Ask A Librarian

Talking Turkey: Celebrating Thanksgiving in West Virginia

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 20th, 2017

Group of turkeys on snowy ground

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian

Many people would argue that Thanksgiving is just not complete without a turkey as the centerpiece of a loaded dinner table surrounded by loved ones.  Every other dish, no matter how elaborately prepared or presented, seems to be relegated to side dish status once the turkey comes out of the oven.  But there’s more to talking turkey on Thanksgiving than the meal of the day, there’s the way we celebrate, from turkey calls, to hunting wild game, to watching parades, and cooking the bird.  It’s all part of that most American of holidays, Thanksgiving.  Read the rest of this entry »

Preserving the History of WVU’s First African-American Graduates

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
November 13th, 2017

Blog post by Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director, WVRHC.

The West Virginia & Regional History Center collects materials that document the history and culture of our state and region – including records that document the history of WVU.  This post examines the history of some of WVU’s first African-American graduates and the collections that tell their stories.  Read the rest of this entry »

WVU Libraries to host open forum on serving veterans

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
November 8th, 2017

As part of its service to student veterans, West Virginia University Libraries will host an open forum titled “Serving those who Served” on Monday (Nov. 13) from 10 a.m.-noon in the Downtown Campus Library, Room 104.

The speaker is Sarah LeMire, the First-Year Experience librarian at Texas A&M University and the co-author of Serving Those Who Served: Librarian’s Guide to Working with Veteran and Military Families. Before becoming a librarian, LeMire served in the U.S. Army as an Arabic linguist including a deployment to Iraq in 2005-2006.

Read the rest of this entry »

WVU Libraries hosted regional Women of Appalachia Spoken Word Event: A Reflection by WVU MDS Professor Renée K. Nicholson

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
November 7th, 2017

WVU Libraries was pleased to host Women of Appalachia: Spoken Word, September 30, 2017 in the Milano Reading Room of the Downtown Campus Library. The curated event that travels around the region featuring some 30 women artists, included several West Virginia artists. Multidisciplinary Studies Professor Renée K. Nicholson was one such West Virginia artist who read at the event, and she graciously provided a short reflection for the Libraries’ blog, below.  If you missed the live event, we have links to the Youtube records included as well.


On a crisp, early October Sunday afternoon, I made my way to WVU’s Downtown Library, climbing the spiral stairs and making my way to the Milano Reading Room for the first of the Women of Appalachia readings for 2017-2018. The sun slanted in the windows, filling the room with natural light, as people milled around the refreshments set out for the occasion. Though this was my first time reading as part of the series, the project has enjoyed many years of women writers and artists from all around Appalachia.

Some familiar faces were in the room. Cheryl Denise, a poet from Phillipi, WV is someone I’ve known for years and whose work in poetry both tells a story and celebrates language. Anna Smucker was another poet, whose work on many acclaimed children’s books is well known in West Virginia and beyond. Kari Gunter-Seymour Peterson, a writer I had met before, had worked tirelessly to assemble this group after a professional vetting process, and also read as part of the event. There were also many writers whose work I didn’t know, and so it made for a delightful treat to learn of the work they did.

One of the goals of the project is to challenge the stereotype of “Appalachian Woman.” With so many different voices, not just from West Virginia, but Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina and beyond, and with a mix of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, the range alone challenged the idea of single Appalachian Woman. Instead we stitched together in worlds a quilt of language and lived experience that was beautiful more for the ways it kept pattern at bay than for the way it conformed. Listening to others felt like the true reward of the day.

Place defines people, and an event like the Women of Appalachia gathering presented the idea of place as a rooting one. Roots support and nourish, and clearly the work of the assembled readers showed how Appalachia sustained the writing shared. Outside the autumn sun illuminated trees that would soon burst forth into garnet and persimmon and golds, all the glory of autumn and inside, the vibrancy of the words were already in full view. In the patter of after-reading conversation, once again I felt reminded of what place and poetry can do—create community.

Renée K. Nicholson, MFA
Assistant Professor, Programs for Multi and Interdisciplinary Studies, West Virginia University
Assistant Director, West Virginia Writers’ Workshop
Author of Roundabout Directions to Lincoln Center
Co-editor, Bodies of Truth: Narratives of Illness, Disability & Medicine (Nebraska UP, 2019)

Journalist to address the failure of mass incarceration

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 26th, 2017

A project exploring stereotypes and mass incarcerations will bring journalist Sylvia Ryerson to campus November 15 for multiple class visits and a public presentation in the Downtown Campus Library’s Milano Reading Room at 6 p.m.

Sylvia Ryerson

Sylvia Ryerson

Ryerson’s presentation, “Public Airwaves through Prison Walls: Restoring Connection in the Era of Mass Incarceration,” will complement the visual perspective of The Divide, WVU Multimedia Producer and photojournalist Raymond Thompson’s exhibit of photographs on display in the Downtown Campus Library Atrium. Ryerson partnered with Thompson to document a 2015 trip by Virginian families as they drove together in a van from urban centers to rural Appalachian prisons to visit incarcerated loved-ones.

Raymond Thompson

Raymond Thompson

“ ‘Restoring Connections’ showcases how art, journalism, and activism intersect to highlight topics of academic interest that have a direct impact on society; exactly the programming we are aiming to host in the libraries,” said Karen Diaz, interim dean of WVU Libraries. “Raymond’s photographs have been surrounding library users for months, bringing an awareness of the families impacted by incarceration. This program will fill out those photos with the stories of those affected and give us all a new perspective on the impacts of mass incarceration in our country. These sorts of conversations are essential to helping us shape the thoughtful democratic society we wish to create for ourselves.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Downtown Campus Library to transform into Hall of Games for International Games Week

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 24th, 2017

Got games? West Virginia University Libraries will host a series of events at the Downtown Campus Library as part of International Games Week (IGW) (Oct. 30-Nov. 4). All events are free and open to the public.

  • Events kick off Monday, Oct. 30, at noon with a presentation by Jaime Banks, professor of Communication Studies, and Ph.D. student Joe Wasserman, titled “Real Representations and Liminal Lessons: Considerations for Games in Learning” in Room 104.
  • Monday through Saturday, Oct. 30-Nov. 4 – Take a break from work or study to play arcade games provided by local Star Port Arcade and Pub in Room 1036.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 11 a.m. in Room 104 – A panel of WVU instructors (Banks; Mark Benincosa, School of Music; Dr. Bob Britten, Reed College of Media; and Dr. Brian Ballentine, Professional Writing and Editing) will discuss how they use games and gamification in their teaching and research. Librarian Jing Qiu will facilitate. Following the panel, instructors are invited to participate in a noon workshop on gamifying lesson plans featuring lunch provided by Lotsa Motsa.
  • Thursday, Nov. 2, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., in Room 2036 – Cartridges Galore Video Games will provide an on-site open gaming station for users to play with for free.
  • Friday, Nov. 3, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., in Room 2036 – The WVU Student Game Developers Club will have an open showcase of games they designed.
  • Saturday, Nov. 4, from 2 p.m.-7 p.m. – Family Day offers a casual community game extravaganza that includes lessons for beginners for all kinds of games, giveaways, competitive tournaments, open play, live WVU Jeopardy and an appearance by real Jeopardy star and Morgantown resident Leigh Limerick. College of Creative Arts Professor Jeffrey Moser’s game design class will display Breakout Storytelling. Four Horsemen Comics and Games and Star Port Arcade is giving out free prizes. Visitors can learn and play Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, board games and more.

Attendees are encouraged to use social media and tag #wvulibraries or #wvugamesweek to celebrate the fun.

International Games Week has been celebrated in 53 countries and territories on all 7 continents. Hundreds of libraries across the country will join WVU in celebrating the popularity and educational, recreational and social value of games. For more information, contact Sally Deskins, Libraries Exhibits and Programs Coordinator, sbdeskins@mail.wvu.edu or Beth Toren, Interdisciplinary, Cultural and Film Studies Librarian/Games Week coordinator, beth.toren@mail.wvu.edu.

West Virginia’s Own World War I Flying Ace: Louis Bennett, 1894-1918

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 23rd, 2017

Top of statue showing man in aviator cap/goggles

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian

 

Lt. Louis Bennett, Jr. and his dog standing in front of a SE5a biplane

Lt. Louis Bennett, Jr. and his dog standing in front of a SE5a biplane

 

This year, 2017, marks the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I.  While war had raged in Europe since 1914, President Woodrow Wilson was making every effort to keep America from committing soldiers and joining the war effort.  However, the tide turned in support of the war and America joined forces with Europe in April 1917.   Following that declaration, the U.S. then declared war on Austria-Hungary in December with troops arriving on the Western Front the following year, 1918.

A young man from Weston, Louis Bennet, Jr., couldn’t wait.  Bennett was the son of Louis Bennett Sr., a prominent Lewis County politician, and Sallie Maxwell Bennett.  Born September 22, 1894, Bennett attended preparatory schools in Pennsylvania, then enrolled at Yale in 1913, graduating in 1917.

While at Yale, Bennett began to envisage a West Virginia Flying Corps.  He left Yale briefly to return to West Virginia in order to put his idea for a flying corps into practice.  Once back in his home state, Bennett pursued his dream, fully developing a flying corps and situating it in Beech Bottom, a small town in Brooke County near Weirton.  Bennett established the corps with a full complement of pilots, crew and its own airfield.  With the attention of the governor, Bennett received a commission as the unit’s captain.  Read the rest of this entry »

WVRHC Staff Favorites

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 16th, 2017

American Archives Month & West Virginia Archives Month

Blog post compiled by Jessica Eichlin, Photographs Manager and Preservationist

October is American Archives Month and West Virginia Archives Month!  To celebrate, this post will look at some staff “favorites” from the collections at the WVRHC.


Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

 My favorite book that we have at the West Virginia and Regional History Center is found in the rare book room. It is an 1885 printing of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. It is one of my favorite books of all time, and Twain is my favorite author so it was really neat to see one of the first printings of the book.

Submitted by Savannah Rose, Graduate Assistant  Read the rest of this entry »

Donuts and Diversity: Expanding on Looking at Appalachia: A Panel on Intersectionality in Appalachian Photography

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 9th, 2017

WVU Libraries will host a discussion on Appalachian photography and identity on Friday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m.-noon in the Downtown Campus Library’s Milano Reading Room.

The program will begin with short presentations exploring different ways of representation and discuss intersectionality with regard to identities exuded in photos of the people and places of Appalachia. Intersectionality reflects the idea that multiple identities intersect to create a whole and proposes that an individual’s personal character traits are intimately linked and therefore inform one’s complete identity.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Latest Information Crisis

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 4th, 2017

By Karen Diaz, Interim Dean of Libraries

In the 80’s the crisis was access to information; in the 90’s, it was about the digital divide; in the 2000’s, the challenge became information glut; and now in the 2010’s, we are experiencing the latest round of information challenges – rampant disinformation. Assertions of fake news, Russian intervention in our social media streams, and confirmation-biased streams of information all lead to a crisis of belief in information itself.

One institution rarely mentioned in reports and calls for action to managing information crises are libraries. And yet, libraries have a long view of information flow and are in the thick of each challenge that arises. The current challenge is no different, and WVU Libraries is among those answering the call.

WVU Libraries not only supplies proprietary information to the campus, our bedrock curriculum is information literacy, a term difficult to define, but exactly what is needed in times of information crisis. Librarians are here, not only to help students learn how to use the library, but also how to think about their own thinking so that they become more literate information users.

Read the rest of this entry »

WVU History Exhibit Now Online

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
October 4th, 2017

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC; online exhibit by Savannah Rose, Graduate Assistant.

In celebration of WVU’s 150th anniversary, the WVRHC unveiled a new exhibit, Flowing Outward and Beyond: West Virginia University, on West Virginia Day.  The exhibit showcases WVU history through records and artifacts found in the Center’s collections, featuring WVU’s early days, student life, arts, sports, and more.

For those who cannot visit us in person, one of the WVRHC’s fantastic graduate assistants has created a digital exhibit that brings the story of the objects, text, and videos we have on display to a wider audience. We encourage you to check it out at https://wvuhistoryexhibit.wordpress.com/.

When I worked on my first exhibit at the Center, I saw how much effort and creativity my coworkers put into our yearly exhibits, and I wanted to be able to share the finished product with people far and wide (including my family members living over 1000 miles away).   Now, we have PDF versions of our previous 5 exhibits available, which you can find on our WV Day Exhibits webpage: https://wvday.lib.wvu.edu/exhibits.  Savannah tried something new this year, going beyond PDF slides to a web-based design.  I hope you all enjoy the upgrade as much as I do!

If this year’s digital exhibit whets your appetite, the exhibit can still be viewed in person at the WVRHC (in the back of the 6th floor, Downtown Campus Library); it will remain on display through May 2018.

Preview of WVRHC's 2017 WV Day poster

This year’s commemorative poster was a beautiful painting, and is one of my favorites!

Exhibit explores artist's fight with cancer

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 3rd, 2017

West Virginia University Libraries will host a reception on Tuesday, October 10, at 5 p.m. in the Health Sciences Pylons Area to celebrate the opening of Bodies of Truth: An Artist’s Creative Exploration through Cancer, an exhibition of artwork by Lacie Wallace.

Wallace, a Wheeling-based artist, shares self-portraits and other artwork she has painted throughout her experience in and out of hospitals as a patient with cancer as she has become “more aware of my new body, my cancer body.”

Wallace’s bright and intimate portraits are coupled with narratives written by her as well as those around her who have been moved by her courage and stamina including members of her healthcare team and others. As an act of story, art and healthcare, Bodies of Truth illuminates a full circle view of Wallace as a strong patient, artist, mother, community member and human being.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dark Side of Butterflies: The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail in William Henry Edwards Butterflies of North America

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
September 26th, 2017

Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian

The great West Virginia coal magnate, William Henry Edwards, was a butterfly lover at heart.  Edwards lived in Coalburg, a small town outside Charleston, and he is credited as the first to open the Southern Coalfields.  When coal shipments were threatened by the events of the Civil War, Edwards found a way to get his coal to market, shipping it by boat.  He was the first to ship coal for export to the North by water.  He was also the first to document the life cycle of butterflies throughout North America and his three volume set of books on butterflies is still considered to be the reigning masterwork on the subject.  Read the rest of this entry »

Women of Appalachia Project 9th Annual “Women Speak” at Downtown Campus Library

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
September 25th, 2017

West Virginia University is pleased to host the 9th Annual Women of Appalachia Project (WOAP) “Women Speak” performance, an afternoon of juried poetry, story and song, featuring 33 artists living in or with strong ties to Appalachia from throughout WV, OH, KY, VA, NM and LA. The event will be held in the Downtown Campus Library, Milano Reading Room, 1549 University Ave, Morgantown, WV, on September 30, 2017, at 1pm. The event is held in conjunction with the Libraries’ Looking at Appalachia exhibit and University’s Campus Read selection for 2017-18, Hidden Figures.

In recognition of this Special Day of Concern, the event will be recorded for those unable to attend.

According to the founder, Kari Gunter-Seymour Peterson, the mission of WOAP is to showcase the way in which female artists respond to the Appalachian region as a source of inspiration, bringing together women from diverse backgrounds, ages and experiences to embrace the stereotype – to show the whole woman; beyond the superficial factors that people use to judge her.

Among the performers are West Virginians Beverly Hart Bisbee, Odana Chaney, Cheryl Denise, Renée K. Nicholson, Lisa M. Pursley, Susan Truxell Sauter, Susan Sheppard, Anna Egan Smucker, Natalie Sypolt (MFA, WVU, 2005) and Sherrell Wigal.

Natalie Sypolt

 Nicholson, Assistant Professor of Multidisciplinary Studies, is among the presenters. Said Nicholson:
“My father grew up in Vienna, and as a child we came to West Virginia for holidays and other family events, so West Virginia became synonymous with family and part of my identity, even when I lived in large cities, in the Midwest and in the South. After moving back to West Virginia to study creative writing, I have found profound meaning working with patients with cancer through a project at the WVU Cancer Institute. The people I work with, most from West Virginia and surrounding Appalachian states, share their life stories with me. They have inspired me to write more of my own experiences from West Virginia as subject for poems.”

Renee Nicholson

Doors open at 12:30 p.m. The presentation is free to the public though donations in support of WOAP will be accepted at the door. There will be a short reception immediately following the performance. Refreshments will be served.

WVU Libraries partnered with the LGBTQ+ Center, the Women’s Resource Center, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, and WVU Campus Read to bring the Women of Appalachia Project “Women Speak” event to campus.

Guests will also have the opportunity to view Looking at Appalachia: Selected Images from 2014-2016 a newly installed exhibit of photographs from contemporary Appalachian amateur and professional photographers currently on display at the DCL.

Conversations with Curators: Preserving the history of WVU’s first African-American graduates

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 21st, 2017
Jack Hodge

Jack Hodge, WVU’s first African-American graduate (Journalism, 1954) interviewing Thomas Fulton, head of Social Work Department, for The Daily Athenaeum.

The West Virginia University Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center will host a discussion on preserving the history of WVU’s first African-American graduates on October 3 at 4 p.m. in the WVRHC in the Downtown Campus Library.

WVRHC Curator and Assistant Director Lori Hostuttler will highlight the archival materials documenting graduates Jack Hodge (first bachelor degree, 1954), Annette Chandler Broome (first female bachelor’s degree, 1957), Victorine Louistall Monroe (first master’s degree) and John Reuben Sheeler (first PhD.) who are part of the current exhibit Flowing Outward and Beyond: WVU 1867-2017.

Annette Broome

In 1957, Annette Broome (on the right) became the first known African-American woman to receive an undergraduate degree from WVU. She was the granddaughter of John Hunt. (L to R: Ruth Barnett, Lennie Wiley and Annette Chandler Broome)

Read the rest of this entry »

Exhibit explores hidden stories through augmented reality

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 21st, 2017
Grace Martin Taylor

Grace Martin Taylor

An exhibit created by students and faculty in the West Virginia University Reed College of Media and WVU Libraries will highlight the success of unknown West Virginians through augmented reality.

Unseen, Unknown: An Augmented Reality Exhibit Exploring WV Sights & Stories gives new voice to these unknown figures by blending history and emerging media, and I’m thrilled to host such an innovative and collaborative exhibit at the Libraries,” said Sally Deskins, exhibits and program coordinator for the Libraries.

The exhibit opens October 1 on the second floor of the Downtown Campus Library and will remain on display through December.

Read the rest of this entry »

WVU Libraries holds film screening, opens exhibit about Vietnam War

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 19th, 2017

West Virginia University Libraries invites the campus community and the public to a screening and panel discussion of the West Virginia Public Broadcasting documentary “Vietnam: West Virginians Remember” at the Mountainlair’s Gluck Theatre on September 27 at 4 p.m. The Libraries welcomes all interested attendees and hopes many student veterans and campus veteran advocates will join us for this program.

A panel discussion will follow the film and feature WVPB Executive Producer Suzanne Higgins and WVU Associate Professor of History James Siekmeier. WVU Reed College of Media Shott Chair of Journalism and Assistant Professor Lois Raimondo will moderate the discussion.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Marshall Boys and the Mysteries in Archives

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
September 18th, 2017

Blog post by Jane Metters LaBarbara, Assistant Curator, WVRHC

We recently received a collection of letters and other papers of George W. and Fred W. Marshall, two brothers who served and died in World War I.  Their collection is a good example of how archivists process smaller collections, and the mysteries that we work with every day.

Clipping of obituaries for Fred W. Marshall and George W. Marshall, Jr.

Clipping from a special issue of the Waynesburg Republican commemorating deceased soldiers from Greene County, PA

Their story is a sad one.  Both teachers before joining the military, they were the only sons in their family.  They both died in combat in France in the summer of 1918, within three weeks of each other.  Read the rest of this entry »

Morgantown Arts Walk stops at Downtown Campus Library

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
September 13th, 2017

The Morgantown Arts Walk is making it cool to hang out at the library on a Friday night. The Downtown Campus Library will be an event stop Friday, September 22, from 4-6 p.m.

“We are excited to be part the Morgantown Arts Walk for the first time this year. We hope the community will enjoy a conversation with Looking at Appalachia Director Roger May and interacting with exhibit which provides an intimate look into everyday life in Appalachia,” said Karen Diaz, interim dean of Libraries.

Looking at Appalachia, a juried collection of images by amateur and professional photographers currently on display at the Downtown Campus Library, is moving to its second phase with 20 new images.

Looking at Appalachia Director Roger May began his crowd-sourced project in 2014 to mark the 50th anniversary of Johnson’s Poverty Tour, which was heavily covered by the media and generated several images that came to define the region. May, a West Virginia-native, chose open submissions to professional and amateur photographers to chronicle life in the 13-state region in hopes of broadening the contemporary definitions of the region and its people.

The exhibit opened in June of 2016 with 73 selections lining the walls of the DCL’s first floor. Some of the images provoked controversy, which May said was intended to start a conversation. This new exhibit Looking at Appalachia: Selected Images from 2014-16, features 20 new images from 2015-16 alongside 20 images from the original exhibition of photographs from 2014, presenting the project in a new, more concentrated light that has never been done.

The Panolian and a hat on the dashboard of Alice Pierotti’s truck in the cotton fields of Panola County, Mississippi photographed on 8/29/15.
Photo by Pat Jarrett

“The Looking at Appalachia project is a fascinating constellation of images and artists connected by geography and a shared impulse to record the unique qualities of the region,” said Michael Sherwin, CCA professor of photography and Looking at Appalachia contributor.

May will be present to chat with the crowd during the event. Also on hand will be Raymond Thompson, a photographer on the curatorial committee of Looking at Appalachia, and whose The Divide exhibit is on display in the Downtown Campus Library Atrium. Refreshments will be generously provided by Tin 202.

Later in the semester, as part of WVU’s Diversity Week, the Libraries will host a community wide discussion on Appalachian representation in photography on October 13 at 10 a.m. in the Milano Reading Room. Also in the works for next spring is a Looking at Morgantown exhibit.

The exhibits and events are coordinated by the Art in the Libraries Committee. Looking at Appalachia: Curated Images from 2014-16, will be on display through June 2018. For more information on the Art in the Libraries program visit exhibits.lib.wvu.edu.

The Fun of Researching Sunnyside

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
September 12th, 2017

By Elizabeth Satterfield, undergraduate student at WVU

In junior high and high school, I remember research days.  As students, we loved research days!  We left the classroom, went to the computer lab, and often became distracted once we began researching. Today, I still feel the same way about research.  I love learning something new, discovering a forgotten detail, and connecting the dots.

This summer, I had the opportunity to conduct research on the Sunnyside neighborhood under the direction of Jenny Boulware in the history department as a part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE).  Although known in recent memory as a student rental neighborhood and popular party location, prior to the mid-twentieth century, Sunnyside was home to immigrants and multi-generational families, skilled and unskilled workers, professors and students.  In the last thirty years, however, student housing demands have significantly altered Sunnyside’s historic building stock.  Although every property has not been affected, it is important to record the history of the neighborhood and its residents before little is left to record.  Read the rest of this entry »