Ask A Librarian

“West Virginia’s Poetic Heart” celebrates poets Maggie Anderson and Marc Harshman

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 30th, 2022

West Virginia University Libraries, the West Virginia and Regional History Center and the West Virginia University Humanities Center continue the “West Virginia’s Poetic Heart” celebration on October 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Downtown Libraries’ Milano Reading Room.

Attend in person or register to watch the Zoom event here.

At 6:30 p.m., the WVRHC will be open to showcase its latest exhibit, which documents selected West Virginia poets with materials from the Center’s book and archival collections.

The “West Virginia’s Poetic Heart” program brings together West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman and the poetry of noted Appalachian poet Maggie Anderson.

Read the rest of this entry »

Painting Pleasing Peonies

Posted by Admin.
September 26th, 2022

Written by Erica Uszak, Graduate Assistant

(Above) Arthur J. “Pete” Ballard, “James Woods Crimson Peonies” 2010-2011. Arthur J. Ballard, Costume Artist and Curator, Papers, A&M 3869, West Virginia and Regional History Center, West Virginia University Libraries, Morgantown, West Virginia.

Peonies were a popular choice of painters, especially for artists of China and Japan and French impressionist artists.  French impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir said that “painting flowers rests my brain. . . . I place my colors and experiment with values boldly, without worrying about spoiling a canvas.”[1] The same held true for West Virginia artist Arthur J. “Pete” Ballard, who said he too “love[d] to play with color, light, shadows, seasons, the sky.”[2] His “James Woods Crimson Peonies” painting exemplifies this obsession with vibrant colors, quick brush strokes, and contrast with lighting.

“For almost sixty years, I have ached to paint peonies,” Ballard wrote in one reflection upon his work.[3] Born in Welch, West Virginia, in 1931, Ballard won an art scholarship to attend a fine arts school, but he decided that he wanted something more. He graduated with a degree in education from Concord University. Much of his post-collegiate life was spent as a teacher, as he taught English in China, India, Saudi Arabia, and other places.

(Above) Arthur J. “Pete” Ballard, The Register-Herald, Beckley, WV., March 16, 2017.

However, he remained fascinated by art and costume design. Upon returning to the United States, he was an instructor at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He further developed his passion for costumes through conservation of old costumes and his design of historical dolls, which exhibited the fashions of the eighteenth to early twentieth centuries. He worked as a curator for fashion exhibits at many North Carolina and other museums. The Ballard collection at the WVRHC includes many papers and articles about his lectures, exhibits, dolls, and paintings. The collection also contains many paintings of flowers, still life and other subjects (to see more about the collection, A&M 3869, see the finding aid). It was not until his retirement when he could pursue painting further, which Ballard was happy to do. “It’s an exciting way to spend one’s time in retirement. You can make all the mistakes you want, then correct them,” and added, “There are endless possibilities for subject matter.”[4]

There are also endless possibilities for painters when it comes to painting peonies. Ballard noted, “The enormous beauty of peonies has always held a fascination for artists.”[5] In Chinese and Japanese culture, peonies are a symbol of status, wealth, and beauty. In China, where these flowers have been grown for several thousand years, they are referred to sometimes as “the king of flowers.” Since Ballard spent time in China, perhaps he was influenced by different styles of Chinese artists and paintings of peonies and other flowers. French impressionist artists also took to painting flowers, especially peonies, as they offered many opportunities for color and light experimentation. Many of Ballard’s favorite artists were impressionists, as he described his admiration for artists like John Singer Sargent and Joaquín Sorolla, both of whom painted in impressionist style.

(Above) Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Peonies, c. 1880, Oil on canvas. The Clark Art Institute, 1955.585.

Ballard’s “James Woods’ Crimson Peonies” painting demonstrates impressionist influences. The colors are vibrant. Although the peonies are described as “crimson,” there is no one color that defines the painting, which awes the viewer with a wide array of pinks, purples, and reds. Ballard catches the light and shadows of the painting, making the peonies seem life-like. The vivid green background suits the painting well. When trying to find another color to use as the background for this painting, Ballard couldn’t help but paint it green. “The hills were green, so were the trees; the grass was green, so were all the leaves,” Ballard wrote, thereby settling on the color of nature as his background.[6]

            After so many years, Pete Ballard was finally able to fulfill his aching desire to paint these bright peonies. The “James Woods’ Crimson Peonies” picture exemplifies the complexities of painting such beautiful, colorful flowers that have garnered admiration from painters and viewers alike around the world.

[1] Lees, Sarah, ed. Nineteenth-Century European Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute; New Haven and London: distributed by Yale University Press, 2012.

[2] “Memories and Momentos: Artwork by Peterstown Resident on Display in N.C.,” May 11, 2000, Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Box 2, “2000 Exhibition of My Paintings at Gertrude Smith House-Mt. Airy, NC.” Arthur J. Ballard, Costume Artist and Curator, Papers, A&M 3869, West Virginia and Regional History Center, West Virginia University Libraries, Morgantown, West Virginia.

[3] Pete Ballard, “Memories and Mementos: A Collection of Paintings and Commentaries,” 2000, Box 2, “2000 Exhibition of My Paintings at Gertrude Smith House-Mt. Airy, NC.” Arthur J. Ballard, Costume Artist and Curator, Papers, A&M 3869, West Virginia and Regional History Center, West Virginia University Libraries, Morgantown, West Virginia.

[4] “Memories and Momentos: Artwork by Peterstown Resident on Display in N.C.”

[5] Pete Ballard, “Memories and Mementos: A Collection of Paintings and Commentaries,”

[6] Pete Ballard, “Memories and Mementos: A Collection of Paintings and Commentaries.”

Campus Read “Interior Chinatown” inspiring action across campus

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 20th, 2022
Students in Taiwan
Ching-Hsuan Wu (center) discusses “Interior Chinatown” with her students in a tea shop in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

This year’s West Virginia University Campus Read, “Interior Chinatown” by Charles Yu, is inspiring students, faculty and staff to ponder race, stereotypes and, possibly, even the confines of achieving the American Dream through versatile coursework, events and social media.

“In choosing a book like ‘Interior Chinatown,’ we not only bring a book of outstanding literary merit to our campus, but one that challenges us to think deeply about aspects of race in America, of the roles we play, and of our sense of home, among many others,” WVU Humanities Center Director Renée Nicholson, who oversees the Campus Read, said. “It balances the weight of these themes with a compelling protagonist and satirical humor.”

Read the rest of this entry »

“Book it!” panel to explore careers in publishing industry

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 9th, 2022

Curious about a career in the publishing industry? The West Virginia University Humanities Center and the WVU Career Services Center are co-hosting an online panel titled “Book It: Careers in Publishing and Book Promotion” on September 19 from 4-5 p.m.

Register for the Zoom event here:

Students who are interested in book-related careers can learn more about job opportunities post-graduation, including how to prepare academically, personally and professionally to pursue these career paths.

Read the rest of this entry »

Stories and songs to guide spectators through “A ‘Double Whammy’ of Disasters” photo exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 6th, 2022
Town of Rainelle sign
“A Town Built to Carry On” by John Wyatt

WVU faculty, staff and students are invited to attend the grand opening ceremony of a unique photo exhibit, “A ‘Double Whammy’ of Disasters: Flooding and COVID-19 in Rural West Virginia,” on Monday, Sept. 12 from 5:15 – 6:45 p.m. in the Health Sciences Center’s Fukushima Auditorium Lobby.

Images curated by Jamie Shinn, assistant professor in West Virginia University’s Department of Geology and Geography, and John Wyatt, her community partner, narrate rural life in Rainelle, W.Va. as the community faced both the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic along with ongoing devastation from West Virginia’s notorious 2016 flooding, which damaged hundreds of homes and businesses.

Read the rest of this entry »

University community invited to Cuthbert retirement reception

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 6th, 2022
John Cuthbert
John Cuthbert

John Cuthbert, former director of the West Virginia & Regional History Center, retired December 31, 2021, with more than 40 years of service to WVU Libraries. A reception in his honor will be held Friday, September 23, from 3-5 p.m. in the Downtown Library’s Milano Reading Room.

Cuthbert spent his career telling anyone who would listen about the Mountain State’s rich cultural artistic heritage.

“West Virginia is unique in many ways and certainly has one of the most interesting histories of any state in the Union,” Cuthbert said. “My mission throughout my career was to shed light on subjects and people who defy stereotypes about West Virginia.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Who Uses the Photo Collection?

Posted by Admin.
August 29th, 2022

Written by Lemley Mullett

As part of my job as photographs manager, I field research questions and fulfill orders for high resolution copies of photographs in our collection. The most common request is from authors and publishers securing photographs for their books, but the WVRHC actually serves a much broader audience. Here are a few categories of requests that I receive on a monthly basis!


Sepia toned photo of a house with a covered porch and a barn style roof sitting a top a hill.
“Home located at corner of Hoffman Avenue and Morgan Street, Morgantown, W. Va.”

This photo was previously listed on the site as standing at Putnam Street and Highland Avenue, but this was incorrect information as the two roads do not intersect. A patron— the current owner and resident of this home— contacted us with the correction after discovering the photo online.

The patron also generously provided a photo of the house as it stands today (2022). You can see the clothesline, on the left, is still in use!

A different angle of that same house, in color. The bottom level is a cream and the top shingles are painted burgundy. There are flowers and plants planted in the back yard.

Ghost hunters

A surprising number of ghost hunters and storytellers purchase copies in the course of their research, whether to spruce up their podcast thumbnails or to publish in newspaper articles. I’ve also had ghost hunters once purchase a photo to give their psychic a source to pore over in search of clues. The belief that photographs can “capture one’s soul” remains popular in occult study circles!

Black and white image of a man in a suit and hat standing in front of a building with a large steeple and a clock in the tower.
“West Virginia Hospital for the Insane, Lewis County, W. Va.”

Miniature Model Makers

Some of my favorite photo requests come from folks in the miniatures hobby. Attention to detail can be paramount in recreating props and machinery, and some hobbyists will go to great lengths to get accurate references— and what better to use as a reference than an actual photo?

Trains are a popular subject in this category, as their makeup is quite complicated.

a close up picture of a train engine in black and white
“Shay No. 4, Cass Scenic Railroad”


As mentioned, the largest percentage of photo requests come from authors and researchers hoping to illustrate their papers and books with photographs. That doesn’t mean their requests are always cut-and-dry, though; some authors need assistance finding appropriate photos for their subject matter, leading to a treasure hunt on my part for good images.

One author recently asked me to help them locate the origin of this photo:

A grainy photo of a nondescript dirt road in front of several buildings

…as they had taken a phone pic of it a few years prior but lost the information about where it came from. I was able to locate it as being part of this photograph:

The same street in a more clear photo, you can see hills and trees in the background and a partial view of a large sign on the right of the image reading "STA-"
“Street Scene in Weston, W. Va.”

…which the patron promptly purchased!

These examples are not exhaustive, but they represent the variety of requests the WVRHC fields when it comes to photographs. The breadth of populations we serve keeps every day interesting!

WVU Libraries signs agreement to support researchers publishing Open Access

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 24th, 2022

In July, West Virginia University Libraries began a partnership with the Public Library of Science (PLOS) to provide researchers with the opportunity to publish, free of processing charges, in any of their Open Access titles over the next three years.

PLOS is a nonprofit, Open Access publisher with a suite of 12 influential Open Access journals across all areas of science and medicine. Open Access refers to free, immediate and permanent online access to digital full-text scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

“Investment in open access initiatives is one of the WVU Libraries’ five collection funding priorities. This PLOS agreement is another significant step forward,” said Beth Royall, past-chair of the WVU Libraries Collections Advisory Committee.

Read the rest of this entry »

Evansdale Library celebrates 40th anniversary

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 23rd, 2022

By Karen Diaz, Dean of WVU Libraries

To celebrate the new academic year, I’d like to share comments I made at our recent celebration of the 40th (actually 42nd) anniversary of the Evansdale Library. This is a good reminder of how libraries continue to evolve to meet the needs of campus.

In 1978, while I was still in high school, WVU broke ground for the Evansdale Library. By November 1980, when I was taking a year off from my own college experience, the doors opened to students.

It was acknowledged that the growing campus needed an expanded library system that could serve students who now did business on three different campuses within Morgantown.  We see from the newspaper accounts that one of the exciting features of this new library was going to be a large microfilm room and an AV lab!  Exciting stuff! Having been a college student myself at this time I can imagine the AV space had turntables, cassette players, big heavy headphones, and maybe even a state-of-the-art VHS player. Also present would have been the card catalog.  Ah yes, it was the environment of my own learning and experience.

Read the rest of this entry »

WVRHC receives sixth NEH grant to digitize historical newspapers

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 19th, 2022
Newspaper front page
This image is an example of the searchable content available through the National Digital Newspaper Program.

The West Virginia University Libraries’ West Virginia and Regional History Center has received a $162,155 grant – its sixth from the National Endowment for the Humanities – to continue digitizing newspapers published in West Virginia from 1791 to 1927.

The award is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a collaboration between the NEH and the Library of Congress to enlist libraries and institutions from around the country to create a digital database of historical United States newspapers. This grant brings the NEH’s total funding of the WVRHC’s efforts to $1,293,568.29.

“We are honored that the NEH continues to support our efforts to enhance access to the historical newspapers preserved in the WVRHC,” WVRHC Interim Director Lori Hostuttler said. “It’s a testament to the incalculable value of these resources and the influential role West Virginia has played in our nation’s history.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Evansdale Library celebrates 42 years serving campus with open house

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 8th, 2022

WVU faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends are invited to celebrate the 42nd anniversary of Evansdale Library at an open house on Friday, August 19, from 2:30-4:30 p.m., with remarks at 3 p.m.

Designed to support the students and faculty on the then-growing Evansdale Campus, the new library provided the campus with much-needed resources. An exhibit of 1980s library service, contrasted with library service today, will be available for viewing during the open house, and during Evansdale Library’s open hours from August 10-24.

Treason, Microfilm, and Access to West Virginia’s Labor History

Posted by Admin.
August 8th, 2022

Written by Elizabeth James

A&M 0979, Miners’ Treason Trials, Records, contains six reels of microfilm of case papers for the trials of coal miners and UMWA leaders who were indicted for, varying, treason or murder in connection with the armed march into Logan County, West Virginia, during August and September 1921, better known as the Battle of Blair Mountain. These materials specifically concern the 1922 trials of Walter Allen, William Blizzard, C. Frank Keeney, Rev. J.E. Wilburn, and John Wilburn. Unlike most of the collections at the West Virginia and Regional History Center, this collection exists only on microfilm, a format similar to film negative strips, that allows a single reel to contain thousands of images of miniaturized versions of documents. But how did the WVRHC get these materials, and why is it important that we have them even if they are not the original documents? Judge Decatur H. Rodgers and Clerk W. M. Jones of the Circuit Court of Jefferson County in Charles Town, WV sent these materials to the (now defunct) West Virginia University Libraries Photoduplication Section in 1957 to be microfilmed only 35 years after the trial occurred. Though we don’t have documentation on why this was done, other collections within the WVRHC such as census and county court records exist in this format as well.    

The microfilm contains more than 8,700 pages of records from the trials, including trial transcripts, charges, witness summons, and other court documents. These documents follow the progression of the trials in varying levels of detail. But to fast forward to the end: what happened to these men? Ultimately, William Blizzard was tried for treason in Charles Town in the same courthouse in which John Brown was convicted of treason in 1859. He was found not guilty. Rev. J.E. Wilburn and his son John Wilburn received an eleven year sentence in the West Virginia Penitentiary for the murder of Deputy John Gore.  They only served three years after receiving a pardon from Governor Howard M. Gore. Walter Allen was tried and convicted of treason. Though he received an eleven year sentence, he jumped bail and was never imprisoned. C. Frank Keeney was charged with treason and the charges were dismissed.

The six reels of microfilm containing the records are divided into nine “flashes”, or sections, that are now available online for the first time thanks to a project conducted by Catherine Venable Moore and a research assistant using MacDowell Fellowship funds. Use CTRL+F within each file to search for relevant words and people.

Reel 1:

  • Flash 1 – Jefferson County Circuit Court. Orders and opinions regarding witness claims, change of venue. Various defendants. 
  • Flash 2 – Kanawha County. Intermediate Court. Indictments and certifications, recognizances, court order, grand jury proceedings.
  • Flash 3 – Logan County. Indictments, carbon copy of letters, etc. 
  • Flash 4 – Lists and Summons for Witnesses from Boone, Cabell, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Putnam, Raleigh, and Summers Counties 

Reel 2a and 2b:

Reel 3:

  • Flash 6 – State vs. William Blizzard (0979_TreasonTrials_Reel3_Flash06_001)
  • Flash 7 – State vs. C. Frank Keeney

Reel 4:

Reel 5:


Savage, Lon. Thunder in the Mountains. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990.

WVU Libraries receives second LYRASIS grant to support portal for congressional archives

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 5th, 2022
Senator Byrd, Rockefeller and Dole with their spouses
Sen. Robert C. Byrd, Elizabeth Dole, Sen. John D. Rockefeller and Sharon Percy Rockefeller, Erma Ora Byrd, and Sen. Bob Dole. Photo courtesy the Robert and Elizabeth Dole Archive and Special Collections. Materials from the archives of all three senators are available online through the American Congress Digital Archive Portal, West Virginia University.

West Virginia University Libraries has been awarded a $39,300 LYRASIS Catalyst Fund grant to support the American Congress Digital Archives Portal,, the first-ever online portal that brings together congressional archives from repositories throughout the United States.

The Portal will provide open access to congressional archives by bringing together these geographically dispersed and civically important sources from multiple institutions using open-source software (OSS) into a single online portal.

“The portal will illuminate the connections across collections, provide opportunities for new scholarship, civics and history education, and make the archives of the ‘People’s Branch’ more equitably available to the people,” Catalyst Fund Program Lead Leigh Grinstead said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Manuscript Fragments and Repurposed Realities

Posted by Admin.
July 18th, 2022

By Destinee Harper

This summer, I worked as an intern in the Rare Book Room studying manuscript leaves and fragments in antiquarian books. I was terrified. What if I dropped one of the books? Turned a page too fast and ripped it? Committed a major faux pas to the world of rare book study?

I did make a few blunders (note: do not compliment the condition of a book “considering its age”), but I avoided most of the nightmares that worried me most. I did not break anything, rip off any covers, etc. Something unexpected did happen, though—my attitude toward books changed entirely.

I had always appreciated stories and the power of a good book. But it did not occur to me that the most valuable books might not be the signed first editions, but the book bound in manuscript. I had never thought about the value of a book’s binding or the history it might share. Rarely did I think about what happened to the volumes upon volumes of manuscript after the invention of the printing press. Now, though, these are the first things I think of when an old book is placed in front of me.

The Rare Book Room’s collection of manuscript fragments is varied and encourages those that study it to consider the multiple repurposed realities manuscripts faced as technology progressed. This 1566 edition of A Summarie of our Englyſh Chronicles by John Stowe, for example, has manuscript fragments hiding inside its covers. Their intended purpose is unclear. They are too small to be pastedowns or endpapers, and it is not possible to discern if they reinforced the binding in any way. Perhaps they were cut. It is a mystery that we might never uncover. What we are sure of, though, is that these fragments, like many in our collection, were recycled and used as scraps for binding purposes. After the invention of the printing press, manuscript fragments were considered junk—certainly not valued as they are today!

Three images of old manuscripts, a worn brown leather cover, an and books open to old script in red and black.

Even further hidden in the binding are the fragments inside this Bible printed in 1493. The fragments are barely visible peeking through the spine. Can you spot them?

A worn tan cover of an old book and a close-up of the inside of the spine.

This dictionary, rather than having manuscript fragments tucked away inside, is bound in a manuscript leaf. On its back cover is a doodle of a man. The doodling is likely contemporary to the book, which was printed in 1731.

Three images of a very old volume, with a light tan cover, and red and brown script. There are small doodled illustrations on one page.

Fragments come in all shapes and sizes. This choir book, commissioned by Andres Camacho in 1450, is huge. There is an elaborate manuscript fragment used as a pastedown inside the rear cover. The decorative initial is gorgeous, but this fragment was cut, repurposed, and meant to be ignored in the back of the book.

An old volume with a rich warm brown cover, decorated with metal corner adornments an a piece in the middle that resembles a gear. The the right is an image of black writing and an ornate decorate opening letter.

Some manuscript fragments survived long enough to be sold as antiques. The library has a small but impressive collection of individual leaves like this Book of Hours fragment. This leaf was printed then hand illuminated, meaning a scribe decorated the capital initials by hand after the text was printed. This single leaf is worth hundreds of dollars!

The inside of an old volume, decorated with an ornate printed border and black calligraphy text. There are blue and red highlights throughout.

Collectors often sell individual leaves rather than full manuscript texts because they can increase their profit this way. Some go so far as to cut leaves into smaller pieces, which they then frame and sell.

Sections of old books removed and placed in photo frames.

This process of deconstructing and selling manuscript texts makes Fragmentology—the study of manuscript fragments—quite difficult. The pieces are scattered and oftentimes impossible to reassemble. Still, we are able to learn a lot about early book and manuscript history from each fragment and how they were repurposed!

If you are interested in learning more about West Virginia University’s manuscript collection, you can read this bibliography I created as part of my internship that provides in-depth descriptions and pictures of each fragment in the collection. I also designed this slideshow with pictures and information about the collection that you are welcome to share in a classroom setting.  

You can also schedule a visit to see the library’s collection in person!

Collection Development at the WVU Libraries in 3 Minutes and 16 Seconds

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 16th, 2022

The WVU Libraries’ Collections Advisory Committee explains the Libraries’ collection development strategies in a YouTube video. WVU faculty, staff and students may find this brief explanation helpful in understanding the Libraries’ budget, the effect of inflation on their capacity to subscribe to or purchase resources, and how to place requests for resources. To discuss this further, contact the subject librarian for your discipline.

WVU Libraries to mark West Virginia Day on June 21 with “West Virginia’s Poetic Heart”

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 14th, 2022
West Virginia Day postcard

West Virginia University Libraries and the West Virginia and Regional History Center will help you find the words to celebrate the Mountain State’s 159th birthday with “West Virginia’s Poetic Heart” on June 21 at 1 p.m. in the Downtown Libraries’ Milano Reading Room. The date of this event has changed because of a University holiday.

The West Virginia Day program brings together West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman and the poetry of noted Appalachian poet Maggie Anderson.

“We are thrilled for Marc to headline our first in-person West Virginia Day program since 2019,” WVRHC Interim Director Lori Hostuttler said. “Although Maggie isn’t able to participate in the program, she will be present through Marc reading her works. Listening is poetry is always moving and inspiring, and will help us celebrate the experiences and relationships we as West Virginians value most.”

Read the rest of this entry »

WVU Libraries’ Collection Budget Priorities

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 6th, 2022
University Library circa 1910
University Library, circa 1910, West Virginia History OnView Collection

Few would argue that academic libraries have changed radically since 1902 when Stewart Hall was the WVU Library. What hasn’t changed is the Libraries’ commitment to WVU’s land grant mission and the study, teaching, and research of the faculty, staff, and students. One not-so-obvious change is the WVU Libraries’ focus on providing access to resources, as opposed to owning them. The explosion of research and new publications means no single library or library system can own everything the institution might need (even with the help of generous donors,) but through carefully curated collections and the power of interlibrary loan, libraries provide access to what faculty, staff, and students need. The focus on access is accompanied by a just-in-time approach, in contrast to the former just-in-case plan. (When the libraries purchased new books, videos, etc., because we thought they might be needed some day, this was a just-in-case plan.)

Read the rest of this entry »

WVU Libraries joins MIT Press Open Access Publishing Initiative

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 23rd, 2022

In March 2021, MIT Press announced the launch of its Direct-to-Open (D2O) framework. In this model, rather than purchasing licenses to eBook titles individually or through packages, libraries pay annual participation fees that support open access (OA) book publishing. Participating libraries gain access to new MIT Press titles—around 90 titles per year—as well as its eligible backlist of approximately 2,300 books. D2O features two non-overlapping collections of scholarly monographs and edited volumes: Humanities & Social Sciences and STEAM. Anyone can read the OA titles free of cost on the MIT Press website, regardless of institutional affiliation. 

Read the rest of this entry »

WVU Libraries names three Munn Scholars

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 19th, 2022

West Virginia University Libraries’ Teaching and Learning Committee has selected Samantha N. Franzese, Jude Platz and Elizabeth Rockwell as 2022 Robert F. Munn Undergraduate Library Scholars.

“We at WVU Libraries are pleased to recognize Samantha, Jude and Elizabeth as Munn Scholars,” Dean of Libraries Karen Diaz said. “They thoroughly researched their topics and wrote impressive works of scholarship.”

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 Honors students for an outstanding humanities or social sciences thesis based on research conducted in the WVU Libraries. Along with a $1,000 award, their names will be added to a plaque in the Downtown Campus Library and their theses added to the Research Repository @ WVU. These papers can be read at

Read the rest of this entry »

Libraries unveil inaugural Inclusive Portrait

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 11th, 2022
Portrait of Victorine Louistall Monroe
Dean of Libraries Karen Diaz and artist Anna Allen pose with Allen’s portrait of Victorine Louistall Monroe.

Victorine Louistall Monroe made history twice at West Virginia University. She received her master’s in education from WVU in 1945, making her the first known Black female to be awarded a graduate degree from the University. Then, Monroe made history again in 1966 when WVU hired her to teach Library Science, making her the University’s first Black faculty member.

In April, WVU Libraries unveiled a portrait of Monroe (1912-2006), Professor Emerita of Library Science, the first painting to be commissioned as part of the Inclusive Portrait Project, in the Downtown Library’s Robinson Reading Room.

“We are excited to celebrate Victorine Louistall Monroe with this portrait,” Libraries Dean Karen Diaz said. “A true Mountaineer, Victorine broke several barriers throughout her life and set a shining example for future generations to emulate.”

Read the rest of this entry »