Ask A Librarian

The Importance of a Good Cookbook

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
December 5th, 2018

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

Recently the West Virginia and Regional History Center received the gift of hundreds of cookbooks that are part of the Lucinda Ebersole Collection.  Ms. Ebersole was bookstore co-owner, cookbook enthusiast, editor, and book collector. Her collection of cookbooks spans the late nineteenth century up to 2016.  The much beloved cookbook pictured here arrived as part of the larger Ebersole collection.

Beneath the hand sewn plaid cover is the Rumford Complete Cook Book printed in 1918.  Nearly every page is covered with handwritten recipes, cooking spills and splashes marking favorite recipes, clippings pasted on pages that completely cover the text and recipes attached by paperclips.

Yellow, blue, and red cookbook cover

Yellow, blue, and red cookbook cover Read the rest of this entry »

Libraries adjusting materials spending in response to budget realities

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
December 3rd, 2018

Student using laptop.

By Karen Diaz, Dean of WVU Libraries

For two years now, West Virginia University Libraries has been working toward bringing our materials spending in line with the new budget realities that we have faced since 2016. One of the biggest challenges in our reduction in funds is managing “bundled” journals subscriptions that historically provided us with more journal title subscriptions at less cost. Unfortunately, over time the inflationary costs of these bundle subscriptions have outpaced the size of our budget.

In 2016, when we were first presented with the need to reduce our spending, bundled journal packages accounted for 30 percent of our materials budget but only provided 6.2 percent of our titles. We recognized at the time that we would have to address this significant portion of our budget to achieve the necessary savings. We did so immediately by unbundling our Wiley subscription package which provided us with about $400,000 in savings at that time. Now we are moving to unbundle the remaining packages.

Remedies, Consequences and Negotiations

Our librarians have spent the last year and a half doing a tremendous amount of analysis on our bundled packages. We have looked at where there is title overlap between different packages we purchase. We have purchased a detailed report that helps us understand which journals our campus researchers are downloading from, publishing in, and citing in their published research. Based on that we have been able to rank in importance the journals for our community in a data driven manner. Our internal collections advisory committee has reviewed and adjusted this work based on extra knowledge gleaned from relationships they have developed with colleges across campus.

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Libraries seeking submissions for “Appalachian Futures” exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 27th, 2018

Appalachian Futures

What do you imagine is in the future for Appalachia? West Virginia University Libraries is developing an interdisciplinary exhibit for 2019-20 themed around “Appalachian Futures.”

The WVU Libraries’ Arts in the Libraries Committee is seeking content from scholars, artists, community groups and practitioners from a range of fields to integrate into a curated exhibition that will be designed and installed in WVU’s Downtown Campus Library in the spring and summer of 2019, and potentially travel throughout the state.

“This collaborative, multidisciplinary exhibit and programming will address the dominant contemporary narratives about Appalachia in a new way – how the people of Appalachia have worked and will work to rewrite their own narrative and transcend limiting definitions of what it means to be Appalachian,” said Sally Deskins, exhibits and programs coordinator for WVU Libraries.

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Libraries accepting submissions for Annual Faculty/Staff Exhibits Award

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 26th, 2018
Avatar exhibit

“Avatars and their Players: From Object to Other,” an exhibit by 2018 award winner Dr. Jaime Banks.

The West Virginia University Libraries’ Art in the Libraries committee seeks submissions for the Libraries’ Annual Faculty/Staff Exhibits Award. The committee invites current WVU faculty and staff to submit ideas for consideration for an exhibit to visually showcase their scholarship in new and experimental ways, providing a visual evolution of their work, visualizing their research and influences, or answering a research question.

The winner will receive a $1,000 professional development funds award and an exhibition in Downtown Campus Library, Room 1020. The winner will give a public lecture, program, or demonstration. Non-art faculty or staff may submit a proposal based on their academic research that could become visualized with Library consultation and limited resources. Applicants must submit an outline of their proposal on the Propose an Exhibit online form, with “Annual Faculty/Staff Exhibits Award Submission” in the Proposed Exhibit Location section, by midnight Feb. 28, 2019. More information is available at exhibits.lib.wvu.edu.

The 2018 winner was Dr. Jaime Banks, who worked with Dr. Nick Bowman to create the exhibit “Avatars and their Players: From Object to Other,” which visualizes their scholarly research on the experiences and effects of video gamers’ connections with their avatars. It will remain on display in the Downtown Campus Library, Room 1020, through Dec. 30.

Esther Benford, Engineer

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 19th, 2018

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC.

Sometimes, when processing a new collection of archival materials, you get an interesting snapshot of someone’s life.  Occasionally, if you want to know how that person’s story continues, you will have to do some research outside the collection.  While processing a new collection, I came across clippings and a few photos of Esther Benford. According to one of the clippings, from a city newspaper, she was a WVU student on track to receive in 1937 the “first degree in civil engineering ever granted to a woman” (probably “at WVU” and not the first in the world, but the article didn’t specify).

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Honor an Outstanding Librarian or Distinguished Library Supporter

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 15th, 2018

student talking with librarian

The WVU Libraries Faculty Assembly is seeking nominations for the Outstanding Librarian Award and Distinguished Service Award. These awards are presented once every three years to recognize exceptional contributions toward the delivery, development or expansion of library services or special programs for the constituencies of WVU.

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Karen Diaz named permanent dean of WVU Libraries

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 12th, 2018

Karen Diaz

West Virginia University’s interim dean of LibrariesKaren Diaz, has been appointed the Libraries’ permanent dean by Provost Joyce McConnell.

“Karen has been successful in various roles in our libraries because she is a great leader and consensus-builder who has truly earned the trust and support of her talented faculty and staff,” McConnell said. “I know that she will continue to lead in this thoughtful, positive way as the dean, ensuring that the WVU libraries continue to be among our most valuable campus resources.”

Diaz first joined the WVU Libraries as associate dean in January of 2016. She worked extensively with academic department heads and initiated efforts to meet the challenges of a contemporary research library through Open Access initiatives, “engaged librarian” models and cross-functional teams.

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Discovering World War I at the History Center, Part 4: The Elsie Janis Memorabilia Collection

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 9th, 2018

Blog post by Michael Ridderbusch, Associate Curator, WVRHC.

On the 11th of this month of November, at 11:00 AM Paris time, will occur the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  America suffered casualties of over 115,000 in this conflict, making it the third costliest war in American history, following World War II (over 400,000) and the Civil War (750,000).  This sacrifice inspired President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 to ask Americans to recognize “those who had died in the country’s service.”  In time, his moral injunction led to Congressional actions that ultimately established in 1957 Veterans Day as we know it today.

 

In times of relative peace, we of course recognize the service of those in the armed forces.  In times of war we aspire to more.  These aspirations often take the form of serving in hospitals, working in the arms industry, etc.  In addition to these activities of material support, however, are ones of moral support to the troops.  In the Second World War the United Service Organizations (USO), a nonprofit organization established by request of President Roosevelt in 1941, provided such support.  Although many entertainers answered the call, the comedian Bob Hope has become most identified with the USO, so much so that the organization is currently known as the “Bob Hope USO.”  He not only entertained during World War II, but also during the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.  Lesser known and even forgotten, however, is Elsie Janis, a vaudeville star who also entertained troops, albeit during World War I.  Her rapport and connection to audiences of soldiers was so great that she was immortalized as “the sweetheart of the AEF” (American Expeditionary Force).  The History Center has recently acquired memorabilia regarding Elsie Janis, including photographs, clippings, and other material documenting both her vaudeville years and World War I service.  Read the rest of this entry »

Exhibit presentation to journey into the world of “Avatars and their Players”

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 7th, 2018

Avatar exhibit

Do gamers have a special connection with their avatars? Drs. Jaime Banks and Nick Bowman will explore that and other questions in their presentation Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library, Room 1020.

The “Avatars and their Players: From Object to Other” exhibit, on display at the DCL through Dec. 30, visualizes Banks and Bowman’s scholarly research on the experiences and effects of video gamers’ connections with their avatars. The exhibit features a curated collection of submitted images and narratives avatar stories that recounts users’ favorite memories with favorite videogame avatars.

“These stories illustrate the impact avatars have had on their lives—dispelling assumptions and myths about gamers and highlighting the ways that avatars can be meaningful in contemporary life,” Banks said.

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An Afternoon with Isaac Asimov: Talk and Exhibit

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 7th, 2018

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

Wednesday, October 31, the Rare Book Room, part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center at the WVU Libraries, hosted an event to highlight one of our extraordinary collections: the works of Isaac Asimov.  This event was designed to recognize our extensive Asimov collection and to celebrate our donors.

The event included an exhibit, shown below, that was on display in the Downtown Campus Library Atrium, and a talk by Nebula award winning author Andy Duncan, Professor of Writing at Frostburg State University.

Student viewing Isaac Asimov materials in glass cases in the library atrium

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WVU Libraries launches repository for scholarship, creative work and research

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 2nd, 2018

screenshot of research repository website

West Virginia University Libraries has launched the Research Repository @ WVU, an online, openly available, home for the scholarship, creative work and research of University faculty, researchers and students.

“The Research Repository @ WVU provides the University community with a library-supported platform for sharing their work with the worldwide scholarly community,” said Ian Harmon, scholarly communications librarian.

Harmon said the Research Repository, available at researchrepository.wvu.edu, can increase a work’s impact, provide free access to federally funded research and share findings with researchers and others within West Virginia and around the world who may not be able to afford high journal subscription fees. The Repository is a collaboration between the Libraries and the WVU Office of Research.

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Soup Beans and Archives Month

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 23rd, 2018

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC.

Beans mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Growing up outside Appalachia, I remember seven-bean soups being prepared, glass jars full of artfully layered dry ingredients, and sold by church ladies for charity purposes, frequently around the holidays. When my family bought a jar, it always felt like a treat. The other bean-treat of my youth was our neighbor’s chili. I’m fairly certain that it contained multiple kinds of beans, plus a few green veggie bits, and such a good flavor. (I invite you to imagine my dismay when we moved to Texas and I was told that “real” chili contained no beans at all.)

For people across the country and across the globe, beans are a staple food. You can have baked beans, beans on toast, falafel, hummus, refried beans, red bean paste, red beans and rice, succotash, lentil soup, shiro, etc. As I grew up, I learned about and tried a variety of bean-related dishes. Then I moved to West Virginia and I heard about soup beans. Not bean soup—soup beans. Like many modern-day armchair researchers, I started my research into soup beans on the internet, but I was not satisfied. My next step was to take a look at what library resources we had on soup beans.

Two women in a kitchen demonstrating bean canning

Two Women Demonstrate How to Can Beans at State 4-H Camp in Jackson’s Mill, Lewis County, W. Va.

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Downtown Campus Library to host Asimov exhibit and lecture on October 31

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 23rd, 2018
I, Robot cover

This first edition of “I, Robot” is preserved in the Libraries’ Isaac Asimov Collection.

Before lighting a jack-o-lantern or donning a Halloween costume, plan to attend West Virginia University Libraries’ Isaac Asimov exhibit and lecture on October 31 from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library Atrium.

“An Afternoon with Asimov” will provide a glimpse into the Libraries’ extensive Isaac Asimov Collection and insight into the prolific science fiction author’s body of work. Andy Duncan, a Frostburg State University English professor, will open the event with a talk titled “The New Futurians.”

“Asimov was one of the original Futurians of the 1930s and 1940s, who insisted that science fiction was a vehicle for politics, a means of changing the world for the better. A fringe opinion then, the Futurian ideal today is central to the genre, as the 2018 Hugo ceremony demonstrates,” Duncan said. “Where this leaves Asimov and his reputation in the 21st century is a puzzle his positronic robots might have appreciated.”

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Join the Mountaineer Week Art Crawl on Friday

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 23rd, 2018

 

 Autumn Cotton by Tony Fitzpatrick is on display at the WVU Art Museum.

West Virginia University Libraries encourages University and Morgantown community members to participate in the “Mountaineer Week Art Crawl” on Friday, Oct. 26. In addition to exhibits, the tour will feature a scavenger hunt and refreshments. Admission and participation are free.

Downtown Campus

  • Downtown Campus Library

WATER exhibit

Refreshments provided by Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza and Insomnia Cookies.

1-4 p.m. Read the rest of this entry »

Libraries hosting Open Access publishing panel on Oct. 22

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 18th, 2018

Open Access logo

As part of International Open Access Week, Oct. 22-28, West Virginia University Libraries will host an Open Access publishing panel on Monday, Oct. 22, from 4-5:30 p.m. in the Milano Reading Room.

Open Access (OA) refers to free online access to digital full-text scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

“The current scholarly publishing system is economically unsustainable for libraries, and this makes it very difficult for us to provide our patrons with access to the materials they need,” said Ian Harmon, scholarly communications librarian. “OA publishing is an alternative to this system, one that can remove barriers to research, such as paywalls, and increase the rate of scientific progress.”

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Why Did the Building Cross the Road?

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 18th, 2018

Blog Post by Jessica Eichlin, Photographs Manager and Preservationist

 

[Editor’s note: October is American Archives Month, and I am grateful to Jessica for writing out her work process to show us how research in the archives can take you on an adventure! She also proves that archives aren’t just for big scholarly projects–they can be useful for local history research, genealogy, and more.]

 

We do our best to include all relevant information, and to identify the people and places in every photo we put onto West Virginia History OnView.  Sometimes, we just do not know who the people are, or where they are.  Recently, I came across this photo, which shows a group of men working to move a small building across the road.  The town is unidentified, and there is no additional information other than what is in the image.

 

Image showing town buildings and men moving a small building across a street

This image is ID number 050711 on West Virginia History OnView.

 

Pretty great, right? The buildings have interesting signs, and the group of men appear to be moving a small building with ropes.  Intriguing!  So I settled down and got to work.  First, I ran an online search for “The People’s Clothier,” “Verzi’s Saloon,” “Davis Hardware & Furniture Co,” and “Theo Stumpp Tailor.”  Businesses register with the state, and typically show up in the state “Report of the Treasurer.”  Not having any luck with this type of searches, I turned to Ancestry.com. Read the rest of this entry »

Open Access Week promotes benefits of free distribution of research

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 15th, 2018

Open Access logo

As part of International Open Access Week, Oct. 22-28, West Virginia University Libraries is promoting the benefits of Open Access publishing to researchers, academic communities, health care providers and citizens.

Open Access refers to free online access to digital full-text scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

“The current scholarly publishing system is economically unsustainable for libraries, and this makes it very difficult for us to provide our patrons with access to the materials they need,” said Ian Harmon, scholarly communications librarian. “Open Access publishing is an alternative to this system, one that can remove barriers to research, such as paywalls, and increase the rate of scientific progress.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Zines! Celebrating Maker Culture at the WVU Downtown Campus Library

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 10th, 2018

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

On Friday, October 5th, zine lovers and makers came to the Downtown Campus Library to create pages for a collaborative zine as part of the 2018 Morgantown Zine Festival.  The word “zine,” according to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, is short for magazine, specifically “a noncommercial often homemade or online publication usually devoted to specialized and often unconventional subject matter.”

We were also celebrating one of our newest archival collections, zines by West Virginia zine makers.  Last fall the West Virginia and Regional History Center began collecting zines from around the state.  Donor Bryan Richards, of the Travelin’ Appalachians Revue, has been the major donor of this collection.  He is also one of the organizers of the Zine Fest and designer of this year’s poster, shown below, advertising a weekend’s worth of activities and music.

Advertisement for 2018 Morgantown Zine Festival Read the rest of this entry »

1918: Looking Back at World War I and the Spanish Flu

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 5th, 2018

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC.

One hundred years ago, two major events played out in West Virginia and across the globe.  In the fall of 1918, the Spanish Flu epidemic reached the United States. The name “Spanish Flu” is a misnomer and it is unknown exactly where it started.  World War I had raged since 1914.  The United States entered the war in 1917.  On November 11, 1918, an armistice was signed to signify the peacemaking process that would end World War I.  The following items held in the archives at the West Virginia & Regional History Center document both events.  Read the rest of this entry »

Libraries & 123 Pleasant Street hosting Zine Fest this weekend

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 2nd, 2018

Flier for Zine Fest

On Friday and Saturday (Oct. 5 & 6), West Virginia University Libraries and 123 Pleasant Street will co-host the 2018 Morgantown Zine Festival, a two-day event celebrating the form, featuring 20+ zine makers from around West Virginia and Appalachia.

Zines may just be the dark horse of the West Virginia arts community. A zine is a handmade booklet or magazine, typically not available for purchase through traditional commercial venues; a staple medium of punks, poets, activists, and DIY artists of all stripes. A zine might be a delicately crafted art-object, a quick and dirty photocopied pamphlet, or anything in between.

On Friday, join Emily Prentice, “The Zine Queen of Randolph County”, for a free zine-making workshop in Downtown Campus Library, Room 104 from 1-4 p.m. On Saturday, zine makers will display and sell their work at 123 Pleasant Street, from 6-9 p.m. (free, all ages). Following the festival, at 10 p.m., William Matheny, Adam Faucett, Sophia Rehak, and Yellow Cuss will perform. (There will be a cover for this event.)

More details are available on the Morgantown Zine Fest’s Facebook event page or by contacting Bryan Richards at brichar4@mix.wvu.edu.