Western Libraries News

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Elwha: A River Reborn

Western Libraries and Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment will host Elwha: A River Reborn, a new traveling exhibit from the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, from Oct. 6 through Dec. 30 in Western Libraries Special Collections on the 6th Floor of Wilson Library.


Based on a Mountaineers book of the same name by Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes and photographer Steve Ringman, the exhibit takes viewers to the Northwest’s legendary Elwha River Valley to discover the people, places, and history behind a remarkable regional story – and the largest dam removal project ever undertaken. Through first-person accounts, stunning photographs, and informative text printed on free-standing banners, follow the Elwha’s journey from abundant wilderness to economic engine – to an unprecedented experiment in restoration and renewal that has captured global attention.


In conjunction with this exhibit, a variety of events will be offered throughout fall quarter, including two Huxley College Speaker Series events and two screenings of the film “Return of the River” (with director John Gussman in attendance), one on campus and one at Bellingham’s Pickford Film Center (PFC), The PFC screening of this film is being co-sponsored by the Pickford on SaturdayOctober 4th at 6:30 pm, with a reception scheduled for the film beginning at 5:30 pm and offered as part of their "Doctober" month-long celebration of documentaries showcased throughout the month of October. the on-campus screening of this film will be on November 13th at 4:00 pm in the Academic West building, room 204. 


Elwha: A River Reborn  was developed by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in collaboration with The Seattle Times, Mountaineers Books, and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.  National touring sponsor is The Snoqualmie Tribe. Sponsorship of the local presentation of Elwha is provided by Western Libraries and Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University.

The exhibit is on display in Western Libraries Special Collections, Wilson Library 6th Floor, Monday through Friday between 11am and 4pm (excluding holidays), with a special Saturday opening on October 25th, from 11am to 4 pm. 


For more information about this exhibit or accompanying programming and events, please contact Western Libraries Communications Coordinator Clarissa Mansfield at Clarissa.Mansfield@wwu.edu or (360) 650-3052.

Special Collections is a program of Western Libraries division of Heritage Resources, which also includes the University Archives and the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. The three programs support teaching, learning, and research by providing responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials, specifically those that document the culture and history of Western, the local community, and Pacific Northwest region.  

Western’s Huxley College of the Environment is one of the oldest environmental colleges in the nation and a recognized leader in producing the next generation of environmental stewards. Huxley’s distinctive, interdisciplinary curriculum reflects a broad view of the physical, biological, social, and cultural world, and has earned international recognition for quality.

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Open Access Week

Western Libraries invites you to join us for a series of events in honor of Open Access Week and to mark the official launch of Western CEDAR, Western Washington University's new campus digital repository.


Open Access Week, a global event that is celebrated by the international community, is now entering its eighth year. The Open Access movement is centered on creating open access to information, and Western CEDAR will enable Western to make faculty, staff, and student research accessible and free worldwide via the internet.


For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Kim.Marsicek@wwu.edu.

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Celebrate Archives Month!


Come celebrate with Western Libraries Heritage Resources!

Archival institutions are essential to preserving and making available the records documenting our history, rights, laws, and governance. Archives, libraries, and museums throughout the state are celebrating this rich documentary heritage by offering a range of events throughout the month. Bellingham-area events include:


Heritage Resources Tumblr postings, Oct. 1st-31st. Are you interested in viewing engaging, online examples from Heritage Resources’ collections? Then be sure to follow our Tumblr page for a new post (photo, movie, audio recording, etc.) every day throughout the month of October.


Elwha: A River Reborn, October 6th-December 30th, Special Collections (6th Floor Wilson Library). Based on a book of the same name, this traveling exhibit takes viewers to the Northwest’s legendary Elwha River Valley to discover the history behind a remarkable regional story and the largest dam removal project ever undertaken. Western Libraries and Huxley College of the Environment are co-hosting the exhibit, which is on loan from the University of Washington’s Burke Museum. For more information please contact Western Libraries Communication Coordinator Clarissa Mansfield at Clarissa.Mansfield@wwu.edu or (360) 650-3052.



Teachers’ Workshop: Common Core and the History Day Connection Saturday, October 18th, 9:00 a.m.- noon, Goltz-Murray Archives Building. Designed to teach educators about a project-focused, inquiry-based learning program that fosters reading, research, and analysis skills which meet the Common Core State Language Arts Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies. The workshop will cover the History Day program, specific Common Core skills that History Day projects help strengthen, and strategies for critically analyzing research sources. It will also include a short hands-on project related to the 2015 History Day theme “Leadership and Legacy in History.” This program is being co-hosted by Western Libraries Heritage Resources, the Washington State Archives, and the Washington Historical Society. *Registration is required.* Contact Mark Vessey at Mark.Vessey@wshs.wa.gov or (360) 586-0219 to sign up.



Archives Month Open House – Saturday, October 25th, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. (the Archives Building Open House will end at 1:00 p.m. and Special Collections will be open until 2:00 p.m.), Goltz-Murray Archives Building and 6th floor Wilson Library. Learn about the archival resources and other unique treasures housed at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, University Archives, and Special Collections. Contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu or call 360-650-6621 for more information.


Basics of Personal Digital Archiving brown bag presentation – Tuesday, October 28th, 4:00-5:30, Goltz- Murray Archives Building. Learn basic tips for managing and preserving your digital files at home including photographs, email, and other important documents. Presenters will draw upon professional archiving experience and resources offered by the Library of Congress to suggest strategies for taking care of your digital memories. *Space is limited and registration is required.* Contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu or call 360-650-6621 to sign up.

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Fall 2014 Research Clinics

Western Libraries now offers Research Clinics!

Research Clinics are half-hour inquiry-and-activity sessions designed to teach research skills. Each Clinic focuses upon a specific library resource or research tool, and attendees can ask questions about search strategies, research management, and more. Students, staff, and faculty are welcome to join us, and learn how to use:

  • OneSearch, the Libraries Catalog
  • Article Databases
  • Google Search + Scholar (Tips & Tricks)
  • Heritage Resources
  • And much more!

Research Clinics are offered every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, from 2:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. During Fall Quarter 2014, the Libraries will also offer Clinics on Wednesday, 11:15 a.m.   All sessions will take place at the Media Table in the Learning Commons.

Interested in learning more? Please visit this guide for further information: http://libguides.wwu.edu/rc_clinics.

Questions? Please contact Rebecca Marrall, rebecca.marrall@wwu.edu, 360-650-4493.

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Invitation to TLA

TLA Invites You to its 14th Year at Western


The Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) started in 2000 as a temporary structure primarily for bringing in student voices and ideas on the learning environment at Western.  But it has stuck.  After fourteen years, it’s become a mainstay with an opportunity for faculty and staff across campus to enter into dialogue with students as well as with interested community members. 


During fall quarter, the TLA collectively develops a BIG question to study for the rest of the academic year so if you join this quarter, you will have a chance to influence that question.


Dialogue groups meet every OTHER week in the Learning Commons TLA area (Wilson Library 270) with four different options: (W12-1:20, W2-3:20, R12-1:20, R2-3:20).  Groups begin meeting Oct. 1/2 and continue every OTHER week after that (Oct. 15/16, Oct. 29/30, Nov. 12/13, and Dec. 3/4) for a total of five sessions for the quarter.


While the sessions last officially for 80 minutes, faculty and staff can come and participate for whatever time they have.


TLA participants say it’s a great place to interact with students and colleagues outside their programs/Departments and hear what they really think.  Many also say that they enjoy the interaction and appreciate the chance to take action and make good differences in the way we teach and learn at WWU. 


To find out more, see http://library.wwu.edu/tla . To sign up for a dialogue group and get on the list serve, email Shevell Thibou shevell.thibou@wwu.edu  Or just stop by the Learning Commons on Oct. 1st or 2nd at noon or at two and try it out. 


If you know of any students who might be interested in participating in TLA including the opportunity to earn a Communication practicum credit, please refer them to Carmen Werder, carmen.werder@wwu.edu

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Western Libraries Welcomes New Hires

In order to meet Western Libraries' longstanding commitment to teaching and research, Mike Olson was hired this past August into a newly created position –Director of Scholarly Resources and Collection Services.

Olson has been a senior-level library administrator for nearly 25 years at Harvard, UCLA, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Clark University and most recently as Dean of Libraries and Professor at Loyola University New Orleans. Olson has collaborated successfully with the U.S. Department of State, embassies and consulates around the world, a former chancellor of Germany, four Nobel Laureates in Literature, and numerous alumni clubs in Europe, the U.S., and Asia. He has written two books and produced more than one hundred articles or conference presentations. To date he has raised over $3 million for libraries. Olson has received awards from the American Library Association, Harvard University, the Librarians Association of the University of California, UCLA, the Goethe-Institut, and the Association of the German Book Trade. Olson is a 2014 UCLA Senior Fellow. Olson’s academic credentials include an M.A. and Ph.D. in Germanic Languages, a Masters in Library and Information Science from UCLA, and a B.A. in Germanics from the University of Washington.

As the Director of Scholarly Resources and Collection Services, Olson will provide leadership for the selection and management of collections, including oversight for the resource access budget, cataloging, acquisitions, ILL, circulation, and scholarly communication.  He will coordinate the development and promotion of sustainable models of scholarly communication, and he will work closely with library leadership, staff, and external stakeholders to develop other digital initiatives.


In a second strategic hire to foster research and creative activities, in June 2014, Jenny Oleen was hired as Western Libraries’ first Scholarly Communications Librarian. Oleen is involved with efforts to build and promote an Institutional Repository (Western CEDAR), and she will be working closely with the university community to promote open access publishing by encouraging and supporting faculty, staff, and students to share their research and scholarship in CEDAR. Oleen comes to Western from K-State Libraries at Kansas State University where she was employed as their Scholarly Communications Librarian.

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2014-2015 James W. Scott Research Fellowships

Western Washington University's Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS) welcomes applications for the James W. Scott Regional Research Fellowships, awarded in honor of a founder and first Director of CPNWS, and a noted scholar of the Pacific Northwest region. Up to $1000 is available in 2014-2015 to scholars who propose to undertake significant research using archival holdings at CPNWS. Applications are accepted from individuals in graduate programs (and/or who are new to the field of historical research and writing), as well as individuals who have finished the Ph.D. and/or are published authors.

Fellowship Requirements

  • Fellows will be expected to spend approximately one week examining CPNWS holdings in support of their research, and to be in residence prior to September 1, 2015.
  • Fellows will be asked to give a presentation about some aspect of their research during the course of their scheduled visit.
  • Fellows will be asked to provide a brief (300-500 word) written statement describing their research.


Applications must be submitted via mail or electronically and should include:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Research plan outlining on-site use of CPNWS holdings and proposed presentation topic
  • Two letters of recommendation

Applications are generally reviewed during Fall Quarter. Please contact CPNWS Archivist Ruth Steele (Ruth.Steele@wwu.edu) for more information. CPNWS is a program of Western Libraries Heritage Resources.

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The Gray Ghost Murders

Keith McCafferty
Publication Information: 
Viking Press, 2013
Fly Fishing Collectoin
Call Number: 
PS3613.C334 G73 2013
June, 2014

What do a couple of stolen trout flies have in common with two bodies buried up in the Gravelly Range near Ennis, Montana? That's for Sean Stranahan, part-time artist, fly fisherman, private detective and river guide to find out.

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Sustainability Wall Grand Opening

Last week marked the grand opening of the new Wilson Library Sustainability Wall.  A collaborative project between Western Libraries, the Office of Sustainability and the AS Environmental Center, this wall provides Western with a central and public location where the campus community can find out about environmental and sustainability events.  The Sustainability Wall is located near the north entrance to the Wilson Library between Zoe’s bagels and the Tutoring Center.  The wall which previously just held a water fountain, an unused radiator, and an AED station (which was relocated around the corner), now incorporates a non-electric water bottle refill station, a Western Sustainability calendar, an environmental and sustainability bulletin board, and a bookshelf highlighting various sustainability themes throughout the academic year. 

The idea for the wall came from a team composed of two students from the Students for Sustainable Water (SSW) club, and two Western Libraries staff.  Together, they submitted a Green Energy Fee Grant Program proposal to install a water bottle refilling station and educational kiosk in the Wilson Library to educate campus on the use of reusable water bottles as well as general information on sustainability at Western.   “Western's commitment towards the environment and sustainability is strongly ingrained in our campus culture, but up until this point it's been difficult to find an accessible resource for students to get involved and stay engaged. I'm excited for ‘The Sustainability Wall’ to be that hub of information, located in the heart of resources at WWU: the Wilson Library,” said Carolyn Bowie, student lead on the project.  The proposal was funded in the spring of 2013 and installation was completed in the spring quarter of this year. 

The project team is excited about the opportunity to educate campus on the value of Lake Whatcom as a water resource.  A sign above the water bottle refill station includes a stunning aerial photograph of Lake Whatcom and provides information on the value and issues with Lake Whatcom. Both of the student team members were also involved in the campaign to remove water bottle usage from campus.  “This project also serves the need of students to fill their water bottles on campus, especially after our recent victory in ending bottled water sales. I've heard that employees at Zoe's are already directing students to make use of the newly installed refill station!” said Bowie.

The Green Energy Fee (GEF) Grant Program exists to promote experiential learning opportunities and sustainable practices at Western Washington University.  The GEF is funded by Western students, managed by the Office of Sustainability, and grants are chosen by the Green Energy Fee Committee, composed of students, staff, and faculty representatives. 

For more information on the Green Energy Fee Grant Program, visit wwu.edu/gef 

(This press release was written by and courtesy of Regan Clover, Green Energy Fee Grant Program Coordinator, Office of Sustainability. Photo by Patrick Schmidt; featured in photo are GEF Team Members Rob Lopresti, Clarissa Mansfield, Gerald Kitsis and Carolyn Bowie).

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Medieval Manuscripts Support Learning

Professor Katie Vulić has been bringing her medieval literature classes to Western Libraries Special Collections ever since she first began teaching at Western. For the first several years, Vulić taught students exclusively from copies of original works; Special Collections owns a number of facsimile reproductions of medieval manuscripts that helped her students gain an understanding of the original context and culture of their class texts.

At the same time that she was using these facsimile materials, Vulić was also very interested in finding an opportunity to introduce original materials into her courses so that her students could engage directly with original manuscripts and learn from them firsthand about medieval literary culture.

“One of the goals in using original manuscripts is for students to recognize how hugely different their reading practices are between reading mass-produced, cheap, clean texts versus hard-to-produce medieval luxury goods, the kind where every letter written is its own work of art,”  explained Vulić. "Additionally, with the facsimile materials, I could say ‘Here is what is known, here is what has already been discovered.’ With the original materials, I can do that too, but then I can also come back and ask, ‘What can we learn from these materials that is not yet known? What are the differences between medieval reading practices and our own?’”

Last year, Vulić was able to pose these questions to some of her graduate students after she made arrangements to borrow some original manuscript fragments and incunables (early printed books) from Washington State University’s Special Collections for her class to use. These materials were kept in Western Libraries Special Collections, and her graduate students were then able to spend a number of hours over a two-week period working directly with the borrowed materials.

“I had them go the whole nine yards with the manuscript fragments: transcribe passages, prepare a thorough description of their features, and check the existing databases in order to identify what they were. Students did say it was a lot of work but they also really enjoyed it and said I should keep the project going,” stated Vulić.

Though all of the medieval items loaned from Washington State were just individual leaves of parchment separated from their full original manuscripts, students can learn a lot from scraps and fragments. “If a book was taken apart like that, it was often because it was considered commonplace, outdated, or not valuable. Old manuscripts could be used for scrap, or for reinforcing the binding of other more current books. What that means is most of the scraps we can afford and that we see tend to be in Latin and church-related, but one advantage of that is they also tend to be searchable,” explained Vulić.

While some of the manuscript fragments have cataloged information as part of their records, other fragments have very little documented information accompanying them. However, for the fragments that are not searchable, there is still a lot that can be discovered.

“It’s hard to make a huge discovery in just one day, but sometimes we could use context clues to figure things out. And students come away with a real appreciation for the unique methods, challenges and experiences of this profession. They also gain firsthand experience with archival practices and discovering something ‘new’ in an archive, sometimes even contributing quite a lot to existing knowledge. Students are surprised by how hard these materials are to read, but they seem to have a lot of fun with it, as if they are working out puzzles. It’s an opportunity that undergraduates don’t usually have—a chance for them to see and interact with materials that are usually kept behind glass.”

This experience with her graduate students made her think of piloting a similar project in her undergraduate classes, and one year later,  Dean of Western Libraries Mark Greenberg helped facilitate another loan of original materials from a rare book dealer with whom he has worked in the past.

Vulić has since used these original manuscript fragments this past quarter in two of her undergraduate classes. She synthesized the highlights of what her graduate class did over a two week period into two days, and Vulić thinks her classes have enjoyed the experience. She noted that access to these materials gives students an enhanced sense of the culture, can correct misinformation from movies, video games, and popular culture, and can help students become more grounded in the time period from which the pieces were produced, while simultaneously creating opportunities for interaction with the original materials about which there might not be a lot of known information.

Vulić explained that while she wished Western Libraries would someday have its own collection of original manuscripts, she also wanted her colleagues to know about the resources available to them that Western Libraries can help provide. She stated that she is always surprised when she meets someone who teaches at Western who has not visited Special Collections.

“It would be lovely if more of our colleagues would take advantage of these resources. I have found it to be fantastic working with library staff. They are always so willing to work with me and to meet my teaching needs. They have always been the best partners in just the best possible ways. I cannot say enough good things about them. For faculty thinking about setting up a new class and using some of these resources, it may take a little work to get things going, but it will be worth it in the long run, and you will always get the support you need from the library!” 


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