Western Libraries News

Compost that paper towel!

As part of the green energy fee initiative, a pilot project to compost paper towels used in the first and second floors of Haggard Hall begins Winter Qtr. 2012!

Composting will significantly decrease the amount of waste that this campus sends to landfills. The focus is on compost because according to the AS Recycle Center, 72% of Western’s waste is already recycled and the majority of the remaining portion is compostable. 

A  major expense  for  the university is the purchasing and disposal of paper towels. An essential part of this compost program is educating the general public about compost and waste reduction on campus.

By increasing informational signs around composting  and trash bins, students will be better apt to sort their waste & further decrease the amount of waste sent to the landfill. The main goal of this project is to reduce overall use and waste of resources, namely paper towels.

The measurable objectives will be to increase composting options on campus through composting paper towels in bathrooms and increasing educational signage pertaining to composting on campus. Additionally,  a blog online will provide interested students and faculty with statistics, information, videos, and updated results as the project moves along. This blog can be found at www.papertowelcompost.wordpress.com.

Library Department: 

"Viva la California!" - Gold Rush Letters Online

Digital content from the papers of M. L. (Marc La Riviere) Stangroom is now available online as part of Western Libraries’ Digital Collections. Born in England in 1832, Stangroom travelled to America as a young man, where he engaged in railroad surveying work and mining speculation in California and the Sierra Nevadas. In 1888, at the request of railroad magnate Pierre Cornwall, Stangroom moved to Bellingham, Washington to assist in building the Bellingham Bay and British Columbia railway.

The new online collection includes digital copies and transcripts of correspondence from Stangroom to family members about his travels and experiences from 1855 through 1873. These handwritten letters provide extensive and fascinating detail of his early life and career, and vivid descriptions of western landscapes including California redwood forests and the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Stangroom documents gold prospecting efforts, life in the mining town of Michigan Bluff (Placer County, California), and interactions between white settlers and the Native American population. A June 1858 letter describes how Californians are driven “stark raving mad” by the lure of gold in British Columbia, with hundreds of men leaving daily for the Fraser River. Stangroom’s letters also reveal aspects of his personal and family life, including his courtship and marriage.

Section of letter with illustration.

Illustrated portion of a December 2, 1855 letter by M.L. Stangroom.

The online collection includes full-text, searchable transcripts of all letters, a 16 page reminiscence by Stangroom about his life (also transcribed), and a fifteen-page report about the construction of the Bellingham Bay & British Columbia Railroad. Completed in 1891, the BB&BC Railroad provided a rail connection from Bellingham to Sumas and the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway.

The original and larger collection of Stangroom papers is archived and available at WWU’s Center for Pacific Northwest (CPNWS). A complete guide to the collection is available online.

Additional CPNWS holdings on the Bellingham Bay & British Columbia Railroad include corporate records of the Bellingham Bay Improvement Company. Related images are available in the Bruce Cheever Railroad Photograph Collection and through the online CPNWS Photo Database.

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A Christmas Carol in Prose: Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas

Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870.
Publication Information: 
Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1876, c1868.
Special Collections Rare Book Collection
Call Number: 
PR4572.C68 1876
December, 2011

"Tis the season of many holidays and celebrations: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year's and probably more. My own tradition includes an annual reading of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.

Library Department: 

Children's & Young Adult Book Sale

Book SaleLast week the Children's & Young Adult Book Sale happened in Special Collections. The book sale raises funds for the Children's Literature Conference, an annual event at Western.

The books are all new, fiction and non-fiction, including science, biographies, chapter books, easy readers, and books for both young people and adults or cross-over books. The sale is always popular, and many people came to buy during the two day sale.

Students in ENG 441, Children's Literature for Elementary and Middle School, were involved in setup and organization of the book sale, and  selected over 170 books to donate to a local Foster Parent/Caregiver Holiday Event.

Sylvia and Kathryn

Sylvia Tag, book sale coordinator and ENG 441 instructor, with Kathryn Boyd, Extended Education, take a moment during the sale to smile for the camera.

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Library Department: 

Historic footage of fishing operations

This 1958 film shows the use and impact of fish traps and set nets as part of commercial fishing operations in Clam Gulch, Alaska. The footage was captured originally on 16mm film by Rubin R. Tikka, and later donated to WWU's Center for Pacific Northwest Studies.


The history of fish, fishing and the use of commercial fish traps in the Pacific Northwest is surrounded by conflict and controversy. Use of fish traps or other "fixed appliances for catching salmon and other fish" was banned in Washington State in 1935 following voter passage of Initiative 77 the previous year. Fish traps were not outlawed in Alaska until Alaskan statehood (1959) - very shortly after this footage was captured.

Western Libraries' Heritage Resources programs offer a wide range of archival and other resources about fish and fishing. These include materials documenting commercial fisheries, Native American fishing and treaty rights, and fly fishing. See this Research Guide or Contact CPNWS or Special Collections for additional information.

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Library research a mystery? Try Research Connection!

Research Connection Pilot Program

Does library research seem mysterious?
Are you new to doing academic library research?
Want help developing a research paper and finding sources of information?
Make the connection with a Research Assistant!

The Research Connection pilot initiative is all about connecting you to resources in the new Learning Commons in order to make you an effective researcher and writer.  

The program is designed to connect students who may not have much academic research experience with peers who do.  The Research Assistants are upper-division undergraduate students in the Libraries’ Research and Active Learning course who are available to help their peers identify, use, and evaluate information sources. 

Research Assistants demystify the research process by:

  • Helping you connect to relevant resources such as Reference librarians
    and the Writing Center.
  • Assisting you in learning how to use research tools such as the library catalog
    and article databases.
  • Acting as a sounding board for developing research ideas.
  • Providing guidance on how to use citations.

If you would like to be connected with a Research Assistant
contact Gabe Gossett (gabe.gossett@wwu.edu) or visit the program website for more details: http://libguides.wwu.edu/connections

Library Department: 

Loving Learning: the Campus School Experience, 1899-1967

Publication Information: 
Bellingham, Wash. : Western Washington University : Black Dog Productions, c2007.
Special Collections
Call Number: 
LD5779.5.L537 L6 2007
November, 2011

Whatcom NormalLoving Learning is a video documentary about the elementary school created in 1899 as part of the State Normal School at New Whatcom - later Western Washington University.

It was a 'model' school for local children, an exemplary public school and a place for training teachers.

Library Department: 

50 years of the WWU Student Newspaper now online!

Western Libraries celebrate the digitization of the first 50 years of the Western Front.

The first 50 years of the WWU Student Newspaper is now online.  Phase One of the project is complete.   Phase Two begins, as we start to process the next fifty years of the Western Front. 


Check out the collection on the Digital Collections page, located under libraries & collections on the library home page. 

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