By Sally Brown, WVU Libraries Exhibits Coordinator
Curating the Art in the Libraries’ large, multi-disciplinary exhibitions since 2018’s WATER, has proved an enormous and exciting part of my role as Exhibits Coordinator. Through WATER (2018-19) and Appalachian Futures (2019-20), I developed these large exhibitions with upwards of 50 diverse contributors, two committees, a designer, several sponsoring partners and of course, the signing off of Dean Karen Diaz for these displays going up in the Downtown Campus Library for the academic year.
This year’s exhibition, Undefeated: Canvas(s)ing the Politics Around Voter Suppression Since Women’s Suffrage, in conjunction with the Suffrage Centennial and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, was complex in its multidisciplinary, and controversial in its political nature. The complexity was compounded by the pandemic not only logistically for exhibition display, but also as it heightened the unfolding story of contemporary voter suppression with myriad new voting considerations throughout the presidential election. Thankfully, the various contributors and partners allowed for multiple perspectives for this exhibition and its related programming and we were able to engage participation from WVU and broader communities.
The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a nearly $60,000 grant to West Virginia University Libraries to create the first-ever online portal bringing together congressional archives from repositories throughout the United States.
“Congressional archives document the democratic process and the evolution of Congress as an institution,” said Danielle Emerling, project director and curator of congressional and political collections in the West Virginia & Regional History Center. “However, the value of the archives goes beyond the study of the branch itself. They illustrate multiple narratives related to the country’s social, cultural, and political development.”
Join panelists Jeri Burton, chair of the NOW’s 28th Amendment ERA Committee; Linda Coberly, chair of the ERA Coalition’s legal task force; and Liza Mickens, Vote Equality US co-founder, for a discussion about past and present efforts, challenges, and strategies for passing the Equal Rights Amendment. Danielle Emerling, Congressional & Political Papers archivist and WVRHC assistant curator, will moderate the event.
Art in the Libraries’ Virtual Program Series will present “Don’t Throw it Out!” a conversation about documenting women and the new West Virginia Feminist Activist Collection of the West Virginia and Regional History Center on March 19 at noon.
Panelists Judith Stitzel, Professor Emerita of English and Co-Founder of Women’s Studies, and Carroll Wilkinson, University Librarian Emerita, come together with Lori Hostuttler, Assistant Director of the WVRHC, to discuss collecting and documenting women’s lives, share some of their own photos, ephemera or objects, to encourage a broader and more accessible approach to archives and all it can encompass.
The State Journal published this article on March 3.
By Karen Diaz, Dean of WVU Libraries
Women – of all backgrounds – have made important contributions to society. Only recently are we learning more about these individuals and learning to give credit to women where that credit is due. The way we have learned more is through evidence. Often that evidence sits in archives used by historians and others to document how women have shaped society. Due to a long tradition of underrepresenting women and women’s contributions, there are archival silences or gaps in what has been preserved. This undervaluing perhaps also causes those making contributors to undervalue documenting what they have done.
The Art in the Libraries Committee and Dean of Libraries Karen Diaz selected Anna Allen, a BFA candidate in painting, and Raymond Thompson, Jr., an MFA student in photography, to receive the 2020 Dean of the Libraries’ Student Art Award.
Masks are the new symbol of our time. WVU’s Art in the Libraries Program will host a free virtual event titled “The Art of the Mask: A Community Discussion and Show-and-Tell” Monday, Feb. 15, from noon-1 p.m.
The Zoom gathering, in conjunction with the Art in the Libraries’ online exhibit, The Art of the Mask, will feature an informal sharing of masks and discussion by Suzanne Gosden-Kitchen, assistant chair and teaching associate professor in the Department of Management, John Chambers College of Business and Economics, and Matthew Tolliver, an adjunct faculty member at WVU and a certified professional school counselor, Monongalia County Schools. Their mask creations are part of the digital Art of the Mask exhibit.
WVU Libraries is hosting “Amplifying Appalachia” Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, an effort to amplify the stories and figures of under-represented Appalachian artists, writers, and other creators, particularly women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
“Amplifying Appalachia” is open to all and will run virtually from March 1-5. Participants can contribute whenever is convenient them. Prior Wiki experience is not necessary.
Are you an instructor who is concerned about the impact of high textbook costs for your students’ academic success? WVU Libraries will host an Open Textbook Workshop and Textbook Review on March 4 at 10 a.m. that will help instructors explore possible open textbook solutions to this growing financial issue.
Over the past few years, 60 percent of students surveyed said they delayed purchasing textbooks until they received their financial aid and 70 percent chose not to purchase a required textbook because of cost, according to the Open Education Network, a group that studies how the high cost of course materials impede students’ academic success.
WVU Libraries is pleased to announce a free professional development opportunity available to University faculty and staff – complimentary registration for the OLC Innovate Virtual Conference scheduled for March 15-19.
This unlimited virtual package is a prize won by Engineering Librarian Martin Dunlap at the Online Learning Consortium’s Accelerate 2020 conference.
The Innovate Conference’s schedule includes more than 100 sessions and workshops and covers topics such as Blended Teaching and Learning; Career and Technical Education; Instructional Technologies and Tools; Leadership and Advocacy; Open Learning; Process, Problems and Practices; Research: Designs, Methods and Findings; and Teaching and Learning Practice. There are also “targeted summits,” which are thematically focused gatherings for Community College, HBCU, Instructional Design, Research, International and K-12.
WVU Libraries’ Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, in collaboration with the Prioritize Periods Campaign of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, has launched “Take One, Leave One,” a menstrual product drive, in their campus locations including Downtown Campus Library, Evansdale Library, and Health Sciences Lactation Room, as a trial through the spring semester.
“Take One, Leave One” bins are located in public, yet discreet, locations in the buildings and welcome students and Library users to donate or take what they need. Locations will be posted on bathroom mirrors in each of the buildings. Bins will be monitored to record use and donations for potentially more long-term use or future initiatives.
“While access to basic hygiene on campus such as soap and toilet paper is routine, access to menstrual products is not at this point,” Libraries Dean Karen Diaz said. “We are happy to participate with Prioritize Periods Campaign to work on changing that and are happy to provide space to pilot improving access to this basic health requirement for so many in our community.”
“The Food Justice Lab is thrilled to support WVU Libraries with an art exhibit that will elevate the rich histories of Appalachian food heritage, explore the inequities presently coded into our food system and help us to imagine a more just and resilient food future for our region,” WVU Food Policy Research Director Joshua Lohnes said.
The Downtown Campus Library will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday as crews complete work on a steam line that supports the building’s HVAC system. The library will reopen Thursday at 7:30 a.m. For a complete list of WVU Libraries hours visit the Libraries’ website, wvu.libcal.com/hours.
After being passed by Congress in 1919, the Nineteenth Amendment needed to be ratified by at least 36 states to become law. Success in the mountain state required conquering multiple hurdles, including assorted anti-suffrage protests. Despite such challenges, on March 10, 1920, West Virginia became the 34th state to approve the amendment.
Elections and campaigns have changed over the centuries, and the 2020 campaign season has looked like none before. As Americans decide on the future, this exhibit explores some of West Virginia’s political past, the contributions of West Virginia politicians, as well as the history of campaign materials.
Ellis researches how racial and class-based oppression interact continue to abridge and deny the right to vote to communities on the margins of American democracy. His work has analyzed voter identification laws for their socioeconomic effects, situated felon disenfranchisement laws as enforcing a political underclass, analyzed the theoretical scope of the Citizens United decision, and described the ideological drivers of vote suppression.
Temperatures are falling, leaves are turning, and Halloween is fast approaching in Appalachia. No tricks here – WVU Libraries has put together a libguide with information and fun facts for the season. The guide covers Halloween history, local spooky activities, how to stay safe trick or treating during the COVID-19 pandemic, information costumes and cultural appropriation, profiles of our local monsters, resources for Day of the Dead, and has some great horror recommendations. Check it out here as you prepare for Halloween.
Asimov (1920-1992), widely considered one of the greatest science fiction writers of the twentieth-century, earned the title of “The Great Explainer” because he made complicated subjects easy to understand.
Marking the centennial of Asimov’s birth and promoting science fiction as an academic resource, the Asimov Symposium will feature conversations and presentations from the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy at the University of California at Riverside, the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas, WVU’s Rare Book Collection and Eberly College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of English science fiction faculty.