Western Libraries News

Is Watching Television a Political Act?

Shirin Deylami to Discuss the Effect of Popular Culture on Political Power 

Western Washington University Associate Professor of Political Science Shirin Deylami will give a talk entitled “Is Watching Television a Political Act? How Popular Culture Shapes How We Understand Political Power,” at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3 in Western Libraries Special Collections, (Wilson Library 6th Floor).

The presentation is free and open to the public.

During her talk, Deylami will use the film Zero Dark Thirty, and the television shows The Wire and Homeland, as examples of visual texts that influence our perceptions of gender, race, and sexuality in the context of state power and political discourse.

Deylami is an associate professor of Political Science at Western. Her research focuses on the intersections of politics and popular culture, feminist theory, and Islamic political thought. She recently co-edited the book,  The Politics of HBO’s The Wire: Everything is Connected.

This event is being offered as part of the Western Libraries Reading Series, dedicated to showcasing the scholarly and creative work of Western Washington University faculty and staff by featuring diverse speakers from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines who are engaged in research, writing, and teaching at Western.

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Creating Open Education Resources

Interested in creating your own textbook which can be shared with students at no cost to them?  

Join the editors of the new textbook, The Research Process: Strategies for Undergraduate Students, as they discuss how they created an edited anthology, collaboratively written by specialists across the library, to support undergraduate student research.

This special event is being held as part of Open Access Week, and is geared towards faculty and instructors who may be interested in creating or collaborating on their own open access textbook. 

Join us at 4:00pm on Thursday, October 27th in Western Libraries Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th Floor) to learn more about publishing through WWU’s Institutional Repository, Western CEDAR, a service available to all faculty authors associated with Western. An electronic toolkit of resources, including templates, will also be provided during this session. 

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Doris Burn Exhibit

Special Exhibit: "Plenty of Things to Do" featuring the work of Northwest Children's Author Doris Burn

A long-time resident of the San Juan Islands, Doris (Wernstedt) Burn authored and illustrated the 1965 classic Andrew Henry’s Meadow, which won the Washington Governor’s Art Award. She also wrote the much-loved favorites The Summerfolk, and The Tale of Lazy Lizard Canyon, and served as illustrator for a range of other well-known children’s works. 

This special exhibit incorporates manuscripts and artwork, and explores some of the themes and aspects of Doris Burn’s work that have connected with readers across generations. 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. Additionallydigital version of the Doris Burn exhibit is now available online, as are detailed collection guides to the Doris Burn Artwork and Manuscripts and the South Burn Papers

The exhibit currently on display in the library is available for viewing weekdays in Special Collections, (Wilson Library 6th Floor) between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., (excluding weekends and holidays), and is also free and open to the public. There will also be one special Saturday viewing available as part of WWU's Fall Family Open House from 11am to 2pm on Saturday, October 22, 2016. 

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The Salish Sea: What's in a Name?

Fall 2016 "Speaking of Maps" -  Bert Webber

(photo of Bert Webber courtesy of Bert Webber)

Bert Webber, founding fellow of Western’s Salish Sea Studies Institute and professor emeritus of Geography and Environmental Social Sciences, will give a presentation titled “The Salish Sea: What’s in a Name?” from 4-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26 in the Map Collection area (Wilson Library 170) of Western Libraries. This event is free and open to the public.

Webber is a retired professor from Western’s Huxley College of the Environment who came to Western in 1970 with a particular interest in looking at estuaries as ecosystems. Webber will discuss the origin and meaning of the name “Salish Sea,” which recognizes the Salish Sea Estuarine Ecosystem, and refers to the combined waters of the Strait of Georgia, the Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Webber was involved in the process of naming the Salish Sea, which started in the late 1980s and was completed in 2010. Webber also assists in the program development of Western’s Salish Sea Studies Institute, which was established in the fall of 2015 in response to the need for dialogue and action regarding the health of the Salish Sea.

The Salish Sea crosses international and jurisdictional boundaries, and the Institute focuses on bringing together the efforts of Canada, the United States, the First Nations, and Lummi Nation to collectively learn more about the sea so it can be protected and restored. The Institute hosts the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference every other year in April, which offers participants an opportunity to present scientific research on the sea’s ecosystem that can be used to guide future actions. Conference proceedings are later shared and made freely accessible online via their publication in Western CEDAR, WWU’s institutional repository, (http://cedar.wwu.edu/ssec/).  

Home to 7 million people, the Salish Sea faces environmental and public health challenges from industrialization, climate variability, and human activity, and Webber will explore the role of the Salish Sea name in raising awareness of these issues. His talk will focus on the significance of recognizing the Salish Sea Estuarine Ecosystem, and will touch on the development and purpose of the Salish Sea Studies Institute.

This event is co-sponsored by Western Libraries and Huxley College of the Environment, and is offered as a “Speaking of Maps” program, which are quarterly talks held in the Map Collection area of Western Libraries and are designed to highlight the use and value of maps in research, in teaching and learning, and in daily life. 

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The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes

John Mendelsohn, editor
Publication Information: 
New York, London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1982
Rare Book Collection
Call Number: 
D 810 J4 H655
October, 2016

This set of eighteen volumes represents a historically significant collection of reprints of primary source materials dealing with the Holocaust. Through a series of letters, official orders, transcripts and other documents readers can experience first-hand the atrocities that were committed in the name of white supremacy. 

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Debates & Election Coverage

Democratic & Republican Presidential Candidate Debates & Election Coverage

Western Libraries and the Learning Commons will host a viewing area for anyone interested in watching the upcoming Democratic and Republican Presidential Candidate Debates, in addition to live coverage of the election results in November. The viewing area will be located in the Learning Commons on the second floor of Wilson Library in the area outside of Zoe's Bookside Bagels. Dates and times are listed below: 

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Transitions & New Leadership

Transitions and New Leadership at Western Libraries & the Learning Commons

(L to R) Carmen Werder, Sarah McDaniel,  and Shevell Thibou / photos by Bri Schlemmer, courtesy of Western Libraries 

As Western moves into a new academic year, the Libraries and the Learning Commons are gaining significant new leadership, with changes precipitated by the retirement of Carmen Werder, who began working at Western in 1984, and who served as the Director of the Learning Commons, the Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA), and Writing Instruction Support (WIS).

“It’s difficult to see such a valued colleague leave Western,” said Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg. “I wish Carmen a long, happy, and healthy retirement.”

Western Libraries will host a retirement celebration in Werder’s honor and in appreciation for her many contributions later in November—details and date to be announced soon. In the meantime, the Libraries and the Learning Commons are preparing for what lies ahead. 

Coming from University of Wisconsin, Madison, Sarah McDaniel has assumed the new position of Director of Teaching & Learning and the Learning Commons. Shevell Thibou, now Assistant Director of the Learning Commons, will also head the Teaching-Learning Academy, and Julie Dugger, who is also faculty in the Department of English, has accepted the position of Director of Writing Instruction Support.

“We make this transition with amazing new leadership,” said Greenberg. “Sarah, Shevell, and Julie each bring incredible expertise and energy to their new roles advancing teaching and learning in Western Libraries.”


Sarah McDaniel

Prior to coming to Western, Sarah McDaniel’s work focused on partnerships to transform libraries’ educational roles. She led the University of Wisconsin, Madison Libraries’ Teaching & Learning Programs for nine years, and partnered with the Chancellor’s Office, faculty, and campus and community organizations to establish the Go Big Read campus-community reading program, now in its eighth year.

In addition to leading a twenty-library information literacy program, she expanded the scope of the program to incorporate faculty development and instructional design partnerships, secured campus funding for library e-learning initiatives and co-chaired an Educational Innovation team focused on development of new service models.

As the Director of Teaching & Learning and the Learning Commons here at Western, McDaniel will bring her experience in faculty development, instructional design, and assessment to develop, implement, and assess an integrated teaching and learning program for Western Libraries that engages students and instructors from across the university. She is also a member of the Libraries’ senior leadership team, and will work collaboratively with librarians, staff, student employees, Learning Commons partners, and external stakeholders toward shared goals to advance new teaching and learning initiatives related to the online learning environment, student learning outcomes, and research-writing instruction in support of academic colleges’ curricula.

“I’m looking forward to leading the rich variety of education and outreach programs that library staff at Western are engaged in,” said McDaniel. “I’m particularly excited about the innovative integration of writing and research that’s underway in our teaching and services to students and faculty,” said McDaniel, mentioning as examples both the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio and the Integrated Research & Writing Workshops.


Shevell Thibou

Shevell Thibou is no stranger to the Learning Commons or the TLA, having served as the coordinator over the past four years. The TLA is a dialogue forum engaged in studying the intersections between teaching and learning, with the mission of creating a community of scholars who work together to better understand the existing learning culture, to share that understanding with others, and to enhance the learning environment for everyone.

Werder explained that although the TLA began in 2001 as a temporary structure related to Western’s affiliation with the Carnegie Academy’s Campus Conversations program, it has endured as a place where students, faculty, staff, and community members can come to together to talk about what matters to them, and what matters in the world of teaching and learning, adding that she is optimistic about the future of the TLA. 

“I have been truly blessed to be involved with the TLA since its beginnings up to the present, and I am absolutely thrilled to know that Shevell Thibou will be leading it from now on,” said Werder upon her retirement. “In mind, heart, and spirit - Shevell embodies all that is the TLA, and I predict that the best is yet to come.”

Thibou explained she appreciates how much the TLA emphasizes the importance of community, and she is excited about continuing to build community and to advance teaching and learning at Western.

“At times in higher education, we can sometimes create divides between faculty, staff, students, and community members, but in the TLA, the emphasis is on how we are all one,” explained Thibou. “To embody exceptional teaching and learning, everyone has to be a part of that process. The TLA looks at all points of views and perspectives, and that helps us advance teaching and learning, which can only strengthen Western and our community.”

Thibou invites anyone interested in learning more about the TLA to participate in the sessions that begin on Oct. 5th and 6th, adding that fall is a particularly great time to get involved because it is when the TLA will choose its study question, which will be the focus of the TLA’s work the rest of the year. She is also interested in expanding the reach of the TLA by finding a way to meet people where they are.

“As a suggestion from last year’s TLA dialogue sessions and to continue Carmen’s extraordinary work, we will be taking TLA on the road this year,” said Thibou. “We want as many people as possible to come to the TLA sessions, but we also want to reach those who can’t attend so we can get their insights, so that when we say we come from a community of teachers and learners, we are being as inclusive as possible.”


Julie Dugger

Julie Dugger has accepted a one-year appointment to serve as Director of WIS, and will be working with McDaniel and Thibou throughout the year to direct and further develop support for the program.  Dugger has taught writing, literature, and humanities full time for sixteen years as a professor and instructor at four-year universities. She has also taught in the Academic and Professional Writing Program at the University of Chicago, the Young Scholars Program at the Oregon Council for the Humanities, and the English for Speakers of Other Languages curriculum at Crossroads Student Center.  She is a former Director of the Core Curriculum at Benedictine University, and her publications include work on literature and politics, utopianism, and popular fiction.

“Julie also holds a long-time teaching appointment in the English Department. We are fortunate to have someone with such a wealth of experience in this important role.” stated McDaniel.

The WIS program is a Learning Commons partner, and provides direct assistance to faculty who are teaching writing intensive courses within their discipline.  As Director of WIS, Dugger will be available to offer personalized consultations to faculty on a variety of topics, including writing course syllabi, assignments, response methods, evaluation schemes, and Writing Proficiency (WP) Course requirements. 

“Not only is good writing an essential professional and civic skill in itself, but a skilled writer is also a better communicator and critical thinker more generally.  I'll be working in this position to ensure that when students look back on their time at WWU, they'll point to writing instruction as one of the most important parts of their education.” said Dugger.

Werder, who was involved with the Learning Commons from its earliest stages in 2010, stated she is very pleased with how things have developed and evolved over the years.

“For my part, I am retiring a very happy person to have been a part of this splendid adventure, and I send my best wishes to all the people that make up the treasure that is the Learning Commons at Western Washington University,” said Werder.

For more information about the Learning Commons, the TLA, WIS, or teaching and learning at Western Libraries and the Learning Commons, please see:   https://library.wwu.edu/learning_commons or email learningcommons@wwu.edu.  

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Students, You Can Help Us!

Please Help Us Improve the Library Website


Western Libraries is currently working to develop a new and improved website, and YOU can help!

We hope you can share a few minutes of your time and help us determine what changes we should make to improve the experience of using the Libraries’ website.  

The Libraries will host a "Usability Outreach Table" in the library on the second floor of Haggard Hall (near the Circulation Desk) from 1pm to 3pm on Oct. 19, 20, 25, & 26. 

Your feedback from participation in user testing will directly inform subsequent development decisions and will give us useful information that we will incorporate into the website design. So please consider dropping by to share your important feedback with us, or feel free to contact us to arrange another time that is convenient for you. 

We appreciate your help! For more information, please see https://library.wwu.edu/udwg  or email udwg@wwu.edu.

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TLA Dialogue Sessions

Teaching-Learning Academy dialogues begin Oct. 5 & 6

The Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA), the campus-wide dialogue forum to study and enhance the learning environment at Western Washington University, begins the third week of fall quarter. Whether student, staff, faculty, or community member, everyone is invited to participate!

Grounded in the scholarship of teaching and learning, the TLA's central mission is to create a community of scholars who work together to better understand the existing learning culture, to share that understanding with others, and to enhance the learning environment for everyone. Engaged in studying the intersections between teaching and learning, TLA members include faculty, students, administrators, and staff from across the University, as well as several alumni and community members.

The TLA is now in its sixteenth year, and participants continue to report that it’s a great place to connect with others outside of their departments, and to learn more about Western’s teaching and learning culture. Many say it also gives them a chance to take a breath and just listen to what others (especially students) really think. Others express satisfaction in being able to advance real action steps in making Western an even better place to teach and learn.

Fall quarter is when TLA designs its “BIG” question to study for the rest of the year, so it’s a great time to get involved. The TLA welcomes everyone and offers four dialogue group options to accommodate busy schedules: Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 1:20 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 3:20. Dialogue groups begin meeting Oct. 5 or 6, and meet every other week in the Learning Commons (Wilson Library 2 West) for a total of five sessions during the quarter.

While the sessions are 80 minutes long, attendees are welcome to come for whatever time they have available. Many faculty and staff who cannot stay the entire time will participate for the first 50 minutes as there is a logical break then.

For more information, see http://library.wwu.edu/tla.  To sign up for a regular dialogue group and get on the listserv, email TLA@wwu.edu. (Students: there is also an opportunity to participate in the TLA for LIBR practicum credit. For more information, contact Shevell.Thibou@wwu.edu.)

The Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) at Western Libraries is a Learning Commons partner and the central forum for the scholarship of teaching and learning at Western Washington University. 

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Tom Morgan's Favorite Flies, Favorite Water

Tom Morgan and Gerri Carlson
Publication Information: 
Manhattan, Montana: Slow Poke Press, 2009
Fly Fishing Collection
Call Number: 
SH451.M56 2009
September, 2016

Fly fishing and fine book art have been brought together in this latest treasure recently added to the Fly Fishing Collection at Western Libraries Special Collections. Tom Morgan's Favorite Flies, Favorite Waters, is a collaborative effort by Tom Morgan, well known fly rod designer, and his wife Gerri Carlson, skilled rodmaker and passionate book artist.

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