and deeply with work when operating in an environment that incorporates a flattened hierarchy among students and faculty.”

Both Simmons and Romond described their time at ISSoTL as one of the most memorable and significant experiences of their undergraduate education.

“As an undergraduate, the ability to meet with so many academic professionals and share work being done felt like a privilege,” stated Simmons. “This sharing of knowledge, and the connections made along the way is what makes this conference so special and necessary in order to maximize the benefits of higher education.”

Western Libraries relies on the generosity of its donors to make these life-changing opportunities possible. Philanthropic gifts help support library student employees by funding registration fees, travel expenses, and other associated costs of participating in conferences and other research opportunities that advance the libraries' teaching and learning mission"

 If you would like to help, please consider contributing to the Western Libraries Student Employee Opportunity Fund. And a special thank you goes out to everyone who has already contributed to this fund , whether on WWU Give Day or now!

Read more: Supporting Student Professional Development

Undergraduate Research Award Winners

Posted on: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 10:16am

Topic(s): Updates

Announcing the 2016-2017 Western Libraries Undergraduate Award Winners!

Winners of this year’s Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award were honored at a small reception in the library on June 9th, during which Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg recognized the award-winning students for their accomplishments, and presented each awardee with a certificate. Friends, family members of the award-winning students, the students’ faculty mentors, and members of the 2016-2017 Undergraduate Research Award review committee were also in attendance. This year's winners are:

  • Christina Becker,  "Framing the Frat Boy: an analysis of frames used in coverage of campus rape by The New York Times," (Faculty Mentor: Brian J. Bowe, Journalism).
  • Nicole Carroll, "A New Look at the Constitutional Convention and State Ratifying Conventions: How Reason and Interest Played a Role," (Faculty Mentor: Johann Neem, History).
  • Jeffrey Guptil, "The Grammaticalization of because in Standard English," (Faculty Mentor: Janet Xing, Linguistics).


Three Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Awards are given annually to Western Washington University undergraduate students in recognition of their excellence and originality in creating research papers for courses taught across the colleges based on significant inquiry using library resources and collections. Each winner of the Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award receives a certificate, a cash award of $500.00, and publication of their prize-winning paper in Western CEDAR, Western Washington University’s institutional repository. 

Every spring, a review committee consisting of a variety of faculty members from the Libraries and other departments at Western selects from among the submissions three papers which demonstrate excellence in the creation of research papers for courses taught across the colleges. Papers must be based on significant inquiry using library resources and collections, and they must demonstrate originality or the potential to lead to subsequent original research. 

Congratulations to this year's winners on their excellent work and their award-winning research! And thank you also to the Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award committee chair Elizabeth Stephan (Libraries) and committee members Gabe Gossett (Libraries), Tim Kowalczyk (Chemistry), Glenn Tsunokai (Sociology), and Colleen Laird (Modern Languages).

Read more: Undergraduate Research Award Winners

Artistic Culture on Campus and in the Community

Posted on: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 1:49pm

Topic(s): Newsletters

The Spring 2017 edition of Heritage Highlights is now available! In this issue you will learn about a variety of Heritage Resources' collections which document local and regional artistic culture, including the digitized correspondence of Skagit County artists, photographs and oral histories related to campus sculpture, and a recent donation of valuable photography books.

Heritage Resources consists of the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and University Archives & Records Management.

Image: Isamu Noguchi at the dedication ceremony for Skyviewing Sculpture, 1969, Campus History Collection, Special Collections.

Read more: Artistic Culture on Campus and in the Community

Connecting Literature to Life

Posted on: Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 11:55am

Topic(s): Updates, Feature Stories, Exhibits, Resources

Connecting Literature to Life: Childhood Inspiration Comes Full Circle

Keri Krout can still recall the long hot California summers of her childhood, and how they were marked by each arrival from the mail-order Scholastic book club. Krout and her siblings would gather around their mother, eagerly watching as she opened up the cardboard wrapping that encased the book.  But the one book Krout remembers most of all is Andrew Henry’s Meadow, written and illustrated by Doris (Wernstedt) Burn.

“We not only read her story, but I remember studying the pictures for hours and imagining my life in a meadow full of friends,” explained Krout. “My home of choice was the bird house built up in the sky. I imagined what a cool breeze would feel like, and the sound of the birds singing just to me.”

 Andrew Henry's Meadow is the story of a boy who feels ignored and unappreciated by his family and decides to build a special retreat for himself in a nearby meadow. Other children from the neighborhood join him, so he builds houses for them as well, each one customized to complement their interests and hobbies.

“My brother and I attempted to build a pulley system in his bedroom like Andrew Henry built for his younger brothers, but I admit our attempts fell short,” said Krout. She noted that while other books continued to arrive in the mail, it was Andrew Henry’s Meadow that impacted her the most.

“I grew up working with children,” said Krout, who now works as the manager of the Associated Students Child Development Center (CDC) at Western Washington University. “I think perhaps I understand children’s need to have their own space thanks to Andrew Henry.”

Krout recalled how her favorite childhood story resurfaced when she first began working at Western as she walked through The Outback on her way to work. She encountered a small cabin and was astonished to learn its connection to Doris Burn, as the cabin had once belonged to June and Farrar Burn, Doris Burn’s parents-in-law.

“My beginning started with a simple story of the need to create, to escape, to be understood and accepted.  And here I was, standing by the cabin which had belonged to the family of the woman whose life and creating influenced mine in ways I’m sure I can’t count.  I felt a sense of utter gratitude of how life can take a person full circle,” Krout explained.

Krout relayed this experience to some of the families of the CDC, and one of the parents later emailed her about a special exhibition featuring the work of Doris Burn that was on display at Western Libraries. As part of this exhibition, Doris Burn’s daughter, the local author and multi-dimensional artist Skye Burn, was scheduled to give a special public presentation about the life and legacy of her mother. Krout knew immediately she would attend this event, and following Skye’s talk, the two women finally met in person.

“What an honor to meet her daughter and to bask in the glow of creative genius,” said Krout. “How can I begin to even thank Doris and her family?”

Burn’s work continues to speak to readers of all ages, and since her death in 2011, Andrew Henry’s Meadow has been reissued by Penguin’s Philomel Books. The title has also been published and is presently available in translation in Korea, China and Japan.  Andrew Henry's Meadow won the Washington Governor's Art Award and was a Weekly Reader book club selection.

 “Plenty of Things to Do: The Work of Northwest Children’s Author Doris Burn,” will remain on display through March 10th, and is available for viewing weekdays Monday – Friday in Special Collections, (Wilson Library 6th Floor) between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Additionallydigital version of the Doris Burn exhibit is now available online, as are detailed collection guides to the Doris Burn Artwork and Manuscripts and related collections of June and Farrar Burn Papers and South Burn Papers, housed and available at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies

The pieces on display were selected from a far larger collection of Burn’s original works, which were donated to Western Libraries Heritage Resources in 2015 as a gift of the Burn Family via the Doris Burn Legacy LLC. These materials help document the cultural and artistic history of the Pacific Northwest region and were created by an artist and writer who sought specifically to engage with the needs, interests, and creativity of a younger audience.

Skye Burn’s talk, “The Strength of a Dream: A Daughter's Portrait of a Northwest Children's Author and Illustrator,” can be found in Western CEDAR and is viewable from this link.

Read more: Connecting Literature to Life

Campus History with Heritage Resources

Posted on: Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 3:49pm

Topic(s): Newsletters

The Fall 2016 edition of Heritage Highlights is now available! In this issue we explore Western's 620 High Street, circa 1950, University Archives.campus history, including a timeline of past presidents, the development of the university's physical and built environment, and recollections and reminiscences of former faculty and staff told through oral histories.

Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and University Archives & Records Management.

Image: 620 High Street, circa 1950, University Archives.

Read more: Campus History with Heritage Resources


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