The speaker is Sarah LeMire, the First-Year Experience librarian at Texas A&M University and the co-author of Serving Those Who Served: Librarian’s Guide to Working with Veteran and Military Families. Before becoming a librarian, LeMire served in the U.S. Army as an Arabic linguist including a deployment to Iraq in 2005-2006.
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November 7th, 2017
WVU Libraries was pleased to host Women of Appalachia: Spoken Word, September 30, 2017 in the Milano Reading Room of the Downtown Campus Library. The curated event that travels around the region featuring some 30 women artists, included several West Virginia artists. Multidisciplinary Studies Professor Renée K. Nicholson was one such West Virginia artist who read at the event, and she graciously provided a short reflection for the Libraries’ blog, below. If you missed the live event, we have links to the Youtube records included as well.
On a crisp, early October Sunday afternoon, I made my way to WVU’s Downtown Library, climbing the spiral stairs and making my way to the Milano Reading Room for the first of the Women of Appalachia readings for 2017-2018. The sun slanted in the windows, filling the room with natural light, as people milled around the refreshments set out for the occasion. Though this was my first time reading as part of the series, the project has enjoyed many years of women writers and artists from all around Appalachia.
Some familiar faces were in the room. Cheryl Denise, a poet from Phillipi, WV is someone I’ve known for years and whose work in poetry both tells a story and celebrates language. Anna Smucker was another poet, whose work on many acclaimed children’s books is well known in West Virginia and beyond. Kari Gunter-Seymour Peterson, a writer I had met before, had worked tirelessly to assemble this group after a professional vetting process, and also read as part of the event. There were also many writers whose work I didn’t know, and so it made for a delightful treat to learn of the work they did.
One of the goals of the project is to challenge the stereotype of “Appalachian Woman.” With so many different voices, not just from West Virginia, but Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina and beyond, and with a mix of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, the range alone challenged the idea of single Appalachian Woman. Instead we stitched together in worlds a quilt of language and lived experience that was beautiful more for the ways it kept pattern at bay than for the way it conformed. Listening to others felt like the true reward of the day.
Place defines people, and an event like the Women of Appalachia gathering presented the idea of place as a rooting one. Roots support and nourish, and clearly the work of the assembled readers showed how Appalachia sustained the writing shared. Outside the autumn sun illuminated trees that would soon burst forth into garnet and persimmon and golds, all the glory of autumn and inside, the vibrancy of the words were already in full view. In the patter of after-reading conversation, once again I felt reminded of what place and poetry can do—create community.
Renée K. Nicholson, MFA
Assistant Professor, Programs for Multi and Interdisciplinary Studies, West Virginia University
Assistant Director, West Virginia Writers’ Workshop
Author of Roundabout Directions to Lincoln Center
Co-editor, Bodies of Truth: Narratives of Illness, Disability & Medicine (Nebraska UP, 2019)
A project exploring stereotypes and mass incarcerations will bring journalist Sylvia Ryerson to campus November 15 for multiple class visits and a public presentation in the Downtown Campus Library’s Milano Reading Room at 6 p.m.
Ryerson’s presentation, “Public Airwaves through Prison Walls: Restoring Connection in the Era of Mass Incarceration,” will complement the visual perspective of The Divide, WVU Multimedia Producer and photojournalist Raymond Thompson’s exhibit of photographs on display in the Downtown Campus Library Atrium. Ryerson partnered with Thompson to document a 2015 trip by Virginian families as they drove together in a van from urban centers to rural Appalachian prisons to visit incarcerated loved-ones.
“ ‘Restoring Connections’ showcases how art, journalism, and activism intersect to highlight topics of academic interest that have a direct impact on society; exactly the programming we are aiming to host in the libraries,” said Karen Diaz, interim dean of WVU Libraries. “Raymond’s photographs have been surrounding library users for months, bringing an awareness of the families impacted by incarceration. This program will fill out those photos with the stories of those affected and give us all a new perspective on the impacts of mass incarceration in our country. These sorts of conversations are essential to helping us shape the thoughtful democratic society we wish to create for ourselves.”
Events kick off Monday, Oct. 30, at noon with a presentation by Jaime Banks, professor of Communication Studies, and Ph.D. student Joe Wasserman, titled “Real Representations and Liminal Lessons: Considerations for Games in Learning” in Room 104.
Monday through Saturday, Oct. 30-Nov. 4 – Take a break from work or study to play arcade games provided by local Star Port Arcade and Pub in Room 1036.
Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 11 a.m. in Room 104 – A panel of WVU instructors (Banks; Mark Benincosa, School of Music; Dr. Bob Britten, Reed College of Media; and Dr. Brian Ballentine, Professional Writing and Editing) will discuss how they use games and gamification in their teaching and research. Librarian Jing Qiu will facilitate. Following the panel, instructors are invited to participate in a noon workshop on gamifying lesson plans featuring lunch provided by Lotsa Motsa.
Thursday, Nov. 2, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., in Room 2036 – Cartridges Galore Video Games will provide an on-site open gaming station for users to play with for free.
Saturday, Nov. 4, from 2 p.m.-7 p.m. – Family Day offers a casual community game extravaganza that includes lessons for beginners for all kinds of games, giveaways, competitive tournaments, open play, live WVU Jeopardy and an appearance by real Jeopardy star and Morgantown resident Leigh Limerick. College of Creative Arts Professor Jeffrey Moser’s game design class will display Breakout Storytelling. Four Horsemen Comics and Games and Star Port Arcade is giving out free prizes. Visitors can learn and play Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, board games and more.
Attendees are encouraged to use social media and tag #wvulibraries or #wvugamesweek to celebrate the fun.
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, Libraries Exhibits and Programs Coordinator, email@example.com or Beth Toren, Interdisciplinary, Cultural and Film Studies Librarian/Games Week coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
WVU Libraries will host a discussion on Appalachian photography and identity on Friday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m.-noon in the Downtown Campus Library’s Milano Reading Room.
The program will begin with short presentations exploring different ways of representation and discuss intersectionality with regard to identities exuded in photos of the people and places of Appalachia. Intersectionality reflects the idea that multiple identities intersect to create a whole and proposes that an individual’s personal character traits are intimately linked and therefore inform one’s complete identity.
In the 80’s the crisis was access to information; in the 90’s, it was about the digital divide; in the 2000’s, the challenge became information glut; and now in the 2010’s, we are experiencing the latest round of information challenges – rampant disinformation. Assertions of fake news, Russian intervention in our social media streams, and confirmation-biased streams of information all lead to a crisis of belief in information itself.
One institution rarely mentioned in reports and calls for action to managing information crises are libraries. And yet, libraries have a long view of information flow and are in the thick of each challenge that arises. The current challenge is no different, and WVU Libraries is among those answering the call.
WVU Libraries not only supplies proprietary information to the campus, our bedrock curriculum is information literacy, a term difficult to define, but exactly what is needed in times of information crisis. Librarians are here, not only to help students learn how to use the library, but also how to think about their own thinking so that they become more literate information users.
Wallace, a Wheeling-based artist, shares self-portraits and other artwork she has painted throughout her experience in and out of hospitals as a patient with cancer as she has become “more aware of my new body, my cancer body.”
Wallace’s bright and intimate portraits are coupled with narratives written by her as well as those around her who have been moved by her courage and stamina including members of her healthcare team and others. As an act of story, art and healthcare, Bodies of Truth illuminates a full circle view of Wallace as a strong patient, artist, mother, community member and human being.
In recognition of this Special Day of Concern, the event will be recorded for those unable to attend.
According to the founder, Kari Gunter-Seymour Peterson, 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.
Among the performers are West Virginians Beverly Hart Bisbee, Odana Chaney, Cheryl Denise, Renée K. Nicholson, Lisa M. Pursley, Susan Truxell Sauter, Susan Sheppard, Anna Egan Smucker, Natalie Sypolt (MFA, WVU, 2005) and Sherrell Wigal.
Nicholson, Assistant Professor of Multidisciplinary Studies, is among the presenters. Said Nicholson:
“My father grew up in Vienna, and as a child we came to West Virginia for holidays and other family events, so West Virginia became synonymous with family and part of my identity, even when I lived in large cities, in the Midwest and in the South. After moving back to West Virginia to study creative writing, I have found profound meaning working with patients with cancer through a project at the WVU Cancer Institute. The people I work with, most from West Virginia and surrounding Appalachian states, share their life stories with me. They have inspired me to write more of my own experiences from West Virginia as subject for poems.”
Doors open at 12:30 p.m. The presentation is free to the public though donations in support of WOAP will be accepted at the door. There will be a short reception immediately following the performance. Refreshments will be served.
Guests will also have the opportunity to view Looking at Appalachia: Selected Images from 2014-2016 a newly installed exhibit of photographs from contemporary Appalachian amateur and professional photographers currently on display at the DCL.
WVRHC Curator and Assistant Director Lori Hostuttler will highlight the archival materials documenting graduates Jack Hodge (first bachelor degree, 1954), Annette Chandler Broome (first female bachelor’s degree, 1957), Victorine Louistall Monroe (first master’s degree) and John Reuben Sheeler (first PhD.) who are part of the current exhibit Flowing Outward and Beyond: WVU 1867-2017.
In 1957, Annette Broome (on the right) became the first known African-American woman to receive an undergraduate degree from WVU. She was the granddaughter of John Hunt. (L to R: Ruth Barnett, Lennie Wiley and Annette Chandler Broome)
“Unseen, Unknown: An Augmented Reality Exhibit Exploring WV Sights & Stories gives new voice to these unknown figures by blending history and emerging media, and I’m thrilled to host such an innovative and collaborative exhibit at the Libraries,” said Sally Deskins, exhibits and program coordinator for the Libraries.
The exhibit opens October 1 on the second floor of the Downtown Campus Library and will remain on display through December.
West Virginia UniversityLibraries invites the campus community and the public to a screening and panel discussion of the West Virginia Public Broadcasting documentary “Vietnam: West Virginians Remember” at the Mountainlair’s Gluck Theatre on September 27 at 4 p.m. The Libraries welcomes all interested attendees and hopes many student veterans and campus veteran advocates will join us for this program.
A panel discussion will follow the film and feature WVPB Executive Producer Suzanne Higgins and WVU Associate Professor of History James Siekmeier. WVU Reed College of Media Shott Chair of Journalism and Assistant Professor Lois Raimondo will moderate the discussion.
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September 13th, 2017
The Morgantown Arts Walk is making it cool to hang out at the library on a Friday night. The Downtown Campus Library will be an event stop Friday, September 22, from 4-6 p.m.
“We are excited to be part the Morgantown Arts Walk for the first time this year. We hope the community will enjoy a conversation with Looking at Appalachia Director Roger May and interacting with exhibit which provides an intimate look into everyday life in Appalachia,” said Karen Diaz, interim dean of Libraries.
Looking at Appalachia, a juried collection of images by amateur and professional photographers currently on display at the Downtown Campus Library, is moving to its second phase with 20 new images.
Looking at Appalachia Director Roger May began his crowd-sourced project in 2014 to mark the 50th anniversary of Johnson’s Poverty Tour, which was heavily covered by the media and generated several images that came to define the region. May, a West Virginia-native, chose open submissions to professional and amateur photographers to chronicle life in the 13-state region in hopes of broadening the contemporary definitions of the region and its people.
The exhibit opened in June of 2016 with 73 selections lining the walls of the DCL’s first floor. Some of the images provoked controversy, which May said was intended to start a conversation. This new exhibit Looking at Appalachia: Selected Images from 2014-16, features 20 new images from 2015-16 alongside 20 images from the original exhibition of photographs from 2014, presenting the project in a new, more concentrated light that has never been done.
The Panolian and a hat on the dashboard of Alice Pierotti’s truck in the cotton fields of Panola County, Mississippi photographed on 8/29/15.
Photo by Pat Jarrett
“The Looking at Appalachia project is a fascinating constellation of images and artists connected by geography and a shared impulse to record the unique qualities of the region,” said Michael Sherwin, CCA professor of photography and Looking at Appalachia contributor.
May will be present to chat with the crowd during the event. Also on hand will be Raymond Thompson, a photographer on the curatorial committee of Looking at Appalachia, and whose The Divide exhibit is on display in the Downtown Campus Library Atrium. Refreshments will be generously provided by Tin 202.
Later in the semester, as part of WVU’s Diversity Week, the Libraries will host a community wide discussion on Appalachian representation in photography on October 13 at 10 a.m. in the Milano Reading Room. Also in the works for next spring is a Looking at Morgantown exhibit.
The exhibits and events are coordinated by the Art in the Libraries Committee. Looking at Appalachia: Curated Images from 2014-16, will be on display through June 2018. For more information on the Art in the Libraries program visit exhibits.lib.wvu.edu.
An exhibit currently on display at the Evansdale Library highlights the history of the packaging of U.S. agricultural commodity products in textile bags, especially dress print cotton bags known as feedsacks.
“All over America, including West Virginia and Appalachia, feedsacks were used during the Great Depression through the 1950s to make clothes and other household items,” said Anna M. Schein, associate curator, West Virginia and Regional History Center. “According to published research, by 1942 an estimated three million women and children of all income levels were wearing printed feedsack garments.”
The award is the Libraries’ fourth NEH grant as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program. The collaboration between the NEH and the Library of Congress enlists libraries and institutions from around the country to create a digital database of historical United States newspapers.
“We are honored that the NEH recognizes the tremendous value of the historical newspapers archived in the WVRHC,” WVRHC Director John Cuthbert said. “We are thrilled to make more of these resources accessible to the world.
The installation consists of 10 printed photographs as well as an interactive tablet so visitors may see additional photos and learn more about the project created by Raymond Thompson, a multimedia producer for WVU Magazine. A participatory element allows visitors to comment about the impact of the exhibit and share their own experiences.
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August 7th, 2017
Inspired by the realism and symmetry of the Renaissance and other times, award-winning West Virginia University senior Patrick Bayly’s paintings are in a style that is uniquely American. Bayly’s work “New American Paintings” will be on display at Evansdale Library in August.
Stimeling will be joined by former student Dizzandra Linger (BA, 2017), who will present her research on Melvin Wine (1909-2003), a Mountain State fiddler and folk music educator. Linger’s research looks at the impact of the environment of Wine’s performances. The reading will be held in the Downtown Campus Library’s Milano Room, which houses the Appalachian Collection and displays Wine’s portrait.
West Virginia University’s associate dean of Libraries, Karen Diaz, has been appointed interim dean of Libraries effective July 31. Diaz steps into the role following the departure of Dean Jon Cawthorne, who left for a position at Wayne State University.
“Having been a professional librarian in higher education for 30 years, Karen obviously has tremendous experience,” said Provost Joyce McConnell. “She also has a clear understanding of how university libraries like ours need to redefine their role and the nature of their collections in the 21st century. I know that under her leadership, our talented library staff will flourish and our libraries will grow as extraordinary campus resources.”
The CESTA 2017 teams includes WVU students Trevor Brison, engineering; Cornelius Hugo, sculpture; and Umida Nurjanova, computer science; Owen Phillips, chemistry, Georgetown University; Eric Schreiber, chemistry, The College of New Jersey; and Bridget Stamp, sculpture, Kent State University.
In this debut video-blog of the WVU Libraries’ new series, Checking Out!, West Virginia and Regional History Center Assistant Director Lori Hostuttler shares about the significance of the monumental exhibit, Flowing Outward and Beyond: West Virginia University, 1867-2017, celebrating WVU’s 150th Birthday opening Tuesday, June 20th and one of her favorite objects featured in it…