Ask A Librarian

WVU Libraries to host Games Day

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 24th, 2019
Games Day logo

In celebration of International Games Week, WVU Libraries is hosting their annual International Games Day on Friday, Nov. 1, from 4-7 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library, Room 2036.

Participants will be able to demo games being created by WVU’s Game Developer’s Club, play in a mock Super Smash Brothers tournament, compete for prize giveaways from Starport Arcade, sample some board games, and have a throw at some classic yard games. Insomnia Cookies is also sponsoring the event.

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, exhibits and programs coordinator for WVU Libraries, at

Downtown Campus Library hosting Faculty Exhibit Award winner talk on Oct. 24

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 16th, 2019
Illustration titled The Fruit of the Mandragora

English Professor Lara Farina, winner of the 2019 Faculty Exhibit Award, will talk about her research and exhibit Thursday, Oct. 24, at 4 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library, Room 1020.

WVU Libraries’ Arts in the Libraries committee selected Farina, a professor in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Department of English, for her proposal of an exhibit that visually showcases her scholarship in a new and experimental way.

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WVU Libraries to host Women of Appalachia Project spoken word event on October 19

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 4th, 2019
Women of Appalachia Project artists come together to celebrate spoken word and fine art at Ohio University’s Baker Theater.

West Virginia University Libraries will host “Women Speak”, a juried performance of poetry, songs, short stories and essays, on October 19 from 1-3 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library’s Milano Reading Room.

The annual event is a creation of the Women of Appalachia Project (WOAP) who issues a call for residents of all 420 Appalachian counties to submit writing to be featured.

“Many people have an image of an Appalachian woman, and they look down on her,” WOAP Organizer Kari Gunter-Seymour said. “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.”

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Libraries seeking submissions for upcoming voter suppression exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
October 1st, 2019
flyer promoting exhibit

West Virginia University Libraries is seeking submissions for a major art exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U. S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote, and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which enforced voting rights for racial minorities.

“Undefeated: Canvas(s)ing the Politics of Voter Suppression since Women’s Suffrage” will open at the Downtown Campus Library in fall 2020 and address the political process with special attention to efforts to suppress the votes of women and minorities since 1920.

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Art Crawl to highlight art, history, nature on campus

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 25th, 2019
Flyer for art crawl

West Virginia University Libraries encourages University and Morgantown community members to participate in the Campus Art Crawlon Friday, Sept. 27, 1-5 p.m.

This collaborative event includes 11 stops with fascinating exhibits ranging from topics like photography to education, Appalachia to LGBTQ history. Spanning all three campuses – Downtown, Evansdale and Health Sciences – the Campus Art Crawl will feature exhibits, activities, food, and drink. Participation and admission is free. Hours will differ at some locations.

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WVRHC receives fifth NEH grant to digitize historical newspapers

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 18th, 2019
Picture of a front page of a newspaper

This image is an example of the searchable content available on the Chronicling America website.

The West Virginia University Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center has received a $201,917 grant – its fifth from the National Endowment for the Humanities – to continue digitizing newspapers published in West Virginia from 1790 to 1923.

The award is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program, 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 $968,000.

“We are honored that the NEH recognizes the tremendous value of the historical newspapers archived in the WVRHC,” WVRHC Director John Cuthbert said. “Their support speaks volumes to the instrumental roles the Mountain State and its citizens played in the formation and growth of our nation.”

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The Incredible Story behind the Collapse of the National Bank of Keystone

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
September 4th, 2019

Blog post by Linda Blake, University Librarian Emeritas

Twenty years ago, on September 1, 1999, a federal agency, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC), closed the National Bank of Keystone and turned it over to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Button on jacket that says "I survived the 1st National Bank of Keystone"
Button on jacket that says “I survived the 1st National Bank of Keystone”
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Mountaineer Week Collection

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
August 26th, 2019

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

The University Archives recently received records from the Office of Multicultural Programs that cover the planning of Mountaineer Week in the past. Among other things, we now have their planning binders covering 1995-2005.  This has been a very enjoyable collection to process, though it has made me crave funnel cake and kettle corn a few months too early.  (Mountaineer Week runs November 1-9, 2019.) There are a few highlights that I found so far to share with you.

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Touchdown Challenge 2019 – Are You Ready?

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 20th, 2019
aerial picture of stadium

Football is in the air and that means West Virginia UniversityLibraries and the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics are teaming up once again for the Mountaineer Touchdown Challenge, our annual fundraising campaign to benefit the Libraries.

“The Athletics Department has enjoyed its partnership with the WVU Libraries for the past eight years in supporting the Mountaineer Touchdown Challenge,” WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons said. “It’s an outstanding initiative, because everyone wins – our fans are happy when our players score touchdowns, which hopefully turns into wins, and that assists the entire student body with their academic endeavors. I encourage our alumni and fans to join us in the Challenge and support all of WVU.”

The initiative, in its ninth year, has provided for many student needs, such as digital cameras, laptops, graphing calculators and other technical equipment that can be checked out, poster printers and a presentation practice room. The Downtown Campus, Evansdale and Health Sciences libraries have all shared in these benefits. 

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Libraries to host “Appalachian Futures” exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 19th, 2019
Drawing of a train.

Image by David Smith, Reed College of Media senior lecturer, and Baaria Chaudhary, Reed College graduate student.

How do you imagine the future of Appalachia?

“Appalachian Futures,” West Virginia University Libraries’ new year-long exhibition, addresses the current dominant narratives about Appalachia in a new way, by looking at how the people of Appalachia have worked and will work to rewrite their own story.

“The exhibit takes us beyond the stereotypes to paint a rich and multi-layered picture of what it means to be Appalachian,” said Sally Brown Deskins, exhibits & programs coordinator for WVU Libraries.

The exhibit officially opens on Sept. 3, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. in the Milano Reading Room in the Downtown Campus Library. Chris Haddox and Travis Stimeling will provide live music. Also, attendees will have the opportunity to interact with games inspired by West Virginia history and designed by collaborative teams of art, media and computer science students.

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Research Repository surpasses 25,000 downloads worldwide

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 20th, 2019
screenshot of research repository website

The Research Repository @ WVU, an online, openly available, home for the scholarship, creative work and research of West Virginia University faculty, researchers and students, has surpassed 25,000 downloads worldwide.

“It’s been very exciting to watch the repository grow over the last several months,” Scholarly Communications Librarian Ian Harmon said. “We just launched last October, and the fact that we already have over 25,000 downloads demonstrates that researchers around the world are eager to read the groundbreaking work that takes place at WVU. It also shows that making your work available Open Access really does have the potential to increase its readership.”

The Repository is a collaboration between WVU Libraries and the WVU Office of Research. It provides the University community with a library-supported platform for sharing their work with the worldwide scholarly community. Currently, there are close to 11,000 items available.

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West Virginia Day celebration to focus on early photography

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 7th, 2019
Two men standing in front of a saloon
Two unidentified men raise their mugs of beer outside a Tucker County saloon, ca. 1885.

If you’re on Facebook, twitter or Instagram, it’s impossible to miss the selfies people post to announce a night on the town, a trip to an exotic location or just a new pair of sunglasses.

Set aside the Internet and smartphones, and they’re simply following a social norm established more than 150 years ago. While Millennials are growing up on social media, the Civil War generation was the first to grow up with photography.

“Photography was an earth-shattering innovation in the mid-19th century, perhaps like the introduction of the computer or the cell phone,” said John Cuthbert, director of the West Virginia and Regional History Center. “It was introduced in the U.S. around 1840 and within a couple of decades people all over America were getting their pictures taken by itinerant photographers who would travel from town to town.”

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Frederick Douglass Remembers Decoration Day, May 30, 1881

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
May 28th, 2019

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

Black and white portrait photo of Frederick Douglass as an older man

Decoration Day, May 30, 1881.  Frederick Douglass, considered among the greatest orators of the nineteenth century, stood on the grounds of Storer College, the first institution of higher learning for African Americans in West Virginia, a state not long separated from its parent, Virginia.   Douglass, a trustee of Storer College, was the Decoration Day keynote speaker.  The events of the day were part of a commencement celebration that also included the laying of the cornerstone for a new building.  This new addition to campus would be called Anthony Hall, “in honor of Mr. Anthony, of Providence R. I., a relative of Senator Anthony.”  But Douglass was not there to praise the success of Storer College, or to decorate the graves of soldiers who fought and died during the late Civil War, instead, Douglass took this occasion to talk about his friend and fellow abolitionist, John Brown, whose execution following his failed raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859, twenty-two years before, was within living memory of many of the attendees that day.

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WVU Libraries invites university community to opening reception for Dr. Emory L. Kemp Collection exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 24th, 2019
Emory Kemp on bridge
Dr. Emory Kemp and an unidentified man posing above the Wheeling Suspension Bridge during the late 1990s restoration of the bridge. Photo is courtesy of Gary Zearott.

West Virginia University Libraries will host an opening reception for an exhibit recognizing the lifetime achievements of Dr. Emory L. Kemp, Professor Emeritus of History and Civil Engineering, at 3 p.m. Friday, May 31, in the John D. Rockefeller IV Gallery of the Downtown Campus Library.

“The Structure of History: Celebrating Industrial Heritage and Preservation in the Dr. Emory L. Kemp Collection” will showcase items from Kemp’s donation to the West Virginia and Regional History Center, which included blueprints, maps, restoration project reports, structural analysis papers, drawings, correspondence and more that Kemp collected throughout his extensive career that spanned 50 years.

“Emory Kemp is a renowned figure in the field of Civil Engineering and it is a tremendous honor to preserve his papers in in the Regional History Center,” WVRHC Director John Cuthbert said. “Records pertaining to his work ranging from world landmarks like the Sydney Opera House to West Virginia’s iconic Philippi Bridge and Wheeling Suspension Bridge will be a boon to industrial architecture historians for generations to come.”

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WVU Libraries and the Teaching and Learning Commons award Open Educational Resources grants

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 13th, 2019

West Virginia University Libraries and the Teaching and Learning Commons (TLC) have selected three faculty members to receive inaugural Open Educational Resources (OER) grants: Corey Colyer, an associate professor of sociology, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; Caleb Holloway, an assistant professor of mathematics, Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering & Sciences, WVU Institute of Technology; and Chris McClain, assistant professor of mathematics, Nelson College, WVU Tech.

“We’re so excited that our inaugural OER grant program is off to a great start with the potential of saving WVU students nearly $50,000,” said Martha Yancey, chair of the grants committee. “This first cohort of grant recipients will provide good models for other faculty to learn from and consider during next year’s grant process. We hope to continue building momentum toward even bigger savings in the future.”

The aim of the grants is to encourage development of alternatives to high-cost textbooks, lower the cost of college attendance for students, and support faculty who wish to implement new pedagogical models for classroom instruction. Awardees agree to use their open textbooks in courses to be taught in fall 2019 or spring 2020, and then submit a course review/report.

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WVU Libraries names two Munn scholars

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 6th, 2019

West Virginia University Libraries’ Teaching and Learning Committee has selected Hannah Coffey and Kelsey R. Eackles as 2019 Robert F. Munn Undergraduate Library scholars.

“All of us at WVU Libraries are pleased to name Hannah Coffey and Kelsey Eackles as Munn Scholars,” Dean of Libraries Karen Diaz said. “Both exceeded expectations with their remarkable efforts in researching their topics and then writing their impressive works of scholarship.”

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Downtown Campus Library to host “With a Grain of Salt: Art in Rocks” exhibit & talk

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 6th, 2019

It’s an exhibit ~270 million years in the making.

During the Permian Period, acidic, salty lakes and groundwaters existed in Kansas. Remnants of these extreme environments have been preserved as rocks and include red muds, blue gypsum, and clear halite, along with entrapped microcapsules of Permian water, atmosphere, and microorganisms.

WVU geology professor Kathleen Benison’s photographs of these rocks serve as both scientific evidence and aesthetic objects.

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REMIX the WVRHC Archives: Call for digital/collage work

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 6th, 2019
Altered historic photograph

The West Virginia University Arts in the Libraries committee wants people to get creative with history.

“REMIX the WVRHC Archives,” an exhibition and online project by the Art in the Libraries program, encourages people to use the West Virginia & Regional History Center’s online resources to design unique artistic works, such as collages, memes, GIFs, creative writing, redaction poetry and other agglomerations.

“While archives are used for research, they can also inspire contemporary thought, perspective and fun, which is the aim of this curated project,” said Sally Deskins, exhibits coordinator for WVU Libraries.

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Diamond selected as IELOL Fellow

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 6th, 2019
Kelly Diamond

Kelly Diamond, head of West Virginia University Libraries’ Office of Curriculum and Instructional Support, has been selected as a 2019 Fellow for the Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL). In its 11th year, the IELOL Institute selects its Fellows from an international pool of candidates through a competitive application process.

The five-month Institute incorporates online learning with a week-long onsite immersive experience. The cohort of IELOL Fellows investigate personal, local, and global leadership challenges in online learning through individual, group, and team projects. Participants apply their new knowledge, experience, and connections to online learning projects at their home institutions. The IELOL Institute begins this July and will culminate with the IELOL Masters Class at the Online Learning Consortium annual conference in November.

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Wilkinson retires, university community invited to reception on Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

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