Western Libraries News

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In Memorium: Dr. James W. (Jim) Scott, 1925-2011

Western Libraries is saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. James (Jim) Scott, Professor Emeritus of Western’s Department of Geography and a founder and first Director of the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies.

Dr. Scott joined the faculty at Western Washington State College in 1966, and as an historical geographer became a noted and prolific scholar of the Pacific Northwest region. His interdisciplinary interests and expertise were evidenced in his wide range of professional achievements. In addition to his teaching, research and writings, he was chair of the Department of Geography and Regional Planning (1974-1982), and in 1971 established the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies as a regional research institute and manuscript repository. Under Dr. Scott’s leadership, CPNWS grew to operate a successful series of academic publications and conferences, and archived a host of key historical collections that form the foundation of its present-day holdings.

Dr. Scott’s contributions to Western, the community and to regional scholarship were remarkable. He authored, co-wrote and edited a wide variety of publications, including Whatcom County in Maps, Early Industries of Bellingham Bay and Whatcom County (both with Daniel Turbeville III), an Historical Atlas of Washington (with Roland L. DeLorme) and the award-winning Washington: A Centennial Atlas. He served on the Washington State Historical Records Advisory Board, co-founded the Association of Washington Geographers, was active in the Pacific Coast Geographers’ Association, and was also a founding member of the Northwest Archivists Association. Following retirement in 1993, Dr. Scott and his wife Barta resided in Aberdeen for many years, and had recently returned to Whatcom County.

Dr. Jim Scott (right) pictured at Huxley Map Library, circa 1974-1977. Image courtesy Western Libraries Special Collections.

Dr. Jim Scott (right) pictured at Huxley Map Library, circa 1974-1977.

Image courtesy of Western Libraries Special Collections.

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Special Collections Selection: The White Cascade

Krist, Gary
Publication Information: 
New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2007
Special Collections -- Northwest Collection
Call Number: 
QC929.A8 K75 2007
July, 2011

The White CascadeThe White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America’s Deadliest Avalanche by Gary Krist.

This riveting book provides a wide-ranging historical perspective of the most tragic avalanche in our country’s history, and it took place in Western Washington’s Steven Pass during the late winter of 1910. 

Western Front story on the Western Front project

Sandy CelecStudents from a journalism class who are working for the Western Front visited Special Collections to ask questions and take photographs about the Western Front digitization project.

Sandy Celec is photographed at her workstation in Special Collections today.

The story may appear in the new student edition of the Western Front later this summer.

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Special Collections Selection: American Fly Fishing: A History

Schullery, Paul
Publication Information: 
New York: Nick Lyons Books, 1987
Special Collections - Fly Fishing Collection
Call Number: 
SH456.S32 1987
June, 2011

Fly fishing is an ancient and contemporary sport with a passionate following. Many anecdotal, philosophical, travelogue, and how-to books are written each year, but few books delve into its rich history. Paul Schullery writes the exceptions. He has written several books on the history and culture of fly fishing, the first and most comprehensive being, American fly fishing: a history.

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The Commons is coming, the Commons is coming!

Just as the Library prides itself on providing information resources to users in a timely manner, preserving rare manuscripts, and offering information literacy education - it is also dedicated to preparing a collaborative space where learning can happen.

That’s why the Learning Commons is coming to the second floor of the Library. This dynamic environment will be a special place where learning is facilitated by interactive spaces, informed by diverse materials, mediated by innovative technology, and supported by peer and faculty guides. Watch for the Tutoring Center joining other partners to launch this exciting new place at WWU come fall.

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Homemade Music Oral Histories Now Online

Interested in folk music and the local folk scene? The Whatcom County Homemade Music Society has supported musicians and music in Bellingham for over thirty years. Between 2005 and 2007, then Fairhaven College student Coty Hogue interviewed founders and members of the Society, who shared many music-related memories dating from the 1960s to the present day.  

Interview transcripts can now be accessed and enjoyed online as part of Western Librares Digital Collections - a complete guide to transcripts and audio recordings archived at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies is also available here.

Curious to learn more about other oral history collections available at Western Libraries? Check out this Library Guide for more information. 

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Special Collections Selection: Personal Memoirs of P.H. Sheridan, General, US Army

Sheridan, Philip Henry, 1831-1888
Publication Information: 
New York : C.L. Webster & Co., 1888
Special Collections - Rare Book Collection
Call Number: 
E467.1.S54 S53
May, 2011

Sheridan coverIn the spirit of recent commemorations of the start of the American Civil War, Special Collections is pleased to highlight this remarkable memoir by one of the Union Army's most able and effective military leaders.

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LibQUAL Summit Report on Library Future Released

On February 22, 2011, faculty, students and administrators were invited to participate in a discussion sponsored by the Western Libraries.  This event, Building the Future of the Library: A Dialogue, was developed based on so called “LibQUAL+ Summits” conducted by other university libraries.  The event was as an opportunity for the Western Libraries to gather stake-holder comments and concerns by asking them to address questions relating to data gathered by the 2010 LibQUAL+ Survey of user perceptions and expectations.

The 50+ participants were broken out into 7 small groups.  These groups were provided with three discussion questions connected by the over-arching theme that students and faculty have different expectations of the library.  Given the difficult fiscal future the university and library faces the Libraries believes that this type of candid conversation can inform planning and future directions.

Comments made by student and faculty participants alike indicated a great deal of appreciation for the opportunity to speak with each other and to the Libraries about the discussion questions that were provided as well as other concerns.

A summary report that contains excerpts from the dialogues was distributed to the participants, Senate Library Committee and library staff on April 15th.  That document is now available to the campus community on the Western Libraries web site.

Building the Future of the Library - Summary Report

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Library Snapshot Day





Washington Library Snapshot 2011. On April 12, 2011, hundreds of libraries throughout Washington State joined in the ALA's "Library Snapshot Day" effort. 

What is Snapshot Day?
Library Snapshot Day is a local, state & national initiative designed to illustrate the value of academic, public, & school libraries. For the Western Libraries, it was a great way to share a glimpse of a day in the life of our library while joining others across the Evergreen State.

The statistics collected show the types of activities and interactions that occured in the Western Libraries on Snapshot Day.

  • Total number of hours the library was open on Snapshot Day: 16.5
  • Patron Visits/Door Count: 6,491
  • Total Circulation for the day: 1,266
  • Number of hits to our website: 6,783
  • Number of hits to our catalog: 5,798
  • Course Reserve Materials checked out: 149
  • Number of items loaned via Summit & ILL: 143
  • Number of students participating in Information Literacy and Library Instruction sessions: 67
    • Library 201 (23 students)
    • Comm (25 students)
    • Am. Cultural Studies @ CPNWS (19)
  • Number of logins to full text research databases (daily average estimate 350 )
  • How many full-text electronic resources were downloaded (daily average estimate 133
  • Number of students served by instruction in one-on-one or reference desk interactions:
    • Circ Desk: 131 total interactions
    • Reference Desk: 145
    • Map Library:  6
    • University Archives and Records Center: 10
    • Center for Pacific Northwest Studies & NW Regional Archives: 24
    • Special Collections: 4
    • Writing Center consultations: 7
  • Number of students served by instruction or assistance with tech/computers in one-on-one interactions: 59 
  • Number of students served by instruction or assistance with tech/computers in formal classroom setting: 15 
  • Programs and/or training sessions offered on Snapshot Day:
    • Writing Center Workshop: 25 attended
    • Panel & Workshop: Reading Across Differences: exploring disciplinary conventions: 26 attended - A panel & interactive dialogue of  WWU faculty & students, focusing on disciplinary conventions in writing and communication, discussing disciplinary conventions in writing and communication & demonstrate how they read academic texts in their disciplines. Participants had opportunity to apply some of the ideas presented and engage in dialogue around them. Students learned how to cope with the multitude of style conventions in the academic texts assigned, & how to read more deeply across their classes. 
    •  Cooperative Story -- bigger than the one word novella: “Create Your Own Story @ your library” A National Library Week Event (over 200 entries total) - As part of National Library Week April 10 – 16, 2011, the Western Libraries invited the campus to participate in creating a shared story. Students & faculty contributed two lines at a time to the continuous story, either on Viking Village or on paper (or both) in the Library.  At the end, each story will be posted on Viking Village & the Library Facebook page.
    •  Art Exhibit: Week of the Young Child (art work created by young students at the WWU Center for Early Childhood Development)
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Westerns' Student Newspaper Digitized by Library

Since its beginnings in 1899 as a “Normal School,” there has been a student newspaper at Western Washington University. From Normal Messenger to Northwest Viking to WWCollegian to Western Front (and other names in between), the student newspaper has chronicled the social, athletic, academic and creative life of the institution throughout its trajectory from teacher-training college to a prominent university with more than 15,000 students.

Thanks to the generosity of donations from Cindy Hacherl (Class of 1984) and Don Hacherl and Bert Halprin (class of 1971) more than a century of back editions of the student newspaper are being digitized by Western Libraries Special Collections.

Cindy Hatcherl and Bert Halprin are former Western Front student journalists. “It’s often said that journalism is the first draft of history, and thanks to this wonderful gift from Cindy, Don and Bert, the first draft of Western’s history — as published in the Front — will now be available to a much broader audience,” said John Harris, interim chair of the Department of Journalism.

The process of scanning and digitizing the back issues is ongoing but what has been scanned thus far can be accessed at http://content.wwu.edu/cdm-wfront/browse.php The culture of the times, the evolution of the campus and the sweep of campus leaders and activities all emerge from back editions. Readers can learn about campus and local life in 1899, read about how people coped with the Great Depression or local concerns as World War II loomed.

Digitizing the Western student newspaper was initiated by Marian Alexander; Tamara Belts, Sandy Celec, Leslie Lowery, and Peter Smith are library personnel currently working on the project.  More than 55,000 pages will be digitized when the project is completed.  Readers will be able to browse or search the newspapers from anywhere at any time.

“We hope this will be a great resource for students, the community and those doing research on local history,” said Tamara Belts, Special Collections manager.

The project was facilitated through the efforts of the Western Washington University Foundation.  For more information on this or other Digital Collections available online via Western Libraries, please see: http://library.wwu.edu/digitalcollections

(repost from the Office of University Communications)

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