Western Libraries News

Heritage Resources offers Directed Independent Study

Western Libraries Heritage Resources offers an exciting opportunity for highly motivated and intellectually curious students to pursue an in-depth course of study that is not offered elsewhere in the curriculum. Through independent study students have an opportunity to conduct research in primary and secondary sources such as manuscripts, archives, and rare books managed by the University Archives, Library Special Collections, and/or the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. Project proposals may involve the creation of an online exhibit, documentary film, archival finding aid, annotated bibliography, biography, specialized curriculum or specialized teaching/learning tools, a research paper, or other topics or resources as proposed. A prospectus/plan for the work should be submitted in advance of registration.  

Independent study proposals are developed in consultation with a WWU full-time faculty member and/or the Director of Heritage Resources. Interested students should begin consulting with their faculty mentors well in advance in order to develop a feasible project proposal. Priority will be given to thoughtful, structured topics that are not offered elsewhere in the undergraduate or graduate curriculum. Independent study requires that students design their own courses, create their own syllabi, and work closely with faculty mentors. Supervising professors will donate a great deal of time and effort, so students applying for independent study should be similarly committed to the project. Students must be in residence in order to undertake independent study projects. A three-credit independent study should involve at least one hour of student-faculty contact plus an additional eight hours of work per week.  It is also possible to elect two or four credit hours with appropriate changes in workload. The number of candidates accepted each quarter will vary, based on available resources and supervisory capacity.

To apply: 

  • Pick up a Directed Independent Study Permit from Connie Mallison in the Library Administration Office, 231 Haggard Hall. 
  • Working with your faculty member and member of the Heritage Resources staff, complete the permit form and attach a one-page abstract that describes goals and objectives of the Independent Study,  the desired projected learning outcomes and your qualifications to undertake the proposed project, any required resources, the expectations of the faculty supervisor, and  proposed evaluation criteria.
  • Submit your proposal to the Director of Heritage Resources and your faculty mentor for final approval.
  • Have the supervising faculty member sign the application permit.  The student will submit the permit form to the Registrar.

All proposals submitted by the Add/Drop deadline will be considered.

Prerequisite(s)/Course Notes:
Recommendation of an instructor from the student’s department; permission from the chair of student’s department and the Director of Heritage Resources.

For additional information, please contact Elizabeth Joffrion, Director of Heritage Resources, Western Libraries (360-650-3283 or Elizabeth.Joffrion@wwu.edu ).

Library Department: 

Woman Reading in a Rocking Chair

Hermania Anslinger
Publication Information: 
ca. 1940s
Special Collections
Call Number: 
Mathes Reading Figurines Collection
March, 2013

Woman in Rocking ChairWoman Reading in a Rocking Chair is a carving about four inches high, created by Hermania Anslinger (1915-2011) of Spokane, Washington. Ms. Anslinger was born in Haubstadt, Indiana, lived in North Dakota and Montana before coming to Spokane in 1942. She began carving miniatures out of wood and later created carvings from precious stones and ivory.

Library Department: 

Valentine's Manual of Old New York

Brown, Henry Collins (editor)
Publication Information: 
New York: Valentine's Manual Inc., 1922, c1921
Special Collections -- Miscellany
Call Number: 
F128.3.V35 1922
February, 2013

Special Collections holds many treasures, each with its own special story. Some of these stories we know, some we can only guess at. One of these is the Valentine's Manual of Old New York, no. 6, New Series 1922, edited by Henry Collins Brown. What makes this volume particularly "special" to Special Collections is the inscription on one of the prelimiinary pages, "To our friend, Dr. C. H. Fisher, from Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Donovan.

Library Department: 

Gender Neutral Restrooms available

Gender neutral restrooms are now available at Western Libraries!  The two restrooms are located on the Sixth Floor of Wilson Library, and are available from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Other gender neutral restrooms are available at locations including:


  • Old Main, Fifth Floor
  • Bond Hall, Mezzanine
  • Wade King Recreation Ctr., First Floor


The gender neutral restrooms in Western Libraries are a product of the partnership between Western Libraries and the Equal Opportunity Office. Furthermore, the decision was informed by the May 2012 Resolution Regarding Gender Neutral Restrooms signed by the Board of Directors of the Associated Students of Western Washington University.  If you have questions, please contact Rebecca Marrall at rebecca.marrall@wwu.edu or visit the Western Libraries Diversity Guide here.

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Library Department: 

The Chinese Chair

Publication Information: 
Creation Information: China : probably between 1850-1900
Special Collections--Research Room
December, 2012

Chinese Chair Full Size Few visitors to Special Collections can resist the magnetic attraction of the marvelously decorated "Chinese Chair" that lends an exotic air to the otherwise sober Research Room.

Library Department: 

Academic Online Video Resource!

Academic Video Online brings together on a single
cross-searchable platform a completely integrated online repository of video titles. Includes newsreels, award-winning documentaries, field recordings, interviews, lectures, training videos, and exclusive primary footage becoming a collection of 22,000 full-length videos by 2013.



Videos are in many languages, with the majority in English; those not in English have subtitles in English. Transcripts in English.

Library Department: 

Archival Photos Document Lower Baker River Dam Construction

The Center for Pacific Northwest Studies is delighted to make available a collection of almost 1500 images documenting the construction of the Lower Baker River Dam north of Concrete, Washington. See here for online images.

downstream face of Lower Baker RIver Dam 1925Downstream face of the Lower Baker River Dam, December 6, 1925. (#LBDC1576)

Completed in 1925, the dam is part of the Baker River Hydroelectric Project that formed Baker Lake and Lake Shannon and which is operated by Puget Sound Energy (The Upper Baker Dam lies nine miles upstream, and was constructed in 1959).

The original photographs, transferred to CPNWS in February 2012, are well-traveled. They were shot by the superintendent of the construction project, George P. Jessup, and document the day-to-day process of construction on the dam during 1924 and 1925. Jessup and his family later moved across the United States as he worked on other engineering projects, and the collection traveled with them. The images were eventually donated by Jessup's daughter, Nancy Underwood, to the Coffee County Historical Society in Manchester, Tennesee, whose staff took steps to research and transfer the collection back to its origins: The collection was delivered first to the editor of the Concrete Herald, and then to the custody of the Concrete Heritage Museum Association.

Museum Board members pursued a successful collaboration with Puget Sound Energy (present owners of the dam), who funded a project to catalog, preserve and create digital copies of the images. Reference copies are now available for visitors to the Concrete Heritage Museum. The original images and digital copies are now housed and accessible at WWU's Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. Emma Darmody, an intern and graduate student in WWU's Archives and Records Management Program, readied content for this digital collection hosted on the ContentDM platform.

Related holdings at CPNWS include records of the Puget Sound Power and Light Company (and over 50 subsidiary and predecessor companies that pre-dated Puget Sound Energy).

CPNWS is a program of Western Libraries' Heritage Resources, and is located in the Goltz-Murray Archives Building at WWU.

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Library Department: 

Guide to Aerial Photograph Collection Available

Among the wealth of historic photographs available through Western Libraries’ Heritage Resources is the collection of over 30,000 aerial images archived at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. Ranging in date from 1935-2001, these images were generated through numerous aerial surveys around the region, including the northwest counties and National Forest lands of Washington State. Formerly housed at Huxley Map Library, these valuable resources were transferred to the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS) in 2011.

Following extensive work by Eric Mastor to further organize and describe the collection, a detailed guide to available flight indices and accompanying sets of images can be accessed online. CPNWS staff welcome inquiries from the public about access and use of the collection, and recommend that interested researchers contact us for an advance appointment to view materials at the archives.  

Stereoscope used to view aerial flight images.

A stereoscope, as pictured above, provides a means to view overlapping, vertical images and obtain a magnified, 3D effect (useful for assessing the depth of terrain). Stereoscopes are available at CPNWS for use by researchers.

The majority of photographs in the collection result from aerial surveys conducted by US government agencies, including the USDA Forest Service and Washington Department of Natural Resources. These include coverage of Whatcom County, the Mt. Baker National Forest and other National Forest and Parks lands in Washington. The collection also includes some coverage of other Washington counties and U.S. states. For example, a small group of images document survey work conducted for the Alaska-Canada Highway during the 1930s. The collection is a valuable resource for researchers interested in environmental history and change (including forestation, glaciation and waterways), and supports fields of inquiry relating to habit restoration, urban growth studies and property history. All are welcome to contact or visit CPNWS to find out more.

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