Ask A Librarian

Libraries play pivotal role in our communities

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 17th, 2018

The following op-ed appeared in the Charleston Gazette on August 14.

By Karen Diaz, Interim Dean of Libraries

Libraries enjoy an interesting relationship with the public and our users. We are trusted, loved, and yet often underestimated. Folks think of libraries as the friendly place to get books. They are indeed that – but so much more. Libraries are neutral in the sense of belonging to the collective, and hosting different points of view. They are political in the sense of dedication to that cause and working against censorship. They are for the common good. They are places and they are virtual. And importantly they are run by professionals who are guides, teachers, partners, community workers and scholars all in one. A public library is a space where the local community can come to grow and to learn about societal as well as personal matters whether that be through books or events. An academic library is a “neutral” space that brings different disciplines together through collections, space and services.

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Mountaineer Touchdown Challenge 2018 – Are you ready?

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 17th, 2018

WVU quarterback Will Grier

Football is in the air and that means West Virginia University Libraries 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 initiative, in its eighth year, has provided for many needs of our students. This year alone we have updated all of our professional testing and career preparation books, purchased new DSLR cameras and graphing calculators for Access Services to lend and are updating monitors and technology in the Health Sciences Library study rooms to allow for wireless syncing from any device.

Several months ago, Challenge money also provided for a new poster printer on the Health Sciences campus. Hundreds of posters were printed for research symposiums like Van Liere Research Day. Graduate and undergraduate students alike reap the benefits.

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WATER: Exploring the significance, power and play of life’s critical resource

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 16th, 2018

Water exhibit in Downtown Campus LIbrary

Whether it’s navigating the raging rapids of the Gauley River or splashing in a kiddie pool, people love playing in water. That same substance can quench thirst, nourish crops and generate electricity as it rushes through a dam. If there’s too much, a small stream can spill over its banks and flood a community. Its absence can bring drought and famine.

Throughout the 2018-2019 academic year, the West Virginia University Downtown Campus Library is hosting WATER: A Cross Disciplinary Exhibit Exploring the Significance, Power and Play of Life’s Critical Resource, a collaborative, cross-disciplinary exhibit that explores the power, control, scarcity, abundance, play and impact of water in its various forms.

“We are thrilled to bring together such a diverse group of talented people each with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in their respective fields as we push off into this year-long trek to learn about and better understand the myriad issues that surround water,” said Sally Deskins, exhibits and programs coordinator for WVU Libraries.

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Historian tackles West Virginia’s past and present in upcoming talks

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
August 3rd, 2018

West Virginia was known as a solidly Democratic state for most of the 20th century, but that has changed in the 21st century.

Renowned historian John Alexander Williams will make sense of this dramatic shift in a talk on Friday, Aug. 10, at 3 p.m. in West Virginia University’s Downtown Campus Library, in Room 104. The program is free and the public is welcome.

Williams’ talk, titled “The Greenne$$ of the Red: How Macroeconomic Issues Changed West Virginia from Blue to Red,” will discuss why Mountain State voters supported the Republican candidate for president in each of the past five statewide elections, and why both houses of the state Legislature now have Republican majorities.

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Cross-discipline collaboration results in unique interactive sculpture at Evansdale Library

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
July 24th, 2018
CESTA students pose with sculpture.

CESTA 2018 students Nysha Hongpaisan (WVU, engineering), Sarah Starcovic (Fairmont State, chemistry and biology), Erin McCarty (WVU, M.F.A.) Samuel Dickson (Youngstown State University, chemistry), Kyleen Kelly (WVU, B.F.A. art education) and Pamela Saidoni (WVU, engineering) pose with their creation.

An interactive sculpture on display at West Virginia University’s Evansdale Library illustrates the structure and function of a particular enzyme and can charge your SmartPhone.

The stunning metal, wood and ceramic work, titled “Cytochrome C,” is the creation of a team of artists, chemists and engineers from WVU and two other universities assembled as part of the Community Engagement in Science through Art (CESTA) program.

“The four-week summer program brings together students in the science, engineering, and art disciplines to design and build an interactive chemistry-art installation in Morgantown with the goal of improving cross-discipline communication and collaboration among the students while also bringing science to the community in a format that is fun, interesting and beautiful,” said Jessica Hoover, an assistant professor of chemistry, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

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West Virginia Day celebration to examine law and lawyer in the Mountain State

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 15th, 2018

West Virginia invitation cover

West Virginia University Libraries and the West Virginia and Regional History Center will address the law and lawyers in the Mountain State to mark the 155th anniversary of West Virginia’s founding on June 20.

“Justice for All; Law and Lawyers in West Virginia” will commemorate the key role the legal profession has played throughout the history of the nation’s 35th state.

“Few people are aware that West Virginia has made nationally significant contributions to law and legislation in fields including labor and industry, natural resources, medicine and education among others,” WVRHC Director John Cuthbert said.

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WVU launches Distinguished West Virginians Archives

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
June 8th, 2018

President Gee

It comes as a surprise to some that West Virginia and its flagship university have both produced a cavalcade of distinguished leaders in business, science, government, the arts and the military, just to name some areas.

“People will say, ‘I didn’t know that you were from West Virginia,’ or ‘I didn’t know you went to West Virginia University’. And that, of course, is something we want people to understand,” WVU President Gordon Gee said in announcing an effort to remedy that lack of knowledge.

“We’ve been celebrating the achievements of the University and that celebration includes the fact that we have built ourselves on the base of great giants who have made such a difference to this state and this nation and most importantly our students,” Gee said Saturday in announcing the Distinguished West Virginians Archives, a new initiative to document the lives and legacies of West Virginians who have achieved extraordinary accomplishments and bring them to the attention of the state and the nation.

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WVU Libraries receives grant to create public art guide

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 24th, 2018

West Virginia University Libraries has received a Grant for Community Engagement from the WVU Research Office to fund the creation and production of a Morgantown Public Art Guide, in collaboration with the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau, Arts Monongahela, the Art Museum of WVU and the College of Creative Arts.

Spearheaded by WVU Libraries’ Exhibits Coordinator Sally Deskins and Interim Director of Strategy and Planning Carroll Wilkinson, the project is an effort not only to inform residents and visitors of the more than 40 locations displaying public art, but to showcase the benefits of collaboration amongst the University, the community and local arts organizations.

The GMCVB will sponsor the production of the piece and play an integral role in its online and print dispersal and promotion.

“The Morgantown Public Art Guide will be a tremendous resource for area residents, visitors and those considering relocating here,” GMCVB Executive Director Susan Riddle said. “We are excited to help promote the wonderful artwork throughout our community.”

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WVU Libraries names two Munn scholars

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 4th, 2018

West Virginia University Libraries selected Elizabeth Satterfield and Rachel A. Wattick as 2018 Robert F. Munn Undergraduate Library scholars.

“All of us at WVU Libraries are pleased to recognize Elizabeth Satterfield and Rachel Wattick for their tremendous achievements in researching their topics and presenting their findings,” Interim Dean of Libraries Karen Diaz said. “Our selection committee noted that they clearly dedicated a great deal of thought and time to gathering the necessary information and then writing their impressive works of scholarship.”

Munn award winners with deans

Munn Award winners Rachel A. Wattick (second from left) and Elizabeth Satterfield pose with Damien Clement, assistant dean of the Honors College, and Karen Diaz, interim dean of WVU Libraries.

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Maintaining a strong collection during tough budget times

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 26th, 2018

Student with laptop

By Karen Diaz, Interim Dean of Libraries

The state of West Virginia and West Virginia University have had a couple of belt-tightening years. This, of course, has impacted the Libraries budget as well.  After two years of stringent reductions and loss of access to reserve funding, we have had to cut our spending on library materials (collections) from over $9 million in FY 2015 to under $6 million in FY 2018. This is a 39% reduction.

A few things about library collections:

  • About 90% of our materials budget now goes to electronic materials. This includes databases, e-books, and e-journals, and is fairly typical for an academic library.
  • About 88% of our budget is for subscription items. These are items that in most cases require us to maintain the subscription in order to continue to have access to the title at all.  For instance, if we cancel a database, we no longer have access to any information in the database.  We don’t just lose access to the current year moving forward.
  • Some of our “materials” costs actually go to tools to help provide access to our content. For example, we pay an annual fee for our online catalog, in some cases we pay an annual “hosting fee” for digital content, we pay for tools that allow our users to log into proprietary content from off campus, and tools that provide us with data about which materials are being used.
  • Even the content we get for free, such as gift books or important archives and manuscripts, have costs. There are fees for transporting the material, processing it so it is known and findable to researchers, and housing it – sometimes in special acid-free boxes or in particular conditions for longevity. If we want to make that content available online there are digitization costs.

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Looking at Morgantown exhibit opens April 20

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 13th, 2018

The Downtown Campus Library will host an opening reception for the West Virginia University Libraries’ newest exhibit, “Looking at Morgantown,” on April 20 from 4-6 p.m. in Room 1020.

“Looking at Morgantown” showcases 24 photographs specific to Monongalia County and the people, places and events that represent the area by 18 regional professional and amateur photographers. The WVU Art in the Libraries Committee selected the images from more than 350 submissions.

The exhibit is in conjunction with “Looking at Appalachia: Selected Images from 2014-2016” currently on display at the DCL. “Looking at Appalachia is an ongoing crowdsourced photography project created by West Virginia-based photographer Roger May as a response to media coverage and perceptions of Appalachia and the President Johnson’s War on Poverty.

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Downtown Campus Library to host two Wikipedia edit-a-thons in April

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 9th, 2018

 

The Downtown Campus Library will host two Wikipedia edit-a-thons in April. Both event are open to the public. Preregistration is not required, but people should bring a laptop.

The first is an Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon on April 13 from noon to 3 p.m. in room 104. The Art + Feminism edit-a-thon will focus on female artists in the collection of the WVU Museum. Participants will have the opportunity to write about and edit Wikipedia pages of female artists, painters, designers and dancers. Kelly Doyle, WVU Libraries’ Wikipedian in Residence for Gender Equity, will be available help individuals edit and create an account. For more information contact Sally Deskins, Libraries exhibits coordinator, at sbdeskins@mail.wvu.edu.

On April 19, from noon to 3 p.m., in Room 1036, students in the Women’s and Gender Studies capstone class are organizing a Women Innovators, Designers and Entrepreneurs Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. It will be held in conjunction with WVU’s Demo Day and Black Women’s History Month. For information on this event contact Kasi Jackson, associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, at kasi.jackson@mail.wvu.edu.

 

Libraries interim dean named Library Senior Fellow at UCLA

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 6th, 2018

West Virginia University Libraries Interim Dean Karen Diaz is among 17 top academic library directors selected as Library Senior Fellows at UCLA for fall 2018. The international cohort will travel to UCLA in August for a three-week residential program featuring lectures, guest speakers, case studies and field trips.

“I’m delighted to welcome this distinguished group of accomplished library managers to the Senior Fellows program,” said Brian E. C. Schottlaender, director of the Library Senior Fellows program at UCLA. “Through the competitive selection process, these individuals have demonstrated that they are part of the next generation of library leaders in the academic world.”

Library Senior Fellows at UCLA combines management perspectives, strategic thinking and practical and theoretical approaches to the issues confronting academic institutions and their libraries. Of some 250 alumni, nearly half have gone on to positions as library directors. The program is a collaborative effort of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (GSE&IS), the UCLA Library and Ithaka S+R.

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Downtown Campus Library to host poet Maggie Anderson on April 4

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 28th, 2018

Maggie Anderson

West Virginia University Libraries will present Talking Publicly with Maggie Anderson, a reading and discussion, on April 4 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library’s Milano Reading Room. This free event, part of a celebration of National Poetry Month, is open to the public.

Anderson is a West Virginia-based poet and author of five books of poems, most recently “Dear All” (2017).

Following Anderson’s reading and talk, Dr. Judith Stitzel, WVU Professor Emerita of English and founding director of the WVU Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, will moderate a discussion on the role of poetry in contemporary society.

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US Congress exhibit opens April 2

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 28th, 2018

Photograph of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressing a joint meeting of Congress, December 26, 1941, from the Senator Harley Martin Kilgore papers, WVRHC

The United States Congress is the branch of the federal government closest to the people, where representatives and their constituents most directly engage over the issues of the day. Yet many Americans view Congress with a mix of frustration, confusion, and disapproval.

To promote a better understanding of Congress, the West Virginia and Regional History Center at West Virginia University Libraries will open a new exhibit, “The People’s Branch: Exploring the U.S. Congress with Archives,” on April 2, in the Downtown Campus Library’s Rockefeller Gallery. It will remain on display through December 2018.

“The People’s Branch” uses archival materials to explore the basic functions of Congress and the importance of the institution in American democracy. It highlights the representative responsibilities of the body and the interactions between politicians and constituents. It encourages visitors to consider how Congress has evolved over time and how it continues to shape politics and public policy.

“With the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, the exhibit offers a chance to look at the legislative branch broadly and to reflect on how the institution has remained consistent, and changed, over time” said Danielle Emerling, WVRHC assistant curator and congressional and political papers archivist.

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Book dealer honors Forbes with massive book collection to WVU

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 21st, 2018

Harold Forbes, retired rare books curator, peruses a book dealer Jim Presgraves donated to WVU Libraries in honor of Forbes as library associate Autumn Summers and work study student Jamie Rood look on.

When Harold M. Forbes retired from West Virginia University as curator of Rare Books in 2013, bookseller Jim Presgraves wanted to pay a proper tribute to his colleague’s long career.

Rather than sending a card, Presgraves, approaching retirement himself, donated a large portion of his inventory at Bookworm and Silverfish Books in Rural Retreat, Virginia, to WVU Libraries in honor of the former Rare Books Curator. Library staff calculate the gift at more than 10,000 books, pamphlets, archives, maps and other materials with a value more than $500,000.

“WVU has been a very good customer over the years, and that was my reward,” said Presgraves, who secured books on West Virginia, Appalachia and other topics for Forbes.

As part of his donation, he requested the Libraries identify 100 books and add special bookplates recognizing Forbes. Rare Books Curator Stewart Plein, who worked with Forbes prior to his retirement, selected books she knew would interest him and invited Forbes back to the Rare Book Room in the West Virginia and Regional History Center to unveil the tribute.

“At first, I thought, ‘What a terrific selection’, and then I was stunned to see my name in the books,” Forbes said. “To receive something like this, something so substantial, it was exceptional. I felt truly honored.”

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Interview with Elaine Sheldon, Director of “Heroin(e)”

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
March 19th, 2018

As part of Women’s History Month, West Virginia University Libraries screened the Oscar nominated “Heroin(e)”, directed by Peabody Award-winning documentarian Elaine McMillion Sheldon alongside an exhibition photography of three West Virginia-based photographers.

West Virginia native and WVU alumna Sheldon (BSJ, 2009) thereafter discussed the Netflix Original Documentary short following three women fighting the opioid crisis in Huntington, as well as the work of the artists whose work is seen in “A Knowing Intimacy: A photography exhibit by West Virginia Women” on display in DCL Room 1020 through April 13.

Sheldon, the exhibit’s curator, explained that the name comes from the shared intimate quality among her work and the work of photographers Lisa Elmaleh, Rebecca Kiger and Meg Elizabeth Ward.

Before the event, Sheldon sat down with WVU Libraries’ Exhibits and Programs Coordinator Sally Deskins to discuss how growing up and living in West Virginia impacts her work as well as her time at WVU, making documentaries about her homeplace, her podcast She Does, curating this exhibit and much more. The interview was created using StoryCenter’s Listening Station and is archived with the StoryCenter.

Click here to learn more about the exhibit and artists.

“A Knowing Intimacy” is supported by the Libraries’ Arts in the Libraries program. For more information contact Sally Deskins, exhibits coordinator, sbdeskins@mail.wvu.edu.

Call for Art Created by Health Professionals at WVU

Posted by jetapia@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
March 13th, 2018

WVU Art in the Libraries, in collaboration with Health Sciences Center, is seeking visual artists in the health care field working at WVU and WVU Medicine to participate in a group exhibition to take place in the fall of 2018 in the WVU Health Sciences Library.

Through art, relationships of medical professionals and their patients and the impact thereof can come through, such as in Luke Fildes’ famous 1891 painting, The Doctor (below) or Thomas Eakins’ Gross Clinic (1875).  Too, artwork can prove a fun hobby, personal release or second creative profession for those in such a scientific, sociable profession as health, like mid twentieth century illustrator Frank Netter or the contemporary painter Lissa Rankin (Both Sides Now painting, below), who retired as OBGYN to make art.

tan and white with wide strip down center and hourglass and colorful dots.

Both Sides Now by Lissa Rankin

Man watching young girl sleeping on chairs with man in background

The Doctor by Luke Fildes

We want to know what WVU health professionals are making visual art!

Any part or full time staff or faculty, may submit any media, ready-to-display, work of any theme for this exhibition.  We’re interested in all types of work addressing contemporary issues or concerns, health or medical issues or concerns, or completely abstract artwork.  You do not need to be an “established” artist! We are looking for health professionals who create artwork, any level or media will be considered.

The facilities include limited wall space and display cases in the Health Sciences Library, on the 2nd floor of the Health Sciences Center of West Virginia University. There is ample natural and artificial overhead lighting. Traffic includes medical undergraduate, graduate students, faculty and other professionals in the health and medical field as well as prominent campus visitors and others using the library facilities. Artists are encouraged to visit the space before submitting.

Artists are responsible for transporting artwork to and from the Library if their work is accepted.  Libraries hold the University insurance if loan form is filled out and signed, though security is limited to the access services staff of the Library during open hours.

To participate: Contact WVU Libraries Exhibits Coordinator, Sally Deskins, sbdeskins@mail.wvu.edu, 304.293.0369, feel free to send images, ideas, websites, etc. by May 31, 2018.

About: Art in the Libraries develops exhibits and related programs in the Downtown Campus Library, Evansdale Library, and Health Sciences Library, highlighting the creative endeavors and scholarship of WVU faculty, staff, and students, reaching across the University, the region, and the broader academic community. This program demonstrates how art, libraries and scholars encourage the community to explore, reflect, and discuss what they encounter in the WVU Libraries which seeks to embody the mission of West Virginia University by excelling in discovery and innovation, modeling cultural diversity and inclusion, promoting vitality and building pathways for the exchange of knowledge and opportunity. Exhibits.lib.wvu.edu

Be an Advocate for Change

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 7th, 2018

As part of Open Education Week (March 5-9), West Virginia University Libraries, faculty and students are focusing on the high cost of textbooks.

Since 1978, the cost of college textbooks as risen 812 percent, a rate faster than medical services (575 percent), new home prices (325 percent) and the consumer price index (250 percent), according to statistics from the American Enterprise Institute.

The rising cost of textbooks can not only affect a student’s bank account, but their grades as well. The Florida Virtual Campus, formerly the Florida Distance Learning Consortium, has been studying the effect of rising textbooks costs on students’ purchasing decisions, their academic success, and their awareness of Open Education Resource (OER) options.

Their 2016 study found that the cost of textbooks continue to be a negative influence on students’ grades and success.

2016 Florida Student Textbook & Course Materials Survey chart

Florida Virtual Campus. (2016). 2016 Florida Student Textbook & Course Materials Survey. Tallahassee, FL.

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Libraries to host exhibit and Heroin(e) screening for Women’s History Month

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 27th, 2018

 

Elaine McMillion Sheldon

As part of Women’s History Month, West Virginia University Libraries will showcase the work of Peabody Award-winning documentarian Elaine McMillion Sheldon and three other West Virginia-based photographers.

West Virginia native and WVU alumna Sheldon (BSJ, 2009) will screen her most recent film, the Oscar-nominated “Heroin(e)”, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library, Room 104. The Netflix Original Documentary short follows three women fighting the opioid crisis in Huntington.

It will be followed by a reception and panel discussion to include the artists whose work can be seen in “A Knowing Intimacy: A photography exhibit by West Virginia Women” on display in DCL Room 1020 March 8-April 13.

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