Ask A Librarian

Out of the Margins

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 17th, 2021

Join us for Out of the Margins: a virtual roundtable of library workers and their published books on June 25 at noon via Zoom. Panelists will include Martin Dunlap, Eva Mays, James Shaver, and Beth Toren.

Dunlap’s story is included in the book “Bases to Bleachers” in the chapter “Baseball: The International Game” on pages 101-102. Listen to Dunlap retelling his story here. Mays wrote “The Gravid Cadaver: A Novelette of Body Snatching, Backstabbing, Friendship, and Love.” Shaver wrote The High King Chronicles, which is composed of “The Unfortunate,”A King of Kings,” and “Queen of Darkness,” which is in progress. Toren’s writing is included in “Women Speak, Volume 6.” Her contribution is “Clean Coal Crik Doggerel, or, Foggy Mountain Nervous Breakdown,” a parody of quaint, folksy Appalachian themes, ripping on spotlighting deer, coal mine hazards, and drug abuse.

The program will be moderated by Dean of Libraries Karen Diaz. Register here.

The Road to Blair Mountain: Commemorating the West Virginia Mine Wars

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 9th, 2021
Striking miners
Miners gather for a meal during a strike, circa 1920. Photo from the West Virginia and Regional History Center.

West Virginia University Libraries and the West Virginia and Regional History Center will celebrate West Virginia Day with “The Road to Blair Mountain: Commemorating the West Virginia Mine Wars.” There will be a program and an exhibit focusing on the West Virginia mine wars, a series of strikes and battles between 1912 and 1921 that pitted pro-union miners against the coal companies. Most notable among these events was the Battle of Blair Mountain, which marks its 100th anniversary this year.

Plan to join us June 18 from 10-11:30 a.m. for the virtual program, which will feature presentations by William Hal Gorby, assistant teaching professor of history in WVU’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and consultant for the PBS American Experience documentary “The Mine Wars,” and Charles B. Keeney, assistant professor of history at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, founding member of the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, and author of “The Road to Blair Mountain.”

Please register in advance.

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Browse the new “Passion or Obsession?” exhibits at Evansdale Library

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 26th, 2021

The Art in the Libraries continues its series “Passion or Obsession?” with Kiss memorabilia & classic toy exhibits on display at the Evansdale Library through November.

Collection of KISS memorabilia

Brad Hart, a 14-year employee of WVU facilities and preventative maintenance, started collecting KISS memorabilia in 1995 after seeing the tribute band, Strutter, at The Nyabinghi Dance Hall (currently 123 Pleasant Street). This turned out to be great timing, as the four original members kicked off a reunion tour in 1996, leading to the release of a whole new wave of KISS merchandise. To date, Hart has over 600 items in his collection, ranging from vintage to new. He rarely purchases items online, enjoying the “thrill of the hunt” at antique malls, thrift shops, flea markets, etc. Hart is a musician himself, having just wrapped up a 34-year career of playing bass guitar in several popular bands in the Morgantown area.

Collection of vintage toys

Wes Utt, who has worked in the WVU preventative maintenance shop for 14 years, began collecting and dealing in antiques more than 30 years ago. His main passion is selling and trading at toy and antique shows and flea markets where he’s met some of his closest friends. His earliest pieces date back to the early 1900s. This exhibit was organized by WVU Art in the Libraries.

For more information or to display your collection, visit or contact Exhibits Coordinator Sally Brown,

WVRHC receives two grants to support Feminist Activist Collection

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 25th, 2021

The West Virginia and Regional History Center, a part of West Virginia University Libraries, has received grants from the West Virginia Humanities Council and the WVU Humanities Center  to support the development of the West Virginia Feminist Activist Collection (WVFAC).

“The West Virginia Feminist Activist Collection brings together the records of people and institutions that worked to advance women’s rights. The materials hold the stories of challenges and change for women in West Virginia. The archive will be useful for scholars, teachers, and anyone interested in women’s history,” WVRHC Assistant Director Lori Hostuttler said.

The grants – $19,998 from the Humanities Council and $12,601 from the WVU Humanities Center – will enable their team to conduct outreach, collect papers and oral histories, and hold educational programs across the state to educate West Virginians about archival practices and women’s history.

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WVU Libraries names two Munn Scholars

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 12th, 2021

West Virginia University Libraries’ Teaching and Learning Committee has selected Adam Benjamin and Aerianna McClanahan as 2021 Robert F. Munn Undergraduate Library Scholars.

“All of us at WVU Libraries are thrilled to name Adam Benjamin and Aerianna McClanahan as Munn Scholars,” Dean of Libraries Karen Diaz said. “Adam and Aerianna navigated around limitations placed on them by COVID-19 restrictions to research their topics thoroughly and write impressive works of scholarship.”

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Libraries to host conversation with “Remaking Appalachia” author

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 28th, 2021
Remaking Appalachia book cover

West Virginia University Libraries will host a virtual conversation with Nicholas Stump, author of “Remaking Appalachia,” on May 20 at noon.

Stump, a faculty member and head of reference and access services with the George R. Farmer Jr. Law Library at WVU College of Law, researches environmental law, critical legal theory, law and social movements, and Appalachian and rural studies.

In “Remaking Appalachia,” his new book from WVU Press, Stump looks back more than a century to examine the creation of laws governing the rising power of coal and other industries, and chronicles their failure to protect Appalachia. In addition, Stump goes beyond law “reform” to explore true system change, a discussion undergirded by ecofeminism and ecosocialism.

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Curating Undefeated: Canvas(s)ing the Politics Around Voter Suppression Since Women’s Suffrage, an online and print exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 21st, 2021
Image from Undefeated exhibit

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.

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NEH awards WVU Libraries funds to develop online portal for congressional archives

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 14th, 2021

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.” 

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Libraries to host “The Equal Rights Amendment: Past, Present, and Future” panel discussion

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 24th, 2021

WVU Libraries will host a virtual panel presentation titled “The Equal Rights Amendment: Past, Present, and Future” on Thursday, April 8, at noon. The presentation is in conjunction with the Libraries’ “Undefeated: Canvas(s)ing the Politics Around Voter Suppression Since Women’s Suffrage” exhibition and the West Virginia and Regional History Center’s exhibitions on women’s suffrage and voting rights.

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.

Register for the Zoom event here.

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WVU Libraries to host online discussion on its new Feminist Activist Collection

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 15th, 2021
group picture of community team

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.

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WVU Libraries to mark Women’s History Month

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 4th, 2021

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.

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Two Students receive Dean of the Libraries’ Student Art Award

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 23rd, 2021

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.

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Art in the Libraries to host Art of the Mask virtual event

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 10th, 2021
collage of people wearing masks

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.

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Join the “Amplifying Appalachia” Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 4th, 2021
Hand holding a paintbrush

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.

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Libraries hosting workshop focused on lowering textbook costs for students

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 4th, 2021

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.

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Libraries extends free professional development opportunity to WVU community

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 3rd, 2021

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.

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WVU Libraries leading menstrual product drive

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 3rd, 2021

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.”

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Libraries will close at 1 p.m. Wednesday

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
December 16th, 2020

The Downtown Campus, Evansdale and Health Sciences libraries and the Book Depository will close at 1 pm today because of the winter storm. The buildings will reopen at noon Thursday. 

WVU Libraries and Food Justice Lab seeking submissions for Food Justice exhibit

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
December 9th, 2020

The West Virginia University Food Justice Lab and WVU Libraries’ Arts in the Libraries committee are seeking content from scholars, artists, community groups and practitioners for a curated art exhibition that addresses issues related to Food Justice.

“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.

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Libraries moving to new authentication system

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
December 6th, 2020

The WVU Libraries are moving to a new authentication system for our electronic resources on Dec. 14th. This change should be seamless for most users. If you have linked to journal articles, eBooks, or other online library resources in your courses or bookmarked them in your browser, please change to in the links. If you encounter problems, please contact Library eResources at