Ask A Librarian

Susan Arnold Named Librarian of the Year

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
December 16th, 2011

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association recently named Susan Arnold, Director of the WVU Health Sciences Library, its Librarian of the Year.

Jana Liebermann, chair of the MAC awards committee, said the award reflects Arnold’s accomplishments over the past few years. Liebermann praised Arnold’s involvement with the library’s move into the new Health Sciences Learning Center in 2007, the migration from print to electronic resources, and a phenomenal increase in the use of the Libraries’ electronic resources.

“Being recognized by a group of colleagues from regional institutions means a lot to me,” Arnold said. “I am really honored and humbled.”

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A Centuries-Old Mystery Hidden in Rare Book Room

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
December 14th, 2011

Diane Mazzella, WVU Today

The mystery began more than 500 years ago in England.

But it surfaced in recent months in an unlikely place – the Rare Book Room in West Virginia University’s Charles C. Wise Library.

It remains unsolved.

Was Elizabeth Dacre’s poem an academic exercise in copying the style of love?

Or was the erotic poem telling her own story?

Even with these unanswered questions, the discovery goes beyond a captivating tale and points to the practical concerns of today’s research University: the need for research in every discipline, the importance of gifts to a University and the sheer surprise of what might hide around the next corner or on the next page.

But that is jumping ahead of the story.

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Summon Helps Users to Discover Resources

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 7th, 2011

Where do you look for information when you start a new assignment? Do you look for books or journals first? Has anyone written about this before? Is there a dissertation? Did your professor mention something about a documentary?

Don’t panic. Just summon the information.

Summon, a new research tool available on the WVU Libraries’ website,, is a powerful search engine that scours a very large database covering all types of materials and every academic subject. It is sometimes called a “discovery” service because it allows library researchers to use a single search box to discover material of all sorts.

“Summon reveals what is available at the WVU Libraries and offers fast access to content such as e-journal articles and digitized information, usually with a single click,” said Penny Pugh, Head of Reference for the Downtown Campus Library.

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Three Freshmen Win Prizes at Library Event

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 6th, 2011

A visit to the WVU Libraries has already paid off for three freshmen. They are beginning the semester with some new electronic gear.

Robert Frevel, from Baltimore, won an iPad, Katelyn Amato, from East Liverpool, OH, went home with a Sony Reader, and Jayshawn Thomas, from Annapolis, MD, is now listening to music on an iPod Shuffle.

Their names were picked in a drawing of students who participated in “Discover! WVU Libraries,” part of the 2011 First Year Academy. The Libraries sponsored the event to introduce students to the library in order to assist them through their academic endeavors at WVU.

Freshmen Robert Frevel,  Jayshawn Thomas, and Katelyn Amato display the prizes they won as part of  the “Discover! WVU Libraries” event at the start of the semester.

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WVU Libraries Receives Grant to Digitize Newspapers

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 18th, 2011

The WVU Libraries have received a $266,000 grant from National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize 100,000 pages of newspapers published in West Virginia from 1836 to 1922.

“I was thrilled to hear that we received this grant because it represents an opportunity for us to take our unique holdings in this area and transform them into a resource that’s easy to use,” said John Cuthbert, Curator of the West Virginia and Regional History Collection.

The WVU Libraries’ effort will be part of the National Digital Newspaper Program. The NEH and the Library of Congress are partnering with libraries and institutions from around the country to provide enhanced access to historical United States newspapers.

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Pledge-per-TD will aid WVU Libraries

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 17th, 2011

The Dominion Post
August 17, 2011

Fans aren’t the only ones counting on the WVU football team to put a lot of points on the scoreboard this season: The University’s libraries are banking on the Mountaineers as well.

Frances O’Brien, dean of the WVU Libraries, and WVU sports marketing director Matt Wells unveiled the Mountaineer Touchdown Challenge, a joint initiative between the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the libraries, on Tuesday. The program allows fans to pledge a donation for every touchdown the Mountaineers score this season, with all of the proceeds going directly to WVU’s libraries.

“A great university needs a great library,” O’Brien said. “And it made sense to us that when fans cheer for the Mountaineers and support the team, they could put some of that energy into supporting every school, every academic department, every student, every faculty member and every researcher here on campus.”

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WVU Athletics and Libraries partner for Mountaineer Touchdown Challenge

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 16th, 2011

WVU Today

The West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is teaming up with the WVU Libraries to launch a fundraising campaign to benefit the Libraries.

The Mountaineer Touchdown Challenge is a new initiative that enables alumni and fans to support the Libraries while cheering for the Gold and Blue.

Challenge participants pledge a certain dollar figure per touchdown the Mountaineers score during the 2011 season and in any subsequent bowl game. Funds raised will go to establish the Mountaineer Athletics Library Fund, which will benefit students.

“We are all anticipating an exciting football season as the Mountaineers transform under head coach Dana Holgorsen’s high-speed offense,” said Athletic Director Oliver Luck. “Making a pledge in the Mountaineer Touchdown Challenge is a great way to show one’s support for all of WVU.”

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Libraries Invite New Students to Discover!

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 2nd, 2011

Imagine being perfectly prepared for a long road trip. You have an up-to-date map; detailed directions that identify the best roads, fabulous restaurants, the cheapest gas stations, and alternate routes you can take if needed; brochures for dozens of attractions; a digital camera with 10 gigs of memory; and your favorite caffeinated beverage.

Now, imagine what it would take for a student to get off to a good start on his or her academic voyage.

The West Virginia University Libraries want to help. As part of the 2011 First Year Academy, the Libraries are sponsoring “Discover! WVU Libraries” to support the University’s initiative to enhance the First Year Experience program.

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Librarian Receives Excellence Award

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
July 11th, 2011

Penny Pugh, Head of Reference for the Downtown Campus Library, has received national recognition for work benefiting the libraries at WVU and around the state.

LYRASIS, an organization for librarians and information professionals that serves more than 6,000 institutions, has named Pugh its Excellence Award winner for 2011 based on her dedication to libraries of all kinds and for her work with the statewide database program, as well as her enthusiasm, vision and dedication to forwarding the success of libraries.

“One of the reasons we selected Ms. Pugh is the breadth of the impact she has had and the transformational work she has done,” said Kate Nevins, LYRASIS chief executive officer. “We were able to see the positive effects she has had at WVU and statewide.”

Penny Pugh

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WVU Sends Civil War Telegrams to Cyberspace

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
July 6th, 2011

The Dominion Post

Thanks to WVU, the telegrams exchanged between generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee prior to the surrender that led to the end of the Civil War can be viewed online.

“I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Va on the following terms to with Rolls of the all officers and men to be made in duplicate,” Union Gen. Grant telegrammed Confederate Gen. Lee hours before the Appomattox, Va., surrender.

Ron Rittenhouse/The Dominion Post Civil War-era telegrams and a telegraph machine are on display in WVU’s downtown library. The telegrams have been uploaded to a public website.

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Civil War Artifacts on Display

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 21st, 2011

The Dominion Post

A grainy black-and-white photo on the sixth floor of WVU’s downtown library shows a much different High Street than is seen today.

Rows of men, holding their guns, line up across the street from the courthouse.

They were Union recruits in 1861.

The photograph is one of dozens of Civil War-era artifacts on display at the West Virginia and Regional History Collection which opened Monday. Other items included weapons, letters and music.

The collection’s debut was part of WVU Library’s West Virginia Day celebration. It was one of several local events marking the state’s 148th anniversary.

Ron Rittenhouse/The Dominion Post
Nikki Cannon looks at an advertisement authorized by Gov. Pierpoint wanting 1,010 brave men. On the wall is a photograph of men ready to fight in the Civil War lined up on High Street.

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WVU Libraries Present West Virginia Day Celebration

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 14th, 2011

Broadsides tacked on buildings and telegraph poles spoke to the fierce debate swirling around western Virginia at the start of the Civil War in 1861. While one poster rallied citizens to follow their brothers in Richmond and join the Confederacy, another called for people to remain loyal to the United States and stand firm against their treasonous eastern brethren.

“When Virginia’s Richmond leaders decided to join the Confederacy, citizens who were loyal to the United States were faced with a dilemma,” said John Cuthbert, Curator of the West Virginia and Regional History Collection. “They didn’t want to be part of a Virginia that was not going to be part of the United States.”

A broadside posted in Morgantown by Gen. James Evans at the start of the Civil War.

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Two Receive Library Scholars Award

Posted by Admin.
May 16th, 2011

Two Honors graduates have been named Robert F. Munn Undergraduate Library Scholars. Alexandra Day Coffman and Chelsea Richmond received the award at a ceremony in the Charles C. Wise Library during Commencement Weekend.

“Both of these young women wrote tremendous theses. Their work demonstrates and showcases the great research being done by undergraduates at West Virginia University,” said Keith Garbutt, Dean of the Honors College. “We are pleased these students are being recognized for their scholarship and hard work.”
The WVU Libraries and the Honors College established the Robert F. Munn Undergraduate Library Scholars Award in 2009 to honor Dr. Robert F. Munn, Dean of Library Services from 1957-1986.

The award goes to one or more graduating Honors students for outstanding humanities or social sciences research that is done in the WVU Libraries and results in an exceptional thesis. Writing a thesis is a graduation requirement for Honors students. Along with receiving a $1,000 award, the scholar’s name is added to a plaque in the Downtown Campus Library.

Coffman is the daughter of Bert and Suzanne Coffman of Grafton. Her experience with the West Virginia 4-H program led her to focus her research on the tradition and history of the organization. Her thesis, “The Life and Influence of William H. Kendrick: A Short Biography of ‘Teepi’ Kendrick,” discusses the impact Kendrick has had on the West Virginia 4-H program.

Coffman spent a lot of time digging into the archives of the Libraries’ West Virginia and Regional History Collection. She was excited to learn that her writing was being recognized and that a topic not often examined was selected as a winning thesis.

“My research was about William H Kendrick and his influence on the West Virginia 4-H program. It covered his entire life, but focused on when he became state 4-H leader and eventually founded the first state 4-H camp in the nation at Jackson’s Mill,” Coffman said.

Graduating in December 2010, Coffman has already begun pursuing a dual master’s in history and international studies through the Atlantis Program, a collaborative transatlantic master’s program. She will study in Europe during the 2011-12 academic year.

Richmond is the daughter of Michael Richmond of Lewisburg and Heather Bandy of Ronceverte. As a history and political science double major, Richmond focused her research on a topic that reflects her passion for both subject areas. Her thesis, “Tito’s Yugoslavia: America’s Cold War Weapon,” examines the relationship between Cold War era United States and Yugoslavia and how lessons learned from this interaction could be used in today’s foreign policy.

Richmond enjoyed the research experience and was thrilled to learn that she had won the award.

“It’s so easy to avoid libraries and archival research today, with the Internet and electronic resources, but to do so would be missing out on one of the most important and constructive experiences an undergraduate can have,” she said. “Going to the WVU Libraries, researching books, and burying myself in the archives and stacks is one of the most rewarding academic experiences I have had, and I honestly don’t think my paper would be anywhere as complete or historically accurate if I had conducted my research elsewhere, or in a different way.”

Richmond plans to study law at Washington and Lee University this fall and wants to return to her home state to practice.

“We were impressed with the great work by Alexandra and Chelsea,” said Myra Lowe, Associate Dean of Libraries. “Their efforts honor Dr. Munn’s legacy of supporting research.”

Munn began his career at WVU as a librarian in 1952 and advanced to head the Library in 1957. Over the next three decades, he directed the expansion of the Library from a modest centralized facility into a campus-wide system of Libraries with holdings in excess of a million volumes. During that time, he also served as provost under three presidents.

A scholar and author of numerous articles and several books relating to various topics including West Virginia, Appalachia and the coal industry, Munn was dedicated to promoting scholarship and literature especially regarding West Virginia-related subjects. In 1981, he founded the WVU Press as a vehicle to publish manuscripts of merit chiefly of state and regional interest.

His contributions went beyond WVU. Munn had an international reputation in the field of librarianship, served on boards of several leading foundations, and assisted in the establishment of libraries in developing countries around the world.

New Password for Access to Library Resources

Posted by Admin.
May 13th, 2011

To prepare for the campus-wide changes in identity management that will occur over the summer, the Libraries have changed the password for access to electronic resources. Beginning on May 13, access from off-campus locations will use the WVU Master ID username and password for logon.

Changing to Master ID for library authentication is an important step in reducing the number of passwords needed for access to campus resources.  Library resources available by Master ID password include databases, e-journals and e-books. Materials on e-Reserve (electronic reserve) and library computers will also use Master ID as the method of login. Instruction and links to help are included on the logon screens. 

WVU students, faculty, and staff may activate their WVU Master ID online at  Those who need to reset their passwords can phone the OIT Help Desk at 304-293-4444.

Library help is available online at or by phone at 304-293-3640.

Faculty Academy Spotlights Information Literacy Achievements

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 6th, 2011

A Faculty Academy program will showcase the successes of the faculty and librarians who participated in the second year of the WVU Libraries’ information literacy initiative.

Hosted by the Libraries in the Downtown Campus Library on May 10, the morning will consist of poster sessions by program participants and a presentation by Mary Stansbury, Chair of the Department of Library and Information Sciences at the University of Denver, and a leader in the information literacy field. There are two opportunities to attend the poster sessions.


8 a.m. – Brunch and poster sessions, Milano Reading Room, Wise Library

9 a.m. – Speaker, Room 104, Downtown Campus Library

11 a.m. – Poster sessions, Milano Reading Room.

Registration deadline is May 9. More info, contact Carroll Wilkinson, the Libraries’ Director of Instruction and Information Literacy:

Films on Demand Available through Libraries

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 2nd, 2011

Consider it Netflix for academia. Films on Demand provides instant access to more than 6,000 films and 65,000 video segments and is now available to WVU students, faculty, and staff.

“More and more faculty have asked about streaming video from our collection,” said Jessica Tapia, Media Services Librarian. “We’re happy to make this great resource available to the WVU community.”

The Libraries offered the streaming video database on a trial basis in March and chose to retain it after receiving a flood of positive feedback.

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Information Literacy Initiative Begins Third Year

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 2nd, 2011

Five faculty members will each spend the summer working with a librarian to enhance course curriculum to help students improve their research skills and become more discerning when searching for information.

Their efforts are part of the Information Literacy Course Enhancement Program, a collaborative endeavor between the Libraries and the Provost’s Office. The initiative focuses on fulfilling the University’s 2020 Plan which calls for “engaging undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in a challenging academic environment.” Information literacy is the ability to find, evaluate, and effectively use information.

“During the first two years of the program, we have learned a great deal about designing and teaching discipline-specific lessons that address critical elements of the research process,” said Carroll Wilkinson, WVU Libraries’ Director of Instruction and Information Literacy. “I look forward to encouraging collaboration among participants in the third cohort.”

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Libraries Open Extended Hours for Dead and Finals Weeks

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 19th, 2011

The Downtown Campus and Evansdale libraries will remain open for extended hours during Dead and Finals weeks.

On Sunday, the Evansdale Library will open at noon and the Downtown Campus Library will open at 1 p.m., and they will remain open until 10 p.m. Friday, April 29. Both will be open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, April 30.

For Finals Week, both libraries will open at 9 a.m. Sunday, May 1, and remain open until 10 p.m. Friday, May 6.

For more information, check out the Libraries’ calendar:

WVU is New Home to More Than 600 Asimov Books, Items

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 29th, 2011

By Alicia Elkin
The Daily Athenaeum
March 29, 2011

More than 600 books by renowned science fiction writer Isaac Asimov were donated to the West Virginia University Wise Library’s Rare Book Collection.

WVU alumnus Larry Shaver contacted WVU in 2003 to ask if they were interested in the books he had collected by Asimov. Over the years Shaver has donated more than 600 books and more than 50 other items such as games, audio recordings, videos and wall charts, said Harold Forbes, WVU’s rare books curator.

Shaver said he began collecting the books when he was in high school with his first purchase of “The Fountain Trilogy.”

“I was intrigued by the covers mostly I must admit, but once I had read them, I was hooked,” Shaver said.

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WVU Libraries Participate in National Assessment Project

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 10th, 2011

The long line outside of a restaurant hints that the food is delicious. A thumbs up from Roger Ebert carries the promise of a good movie. A string of impressive touchdown passes signifies a great quarterback.

Identifying quality research sources online, though, is more difficult.

“It’s not hard to find information; it’s hard to find good information. You have to know the difference and then how to use the good information ethically,” said Megan Oakleaf, an assistant professor at Syracuse University School of Information Studies.

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