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Origins of the Culture War

Posted on: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 8:03am

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Origins of the Culture War: Social Issues in State Party Platforms, 1960-2016

The recipient of the 2017 James W. Scott Research Fellowship, Matthew Carr, will give a talk entitled “Origins of the Culture War: Social Issues in State Party Platforms, 1960-2016,” at noon on Thursday, July 27 in Western Libraries Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th floor). The presentation is free and open to the public.

During the late-20th century, social issues that previously had played little role in party division came to separate one party from the other. Republican and Democratic elites staked out opposing positions on a range of issues – including abortion, gay rights, the role of religion in the public sphere, and gun control – and party electorates today are sharply polarized over these issues. In his talk, Carr will explore Democratic and Republican political party platforms from 1960 to the present day, especially the emergence of abortion and gay rights as partisan issues.

Matthew Carr is a doctoral candidate in the political science PhD program at Columbia University. His areas of interest include American Political Institutions, Political Parties, and Policy Development. As part of the Fellowship program, Carr will participate in a week-long residency at Western, during which he will examine archival collections at CPNWS including the papers of former Washington-State Congressmen Al Swift, Jack Metcalf, and Frank Atwood; records of the American Civil Liberties Union – Whatcom County Chapter; and local and regional Democratic and Republican Party records.

The James W. Scott Regional Research Fellowship is offered annually to scholars who conduct significant research using archival holdings at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (a unit of Western Libraries Heritage Resources). Funds are awarded in honor of the late Dr. James W. Scott, a noted scholar of the Pacific Northwest region, and a founder and first director of CPNWS.

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Bellingham Pride 2017

Posted on: Monday, July 10, 2017 - 1:34pm

Topic(s): Updates, Events, Feature Stories

Western Libraries & Bellingham Pride

Western Libraries’ staff, friends, and family came together in celebration of “Bellingham Pride” on Sunday, July 9, 2017. Since 2013, participating in  Pride has grown into an annual tradition that many library employees look forward to and enjoy. For the past couple of years, Western Libraries has also walked in the parade and shared a festival table with members of the Bellingham Public Library and the Whatcom County Library System.

"I really do look forward to this every year," said staff member Amy Sedovic. "It is such a family-friendly event and a wonderful way to connect with the wider Bellingham community as a whole.  And the cheers of, 'we love our libraries!' from friends and neighbors along the parade route is very hopeful and heartwarming." Sedovic explained how libraries are seen as “open, welcoming, and affirming places,” and that she feels honored to be a part of that tradition.

As explained by the American Library Association, libraries can serve LGBTQ people by ensuring that they are represented in library collections. Additionally, as a population frequently subjected to discrimination and harassment, LGBTQ people can benefit from access to information and the sense of community libraries provide.  

"I was really excited that the libraries were going to table at Pride," said Emma Winningham, who began working at Western Libraries a little under a year ago. "I knew I had to sign up to be there! It was a great opportunity to connect with our broader community and show that we can work together to support each other.”

Librarian Rebecca Marrall explained that she looks forward to the festival every year because of the chance to connect with the community and raise awareness about the Libraries’ historical and archival collections that feature regional LGBTQ narratives. A poster  featuring some of these collections was on display and served as a popular conversation piece at the festival.

“The Heritage Resources poster was a big hit,” said librarian Sylvia Tag. “Lots of folks commented on the amazing history within our region and community around LGBTQ organizations, artists, and activists as displayed on the poster.”

Western Libraries anticipates increased WWU participation  in the Bellingham Pride events as enthusiasm for such an important and significant celebration grows, and they invite anyone interested to join them next year!  

For more information about the LGBTQ Archival and primary source materials at Western Libraries, contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.

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Student Celebration 2016

Posted on: Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 11:01am

Topic(s): Updates, Events, Feature Stories

Western Libraries Celebrates its Student Employees

On Friday May 13, 2016, students, staff, and faculty from Western Libraries  gathered in the Reading Room for the Libraries' annual celebration held in recognition of our wonderful student employees who help make the library all that it is each and every day. We were also honored to be joined by members of the Hearsey family, who helped us celebrate and recognize the fifteen recipients of the Herb and Beth Hearsey Scholarship.

The Herb and Beth Hearsey Scholarship is awarded annually to current full-time students who are employees of Western Libraries and who demonstrate merit on the basis of their scholarship applications and letters of reference. Herb Hearsey was a reference librarian at Western in 1941, and while working at Wilson Library he was charged with developing an effective program of library instruction for students. In 1995, Herb Hearsey, together with his wife Beth Hearsey, established an endowment to ensure that future generations of library student assistants are recognized for their important work.

Student staff have always been an essential part of Western Libraries. When Wilson Library’s namesake and Western’s first librarian Mabel Zoe Wilson first began working at Western, she was the only full time library employee for 10 years, and all additional library staffing needs were met by student employees. Today, Western Libraries has over 60 full time staff members, but during this past academic year, we also employed 112 students.

The Libraries’ student staff work in every area of the library and are engaged in a number of indispensable duties, such as scanning materials for interlibrary loan, special collections, and electronic reserves, as well as helping us manage our service desks. Library student employees  shelve, retrieve, and deliver books and other materials, and they create and contribute to the design of our outreach and promotional materials. They help facilitate the Teaching-Learning Academy dialogue sessions, and they work as peer advisors in the Research-Writing Studio. Individually and collectively, student employees enrich the library’s teaching and learning environment with their valuable insights, experiences, and perspectives.

Every year, Western Libraries chooses one student employee from among the graduating seniors who has distinguished themselves from their peers by demonstrating unusual imagination, interest, and capability in providing outstanding service. This year’s Mabel Zoe Excellence in Student Service Award was presented to Simon Bakke in recognition of the number of ways he has provided outstanding service tot he Libraries, both as a Learning Commons Liaison and as the Libraries' Graphic Artist. 

Graduating seniors were also recognized for their dedication and hard work while student supervisors spoke about their seniors’ unique contributions to the Libraries as well as the students’ aspirations and hopes for their lives following graduation.In addition to the speeches and award presentations, the celebration includes dinner, cake, quite a bit of laughter, lots of hugs (and maybe even a few tears), before concluding with the much-loved tradition of the gift basket give-away. Always a special night for us at Western Libraries, we wanted to share with you some images from that memorable evening, and take this opportunity to thank all of our students once again for all they do and all they are.
 

Miriam Snow Mathes, a professor of library science at Western, established an endowment  in 1998 to fund both the Western Libraries annual student recognition event and also the Mabel Zoe Wilson Excellence in Student Service Award. The first Western Libraries Student Celebration was held in 1999, and  they have been held annually every spring since then. 

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Wallie V. Funk & Community Journalism

Posted on: Monday, February 8, 2016 - 8:22am

Topic(s): Events, Feature Stories

When Local Becomes National

On Tuesday, February 2, 2016 in Special Collections we were honored to host the very special event "When local becomes national," during which panelists spoke about community journalism and the impact of the work of noted and prolific photographer, Wallie V. Funk. Wallie was also in attendance along with members of his family, and he made the event even more meaningful by sharing some of his memories enriching the conversation with his perspective.

 

Between 75 and 80 people were in attendance to listen to tales of Wallie's contributions and their place in the history of local and national photojournalism.

 

During his long career as a photographer, journalist and co-owner of the Anacortes American, the Whidbey News-Times, and the South Whidbey Record, Wallie V. Funk photographed a diverse and eclectic range of subjects, including several U.S. presidential visits to the state of Washington; the Beatles’ and Rolling Stones’ concerts in Seattle; the 1970 Penn Cove whale capture; local and regional accidents and disasters (both natural and man-made); and community events and military activities on Fidalgo and Whidbey islands.

 

 

Panelists spoke about the impact of Wallie's work on his community and its surrounding area, and talked about how he used his photography and storytelling talents to draw attention to important matters in order to benefit and improve the lives of those around him. Each panelist had personal ties to Wallie, having worked closely with him while developing an enduring friendship.

 

 

Panelists were Theresa Trebon, Swinomish Indian Tribal community and local historian; Paul Cocke, Director of Western’s Office of Communications and Marketing and former news editor of the Anacortes American; Elaine Walker, curator of collections at the Anacortes Museum and former news editor of the Anacortes American; and Scott Terrell, photojournalist for the Skagit Valley Herald and WWU journalism instructor.

 

 

The presentation was sponsored by Western Libraries Heritage Resources, the WWU Department of Journalism and Western’s Office of Communications and Marketing.

 

A photographic exhibit featuring Funk's images is available for viewing weekdays in Special Colelctions between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., (excluding weekends and holidays).  The photographs on display in the exhibit represent a small sample from a far larger collection of papers, prints, and negatives donated by Walle V. Funk to the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies in 2003. If you are interested in learning more about this collection, please contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.

 

 

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Equity, Inclusivity, & Dialogue

Posted on: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 9:42am

Topic(s): Events, Feature Stories

Using Dialogue to Achieve Equity & Inclusivity at Western

What is the difference between “dialogue,” and “discussion,” and does this distinction matter? Carmen Werder, Director of the Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) at Western Libraries, explained that understanding these different modes of communication is a fundamental part of the TLA.

 

“Dialogue is collaborative and requires participants to be aware of their assumptions and to arrive at a deeper understanding, which means the emphasis is on opening up the conversation to as many views as possible. People engaged in dialogue try to find a shared connection, and to do this they need to really listen and try to understand,” said Werder.

 

“Dialogue consists of asking questions and sharing insight; it’s an exploratory process,” said Learning Commons Coordinator Shevell Thibou, who has been helping facilitate the TLA since 2012. “Because dialogue isn’t about being ‘right,’ and because it requires us to suspend judgment and really explore our own assumptions, it can be challenging,” Thibou added.

 

Throughout fall quarter, faculty, staff, community members, and more than 70 students in the TLA participated in a series of dialogues to collectively to identify and formulate this year’s “BIG” question, which is: “How do we move beyond conversation to achieve self-sustaining equity and inclusivity at Western?”

 

Since its inception nearly sixteen years ago, participants in the TLA have been meeting regularly to engage in dialogue around a variety of topics related to improving teaching and learning at Western, and this year’s dialogue sessions are significant for a number of reasons, including the alignment of the 2015-2016 “BIG” question with important conversations occurring throughout Western. Werder noted that since she is retiring this year, this question also has special significance to her personally.

 

 “I’ve seen some version of this question come up as long as I have been at Western, but I really feel like we are at an important place with this particular question, this year, right now,” said Werder, noting the emergence of this question early in fall quarter.

 

“The issues of equity and inclusion came up before the unfortunate and disturbing incident that happened just before Thanksgiving,” explained Werder, “and I think we can really we can use this as a chance to think about how important it is to talk about these things. And we can also use TLA as a mechanism for connecting people with other broader conversations happening across the University on this topic.”

 

During the first week of winter quarter’s TLA sessions, participants introduced themselves, and spoke about the benefits of engaging in the dialogue groups.  They shared what interested them about this year’s “BIG” question, and spoke about what they hoped their work would bring. Jordan Blevins, a TLA student facilitator, talked about how TLA’s “flattened hierarchy” makes it easier for participants to share unique perspectives.

 

“We all want to participate. We all want to have our voices heard,” said Blevins, “TLA is our opportunity to do that. This is a great time and an open space, where everyone is welcome.”

Hoping to arrive at some sort of shared definition which would aid them in the exploration of the “BIG” question, participants broke groups to try and define the terms “equity” and “inclusivity” before returning to the larger group to share their results.

 

Many common themes and questions emerged, such as: “What is fairness?” and “What is difference?” Equity, equality, and privilege were each considered and explored. Some participants noted out how every person brings a different perspective to conceptualizing each of these words, and while “diversity” is not explicitly stated in the “BIG” question, it is implicit in each of these considerations.

 

Werder pointed out that when engaging in dialogue and discussion, often it is through asking questions rather than thinking we have the answers that we are able to arrive closer to understanding the complexities of these words. 

 

“What is inclusivity? Is it a ‘welcoming’? Is it an attitude? Is it a set of practices? Is it recognizing and appreciating differences? And what does ‘recognizing differences’ mean?” asked Werder.

 

Your Chance to Participate!

While the TLA dialogue sessions for this quarter began Jan. 13 and 14th, it’s still not too late for you to get involved. As part of their work this quarter, the TLA will host two focus groups on February 17th from 12-1pm and 2-3 pm in the Learning Commons to explore the questions that must be answered in order to achieve self-sustaining equity and inclusivity here at Western. You can also still join a regular TLA session for this quarter.  The TLA meets every other week for a total of five meetings for the quarter, and there are four group options:

 

·        Wednesdays from noon to 1:20 p.m. (Jan 13, 27; Feb 10, 24; Mar 9)

·        Wednesdays from 2 to 3:20 p.m. (Jan 13, 27; Feb 10, 24; Mar 9)

·        Thursdays from noon to 1:20 p.m. (Jan 14, 28; Feb 11, 25; Mar 10)

·        Thursdays from 2 to 3:20 p.m. (Jan 14, 28; Feb 11, 25; Mar 10)

 

While the sessions run for approximately 80 minutes, attendees are welcome to stop by based on their availability. All dialogue groups meet in the Learning Commons in Wilson 2 West. Students can also participate for Communication practicum credit. If you are interested in learning more about the TLA, or to sign up for a dialogue session, email TLA@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.  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. 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.

Read more: Equity, Inclusivity, & Dialogue