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Celebrating Shakespeare’s 455th Birthday on April 23

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 24th, 2019

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Assistant Curator for WV Books & Printed Resources & Rare Book Librarian

Portrait of William Shakespeare

Spring is here and what better way to celebrate William Shakespeare’s 455th birthday, than to look at the way he used flowers in his plays. 

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Wilkinson retires, university community invited to reception on Thursday

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 24th, 2019
Carroll Wilkinson

If you were a student at West Virginia University sometime during the past four decades, you probably benefited from Carroll Wilkinson’s work at WVU Libraries.

Did you ever check out a book at the Charles C. Wise, Jr. Library or the Downtown Campus Library? Did you log into eReserves to retrieve required course materials? Are you a student-veteran studying for final exams in one of the Libraries’ two Study Bunkers?

After 41 years of service to WVU, Wilkinson officially retired April 15.

“Carroll Wilkinson has been a valued librarian at WVU for 41 years,” Dean of Libraries Karen Diaz said. “She’s seen many changes within the profession and on campus and has herself been a change agent in helping move the libraries ever forward. Her insights, experience, and wisdom have been incredibly valuable to me during my interim term as Dean, and into my permanent role. I’ll miss her very much, but can think of no one more deserving of a rich and healthy retirement!”

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The 1918 Spanish Influenza in Morgantown

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 15th, 2019

Blog post by Jessica Eichlin, Reference Supervisor, WVRHC.

Lucy Shuttlesworth, a twenty year old West Virginia University student, recorded the 1918 flu epidemic in her diary, writing that “the Spanish influ[enza] is spreading like mad, 150 of the boys have it, (the Delt house has been taken over as a hospital) ten girls at the hall and five of our kids at the house” have it.  The particularly deadly strain of Spanish influenza initially appeared in August 1918, but the first mention of the fall epidemic did not appear in a local Morgantown newspaper until September 11, 1918.  By September twenty-fifth, an unidentified Associated Press author states that “Spanish influenza has spread over the country so rapidly that officials of the public health service, the war and navy departments and the Red Cross conferred today on measures to help local communities in combating the disease,” which had spread to twenty-six states.  By October first, the number of cases nationwide reached 88,000, and the Spanish flu finally arrived in Morgantown.

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Learn about the Morgantown Seed Preservation Library

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 8th, 2019

WVU Libraries and the Morgantown Public Library will jointly hold events on Friday, April 12, in conjunction with Food Justice Day, to celebrate the opening of the Morgantown Seed Preservation Library.

The Downtown Campus Library will host a panel session on seed sovereignty and seed/food justice from 1:30-3 p.m. in the Milano Reading Room. Barbara Hengemihle, associate university librarian, will open the session, and the moderator will be Mehmet Oztan, a WVU service assistant professor of geography who created the Morgantown Seed Preservation Library in collaboration with the Morgantown Public Library, WVU Libraries and the Food Justice Lab at WVU.

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Library Faculty Assembly names Wright Outstanding Librarian for 2019

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 5th, 2019

The Awards Committee of the West Virginia University Library Faculty Assembly has selected Alyssa Wright, social sciences librarian, as the Outstanding Librarian for 2019.

The award, presented triennially, recognizes a faculty librarian who has made exceptional contributions toward the delivery, development, or expansion of library services or special programs for the constituencies of WVU. 

“Alyssa is a creative and dedicated librarian, and we are honored to present her with the Outstanding Librarian Award this year,” said Anna Crawford, chair of the Library Faculty Assembly Awards Committee. “The impact Alyssa has made with the social science students and faculty she works with is apparent and highly valued. And her work combining information literacy with community engagement is just one example of the kind of innovative services she provides.”

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“Understanding Trauma through Art and Literature” exhibit displays at Health Sciences Library

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 4th, 2019
Heart shaped paper sculpture

Rather than simply trying to define trauma, a group of undergraduate honors students created works of art that illustrate and narrate trauma. Their exhibit, “Understanding Trauma through Art and Literature,” will remain on display at the West Virginia University Health Sciences Library through May 20.

“In healthcare, practitioners are often tasked with working with those in acute distress, which we might generally describe as traumatic. Understanding trauma, then, is an important aspect of the human condition that relates to medicine,” said Renée Nicholson, an assistant professor of multidisciplinary studies.

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Guest Post: Clover Lick Homecoming

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 3rd, 2019

This blog post, written by Libby Coyner, Archivist and Assistant Librarian at Elon University’s Carol Grotnes Belk Library, was originally posted on November 30, 2018 at https://www.librarylibby.com/single-post/2018/11/30/Clover-Lick-Homecoming. You can see additional photos relevant to the post at that site.

 *The text here is from a talk I gave as part of Elon University’s Numen Lumen weekly storytelling event. 

It’s November 2018, Thanksgiving, and I’m making my way to West Virginia, 14 miles past the Virginia border into to a place that no longer supports a store, post office, or gas station. No cellphone service. My pal from graduate school, now working as a librarian in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has agreed to come along for the ride. We prepare for three days with 24 degree weather and no running water.

We are making our way to the little turn in the road where my father was born, which has been all but abandoned for about thirty years now, save a few old houses that get dusted off and used during hunting season. Clover Lick, unincorporated, a sign reads, sits along the Greenbrier River, and declined around the same time that the train stopped coming. Today, Clover Lick is mostly in a state of neglect. My cousin maintains one of the houses, always dubbed “Cold Comfort Farm” in our family, and this is where we will stay.

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Libraries’ Research Commons provides expertise and support

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 3rd, 2019
Student working on computer

Are you preparing to start a new research project? Are you exploring publishing options for your latest article?

In addition to connecting you with needed resources, West Virginia University Libraries’ librarians and staff can support users with a high level of knowledge and expertise at many points in the research life-cycle.

Last fall, WVU Libraries launched the Research Commons, a suite of services to foster interdisciplinary connections and support graduate student and faculty research needs.

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Libraries offering Scopus training during Research Week

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 28th, 2019
Screen capture of scopus website

In conjunction with West Virginia University’s inaugural Research Week, WVU Libraries will offer multiple workshops to help students and faculty take full advantage of Scopus, a popular scholarly search tool.

Currently the largest curated abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, Scopus includes the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities. It can be accessed on the Libraries website.

Sessions are scheduled at all three Morgantown campus. On each day there will be an overview session that includes lunch.

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Spotlight on Sabraton's Namesake

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 26th, 2019

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC

Earlier this week, I attended the Seventh Annual History Roundtable, organized by the Morgantown Historic Landmarks Commission. About half of the meeting was devoted to reports about the recent Sabraton Neighborhood Survey. (FYI, the Historic Landmark Commission’s archive is at the Aull Center, if you want to see their work in full.) Despite living in the Sabraton area, I realized how little I knew about Sabraton. I learned that Sabraton was named after the first wife of Hon. George C. Sturgiss (1842-1925), Sabra. In one resource, her name was reported as Sabra Chadwick, but I think her maiden name was actually Sabra Jane Vance. In this post I briefly explore the name of Sabraton as well as what remains of Sabra’s life story.

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Looking for a fun summer online course? Register for ULIB300: Film and Media Literacy

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 22nd, 2019
Graphic for film course

Wherever you travel this summer, as long as you have Internet access, you can take ULIB300: Film and Media Literacy. In this 12-week online course, students will watch the films of Quentin Tarantino, including “Inglourious Basterds,” “Kill Bill,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Reservoirs Dogs,” “Hateful Eight,” and “Jackie Brown,” and discuss how they relate to other films in their genre, criticism, marketing, film vocabulary, and media literacy.

This 3-credit course fulfills GEC 5 and 7, and GEF 6. To register in STAR, use the Class Schedule Search and set Subject to “Library Instruction.” Learn more at the Libraries website or contact the instructor, Matt Steele, at matthew.steele1@mail.wvu.edu or 304-293-4240.

WVU Libraries opens Congressman Arch Moore archives, releases digital photographs

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 19th, 2019
Arch Moore shakes hands with President Eisenhower
Congressman Arch Moore shakes hands with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, circa 1957-1960

West Virginia University Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center has opened the congressional archives of former U.S. Congressman and West Virginia Governor Arch A. Moore Jr. and released digitized photographs that document Moore’s decade in the House of Representatives. 

A native of Moundsville, W.Va., Arch A. Moore Jr. served in the European theatre during World War II before enrolling at West Virginia University as a political science major in 1946. He later earned his law degree from WVU College of Law. In 1949, Moore married Shelley Riley, a fellow WVU student, and they had three children together, Arch A. (Kim) Moore III, Shelley Wellons, and Lucy St. Clair. Daughter Shelley served in the U.S. House of Representatives (2001-2014) and the U.S Senate (2015-present).

In 1952, Moore began his political career in the West Virginia House of Delegates, and in 1956 he was elected to the First District congressional seat. He went on to serve six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1957-1969) winning as a Republican in a predominantly Democratic state. He is the only person to serve three terms as Governor of West Virginia (1969-1977, 1985-1989).

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Springtime Selections from the Green Photography Collection

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 12th, 2019

Blog post by Michael Ridderbusch, Associate Curator, WVRHC.

The James Edwin Green photography collection of over 500 glass plate negatives at the History Center contains a variety of images that document life in western Pennsylvania and Pleasants County, West Virginia.  This blog will sample images that are seasonal, relating to the theme of springtime and warmer weather.

The first image shows the photographer, James Edwin Green (1878-1952) with his family at Orchard View Farm:

Family seated outside eating watermelon in an orchard, with text "Who Said Watermelon!"

James Edwin Green (1878-1952) and family at Orchard View Farm,
Pleasants County, West Virginia, ca. 1905-1910.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

In this picture we see his wife Edith Sarah Taylor Green with their three children (left to right) Virginia, Jeanette, and James Edwin, Jr.  If you look closely, you can see James Edwin, Sr. holding a string.  This string was attached to a camera in order to trigger its shutter.

James Green, Sr. also used his photography for creating Easter greetings as shown in the following example:

Girl in Easter dress, holding a toy bunny, next to an Easter basket

Easter Greeting card featuring a Green child; 1909.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

Woman in orchard, with blooms on the trees, with text "Down in Blossom Row"

A view of Orchard View Farm, Pleasants County, West Virginia, ca. 1905-1910.
It may be the photographer’s wife, Edith Green, who is strolling through the orchard.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

Man in orchard with three children, with text "Spring Time"

A portrait of James Edwin Green and his three children, Orchard View Farms,
Pleasants County, West Virginia, ca. 1905-1910.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

Many photographs in the collection were shot in Foxburg, Pennsylvania, where many members of the Green family lived, like the following:

Four children seated on a horse or mule, surrounded by family members

Children of James Edwin Green playing with relatives at Foxburg, Pennsylvania, ca. 1905-1910.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,
Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

In this picture we see Mrs. Edith Green on the left, her son James Edwin Green, Jr. on the horse, and her daughter Virginia on the right with hands behind her back.  Aunt Roseanne Green of Foxburg is holding a child up on the horse.

Three children in orchard surrounded by chickens, with text "Easter Greetings -1909- From St. Mary's W. Va."

Another Easter Greeting with Virginia, Jeanette, and James Green; 1909.
(From collection A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer,Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material.)

For more information about the James Green photograph collection, see the blog:
The Photographs of James Green and the Democratization of Photography

Sources consulted:
A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer, Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material, box 15/folder 15a for genealogy information
A&M 3460, James Edwin Green, Photographer, Glass Plate Negatives and Other Material, box 15/folder 16a for identification of subjects in photographs

New Books on Frederick Douglass at the West Virginia and Regional History Center

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 8th, 2019

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Assistant Curator for WV Books & Printed Resources & Rare Book Librarian

The life of Frederick Douglass is infinitely compelling.  Born enslaved, he barely knew his mother, who died when he was young, and never knew his father.  As a young man he escaped enslavement to become a prominent activist and one of the finest orators of the 19th century.

With the publication of David Blight’s new biography, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, it seemed an appropriate time to share the West Virginia and Regional History Center’s extensive book collection on Frederick Douglass. 

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.
David W. Blight

Cover of book Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, showing a color portrait of Douglass

An award winning author, David W. Blight has written what is called the definitive biography of Frederick Douglass. 

Frederick Douglass: A Life in Documents
Frederick Douglass

Cover of book Frederick Douglass: A Life in Documents, showing a portrait of a young Douglass

The University of Virginia Press describes Douglass as “the most prominent African American activist of the nineteenth century.”  His life is well documented and he left behind a vast amount of documentary evidence on his life in slavery and achievements in freedom. This volume gathers and interprets valuable selections from a variety of Douglass’s writings, including speeches, editorials, correspondence, and autobiographies.  This book is part of the series: A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era. 

Picturing Frederick Douglass:
An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s
Most Photographed American
John Stauffer, Zoe Trodd, and Celeste-Marie Bernier

Cover of book Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century's Most Photographed American, showing a color portrait of a middle aged Douglass

Paging through this volume the reader is overwhelmed by the quantity, and the variety of photographs.  This rich collection shows Douglass from his youth to old age.  Highly recommended.

Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass & Abraham Lincoln
John Stauffer

Cover of book Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass & Abraham Lincoln, showing portraits of Douglass and Lincoln

This dual biography looks at the life of two men, both self-made, who rose to prominence from the unlikely sources; Lincoln from poverty and Douglass from slavery. 

John Brown:
An Address by Frederick Douglass, at the Fourteenth Anniversary of Storer
College, Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, May 30, 1881.
Frederick Douglass

Cover of book titled John Brown: An Address by Frederick Douglass, at the Fourteenth Anniversary of Storer College, Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, May 30, 1881

Frederick Douglass was the keynote speaker for Decoration Day, May 30, 1881, at Storer College.  It was also the 14th anniversary of the college, the first institution of higher learning for African Americans in West Virginia, as well as the Storer College commencement.  This speech, printed here in its entirety, is one of the most important speeches on John Brown. 

Two Autobiographies:
My Bondage and My Freedom
Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

My Bondage and My Freedom Book Cover, showing a portrait of a younger Frederick Douglass
Life and Times of Frederick Douglass Book Cover, showing a portrait of Douglass when he was older

Frederick Douglass wrote three autobiographies during his lifetime; two of them, My Bondage and My Freedom and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, examine different times in the author’s life.  The first, My Bondage and My Freedom, published in 1855, expands on his first autobiography, The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, and recalls his life as a slave.   The second book, Life and Times, looks at the latter part of his life. 

To see these books, and others on the life of Frederick Douglass, please visit the West Virginia and Regional History Center.  Several of these books are currently on display on our New Arrivals shelf.  

Libraries offer ways to combat high cost of textbooks

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 28th, 2019
Chart on high textbook costs

As part of Open Education Week (March 4-8), West Virginia University Libraries, faculty and students are focusing on the high cost of textbooks.

Since 1978, the cost of college textbooks has risen 812%, a rate faster than medical services (575%), new home prices (325%) and the consumer price index (250%), according to statistics from the American Enterprise Institute.

The rising cost of textbooks impacts a student’s bank account as well as their grades. The Florida Virtual Campus has been studying the effect of rising textbooks costs on students’ purchasing decisions, their academic success and their awareness of OER options.

Their 2018 study found that the cost of textbooks continue to be a negative influence on students’ grades and success. A PDF of the “2018 Student Textbook & Course Materials Survey: Executive Summary is available at this link.

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February is for the Birds

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
February 27th, 2019

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC

Happy National Bird-Feeding Month, everyone!

February was initially proposed for this month-long observance because winter can be a hard time for birds to find food (more on the official resolution here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Bird-Feeding_Month). The month is now celebrated by the National Bird-Feeding Society and bird enthusiasts across the country. The WVRHC has a few collections about birds and birding that will be of interest to other hobbyists and scholars.

Boy scout holding bird feeder

West Virginia has two extant chapters of the National Audubon Society—the Mountaineer chapter based in Morgantown, and the Potomac Valley chapter based in Shepherdstown. The Mountaineer Chapter, chartered in 1971, gave some of its records to the WVRHC.

The Mountaineer Chapter created a packet titled “Identifying and Feeding Your Winter Birds.”

page showing descriptive text and/or images for the following birds: Downy Woodpecker, Mourning Dove, Blue jay, Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse

They let people know what birds to expect in the winter, and some useful facts about them.

Clipping with heading "What kind of feeders should I get?" showing seven types of bird feeders

The packet also gives a quick primer on the types of feeders you can use. (No word yet on which feeder will keep the raccoons away from my suet.)

Other accomplishments reflected in the chapter records are bird counts and activism, including an interim report for the ca. 1984-1985 Morgantown Screech Owl Habitat Improvement Research Project.

Newspaper "feature publication" cover with image of owl and headline "Whooo gives a hoot?"

The WVRHC also has the collections of Earl A. Brooks (WVU class of 1897) and Maurice Brooks (WVU professor from 1932-1969), both of whom had a keen interest in birds.  Earl kept notebooks recording his and co-workers notes on sites where specific species were observed, nesting sites, habits, etc.  His notes really helped Maurice Brooks with his work—in his A Check-List of West Virginia Birds, he writes, “Special use has been made of unpublished notes of Rev. Earle [sic] A. Brooks and of Professor E. R. Grose.” Below are two of the maps from Earl’s papers, and text for those same birds out of Maurice’s work a few decades later.

Map of West Virginia showing sighting spots for the White Pelican

Pelicanus erythrorhynchos, or White Pelican: “Of accidental occurrence in the state. Two records for this species were made during the last week in April 1910. E. A. Brooks examined one of two specimens taken in Braxton County on April 23, 191, and mounted by E.J. Hughes. Dr. Roy Bird Cook noted a flock along the Ohio River in Wood County during the same week. In the autumn of 1943 a single individual spent some weeks along the Great Kanawha River, near Charleston, Kanawha County, where it was seen by hundreds of persons. The West Virginia University Museum* has a specimen taken by a Mr. Dawson along the Cacapon River, Morgan County.”

*Blogger’s note: WVU doesn’t have just one museum, and I don’t yet know which of them might have a white pelican specimen.

Map of West Virginia showing sighting and breeding spots for the Purple Martin

Progne subis subis, or Purple Martin: “Local summer resident, seemingly much more restricted in range than formerly. Its colonies are scattered throughout the state, save in areas of heavy forest.” (The National Audubon Society website confirms this species is still somewhat in decline today.)

Anyone who wants to begin backyard bird feeding may not need more than some seeds and a feeder to get started, but knowledge of what birds you are likely to attract can make it easier to find the right types of feeders and food. Additionally, birdwatchers who keep tabs on the population can help identify problematic declines and help keep an eye on bird habitats. If you want to learn more about early 1900s bird populations in West Virginia or more modern bird-related activism, drop by and check out our collections.

Dark colored bird sitting on top of a bird cage that is affixed to a wall.

References:

Brooks, Maurice. A Check-List of West Virginia Birds. Agricultural Experiment Station, College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics, West Virginia University, 1944. (Bulletin 316)

Help lower textbook costs for students

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 26th, 2019
Student working on a laptop

Are you an instructor who is concerned about the impact of high textbook costs on your students’ academic success? If so, you might be interested in two Open Educational Resources (OER) opportunities being offered by WVU Libraries.

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain and can be customized and re-purposed. Open textbooks are complete and can be authoritatively verified, adopted by many faculty across the country, and licensed to be freely used, edited, and distributed.

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Downtown Campus Library to host “Women and Water” exhibit and panels

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 20th, 2019
Woman standing on porch

“Women and Water,” an exhibit featuring artwork collected and created by West Virginia women active in the fields of water policy and advocacy, will be on display at West Virginia University’s Downtown Campus Library from March 4 to April 30 in conjunction with the WVU Libraries’ year-long “WATER” exhibit and Women’s History Month.

The Downtown Campus Library will host an opening reception on March 4 from 5-7 p.m. in Room 1020 that will include a poetry reading by Affrilachian poet Crystal Good and a performance art piece by Heather Schneider.

“This exhibit celebrates the major role that Appalachian women have played in defense of water since the 1970s,” said Martina Angela Caretta, a WVU assistant professor of geography. “The pieces on display and two panels – with women water professionals and on women’s health following the 2014 Elk River Spill – speak to the continued and renewed importance of water protection and restoration in our state beyond gender, class and racial axis.”

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Scholarly search tool Scopus returns to library resources

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 19th, 2019
Image of a computer screen

Do you need to save time in the initial information gathering stage of your research, monitor a research topic or trend, identify the top researchers in a particular field or track the success of your own research?

West Virginia University Libraries has reinstated its subscription to Scopus, a popular scholarly search tool. Currently the largest curated abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, it includes the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities. It can be accessed on the Libraries website.

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Art in the Libraries seeking submission for craftwork exhibit at Health Sciences Center

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 8th, 2019
Collage of pottery and jewelry

The WVU Art in the Libraries committee, in collaboration with the Health Sciences Center, is seeking visual artists working in the healthcare field at WVU and WVU Medicine to participate in an exhibition in the fall of 2019 in the Health Sciences Library.

The second Community Show at the Health Sciences Library will focus on handmade art and crafts, including pottery, jewelry, fine art, leather, metal, wood, glass, photography, textiles, knitting and other forms. It is open to any full- or part-time Health Sciences staff, faculty or students.

Winning submissions will be displayed in the Health Sciences Library during the fall 2019 semester, with a reception to be announced.

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