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May 16: Leah Benedict to Receive WSU Libraries’ Excellence Award

Leah Benedict will receive the 2018 WSU Libraries’ Excellence Award during a 10 a.m. reception Wednesday, May 16, in the Terrell Library Atrium.

WSU clinical assistant professor of English Leah Benedict

Benedict is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of English. The award recognizes a non-library faculty or staff member who has shown consistent support for the WSU Libraries.

Library faculty who recommended Benedict for the honor cite her dedication to introducing students to the many facets of library research beyond finding and evaluating resources. Reference and Instruction Librarian Erin Hvizdak said Benedict creates assignments for her students to look more deeply at the constructed nature of knowledge and information.

“For example, Leah brings her English 298 students into the library each semester to learn about microforms and their impact on information production and culture,” Hvizdak said. “She asks her students to consider their feelings when using the machines, provide observations about the physicality of the format and even describe the smell of the film and the room.

“This holistic approach to information seeking that draws on all of the senses asks students to think critically and creatively, contributing to a much richer understanding of library research, which will serve them greatly as they move through their time at the university and beyond,” she said.

‘Engaging her students’ natural curiosity’

Manuscripts Librarian Cheryl Gunselman said Benedict understands the transformational potential in bringing students together with challenging sources. She includes assignments based on historic primary sources in Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections into her Honors 290 and English 298 courses.

“These students work with a wide array of special collections items, from 18th-century travel narratives to 20th-century promotional brochures for consumer technologies such as appliances,” Gunselman said. “She recognizes the power of engaging her students’ natural curiosity to elevate their academic work, even at an early stage in their undergraduate experience, and invests the energy and time required to support them and encourage them to think of themselves as true researchers.”

Exploring topics ‘across time and geographic space’

Instruction and Assessment Librarian Corey Johnson said he has been impressed with Benedict’s organization and the high value she places on getting the most out of library sessions, both for herself and her students.

“Leah is an excellent candidate for this award because she has high expectations for student research,” Johnson said. “She has her students start the research process by selecting seemingly simple topics. For example, students pick a recipe or some kind of human tool. Then they fan out from there in a variety of directions.

“She challenges students to explore their topics across time and geographic space,” Johnson added. “They look into the political, social, economic and cultural aspects of their topics. The library sessions flow from this approach with, for example, one day focusing on government documents and the next on examining patents and standards.”

A model in her own right

Her students’ future research endeavors aside, Benedict is also a prolific patron of the WSU Libraries. She has checked out scholarly material on philosophies of science and the literature and culture of the 18th century as part of her work studying sexual impotence during this time period.

“I’ve been looking through transcripts of impotency trials, and the library has been kind enough to order some of the more recent scholarship on anatomy and sexuality I’ve asked for, like Sperm Counts: Overcome by Man’s Most Precious Fluid and others in similar vein,” Benedict said. “This kind of research takes me into all kinds of weird cultural areas that I would never have imagined how bizarre and wonderful they would be.

“A love of libraries and a love of discovery, they come from the same place,” she added.

—Story by Nella Letizia

Weeklong Digital Scholarship Symposium Runs Through May 18

WSU and University of Idaho are co-hosting the inaugural Palouse Digital Scholarship Symposium through May 18 on both campuses. It is sponsored by WSU’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation and UI’s Center for Digital Inquiry and Learning.

The symposium will explore a broad variety of tools, techniques and ideas informing the digital scholarship field, including the following sessions:

  • From Physical to Digital: Data and Digitization
  • Archives and Collections: Access and Ethics
  • Web Publishing and Literacy
  • Digital Scholarship: Text and Data Analysis
  • Digital Pedagogy and Summer Fellows Pitch Presentations

Summer fellows participating in the symposium are:

  • Andrew Gillreath-Brown, WSU anthropology doctoral student
  • Elle Fournier, WSU English doctoral candidate
  • Raymond Sun, WSU associate professor of history
  • Renae Campbell, UI historical archaeology doctoral candidate
  • Sarah Nelson, UI associate professor of modern languages and culture
  • Zackary Turpin, UI assistant professor of English

For more information, visit

Celebrate National Poetry Month with Monthlong Activities in April

WSU Libraries is sponsoring three weeklong activities in April to celebrate all forms of poetry, as part of National Poetry Month.

Spine poem by Lorena O’English, WSU Libraries social sciences librarian.

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture, according to the website.

“We want to celebrate poetry as literature and art, and also inspire students to interact with poetry and our libraries in a fun, creative way,” said Lorena O’English, WSU Libraries social sciences librarian.

Activities, to be set up in Terrell Library’s New Books Room, include the following:

  • April 10-15 – “Spine Poetry.” Spine poems are photographs of poems created from book titles on the spines of a small stack of books. O’English encourages visitors to hunt for titles in the library book stacks or their own bookshelves, build their poem, take a picture and send it to her by email ( or Twitter (@WSULibraries).
  • April 17-21 – “Dada Poetry.” The Dada or Dadaist poem sprang from the European avant-garde art movement of the early 20th century, embracing all things nonsensical, experimental and surreal. Kits will be available for people to create their own Dada poems and post them on a display board. Email or tweet Dada poems to O’English, and she will print and display them.
  • April 24-28 – “Poem in Your Pocket.” Visitors can pick up poems to take home or share them with others. O’English suggests taking two poems for your pocket and that of a friend; posting a poem on Twitter (#pocketpoem); writing or photocopying a poem and leaving copies anonymously all over campus; and leaving a copy of your favorite poem in the dullest book you can find as a treat for the next reader.

Displays of all poems will stay up in Terrell throughout April. For more ways to celebrate National Poetry Month, visit

Register by March 31 for April 7 Edible Book Festival

Play with your food and your words during WSU Libraries’ second annual Edible Book Festival on Friday, April 7, part of WSU Mom’s Weekend activities.


Registration for entries closes March 31; to register, visit the library guide at Participants can register individually or as a group.

Edible book festivals take place around the country and world to celebrate books, art, food and culture. Entry rules are simple: Submissions must be made from edible materials and somehow relate to a book.

“We really hope that people will take inspiration from a favorite book or author and run with it,” said organizer and instruction librarian Erica England. “Last year’s festival drew more than 100 people who voted for their favorite entry, including many WSU moms with their students. We’d like to see this become a popular Cougar tradition as well as a celebration of literature.”

Celebrity judges tied to WSU, community

WSU’s festival begins with public viewing and judging at 2:30 p.m. in the Terrell Library atrium, with winners announced at 3:30. Refreshments will be available.

“Celebrity judges” for the event will be Anna Maria Shannon, associate director of the WSU Museum of Art; Jamie Kohler, executive chef for WSU Dining Services’ university catering unit; Joanna Bailey, director of Pullman’s Neill Public Library; and Sarah Frame English, a WSU alumna, donor and librarian with the Libraries of Stevens County (Wash.).

Awards will be given for people’s choice, best visual presentation and punniest/funniest.

Last year’s winners

The literary-culinary celebrations got their start with the first International Edible Book Festival ( on April 1, 2000. Since then, organizations and universities have served up their own versions, including Loganberry Books and Strong Bindery in Shaker Heights, Ohio; Seattle Edible Book Festival; University of Florida Libraries; and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library.

WSU Libraries held its first festival last year, and entries did not disappoint. Winners were:

  • Best Visual Presentation: Trevor Bond, Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections, for “Proust’s Madeleines”
  • Most Appetizing: Chelsea Leachman, Owen Science and Engineering Library, for “Buttons for Corduroy”
  • Punniest/Funniest: Erica Nicol, Terrell Library, for “Berry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Scone”
  • People’s Choice: Holly Campbell, Office of Student Conduct, for “Frank-in-Stein”

March 28: Celebrate WSU Authors at Crimson Reads


The published works of WSU authors will be recognized at the fourth annual “Crimson Reads: A Celebration of WSU Authors,” at 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, in the Terrell Library atrium. Crimson Reads is part of WSU Showcase, the annual celebration of faculty, staff and student excellence.

“Crimson Reads publicly acknowledges and honors our faculty, students, staff, alumni and retired university community members who have authored, co-authored or edited a book, including e-books, within the past year,” said Chelsea Leachman, co-organizer and science and instruction librarian at Owen Science and Engineering Library. “The event is an opportunity to create a greater awareness of the diverse publishing activity and achievements of WSU authors.”

Refreshments will be offered during a reception open to the public. A panel of four authors will discuss the theme of “Behind the Scenes: Publishing and Writing.”

For more about Crimson Reads, including the full book list, visit Learn more about Showcase at

More about the panelists:

  • Buddy Levy, Department of English, author of “No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon.” Clinical professor Levy co-wrote the memoir with blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, who kayaked all 277 miles of the Grand Canyon solo in 2014. Weihenmayer is the only blind man to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
  • Suzanne Kurtz, College of Veterinary Medicine, author of “Skills for Communicating in Veterinary Medicine.” Kurtz, a clinical professor and director of clinical communication, co-wrote the handbook with University of Calgary’s Cindy Adams to improve clinical outcomes through better communication with clients and colleagues.
  • Clif Stratton, Department of History, author of “Education for Empire: American Schools, Race and the Paths of Good Citizenship.” Stratton, clinical assistant faculty and assistant director of the Roots of Contemporary Issues Program, wrote this exploration of how imperialism affects public education by using case studies from around the country.
  • Rani Iyer, College of Education, author of “Green Transport: Exploring Ecofriendly Options for a Better Tomorrow” and “Dancing Heart: An Indian Classical Dance Recital.” In “Green Transport,” Iyer explores alternative ways of travel and transport that cause minimal harm to the environment, use less fuel and reduce congestion. In “Dancing Heart,” she offers the experience of a dance recital in the style of Bharathanatyam, one of the oldest dance forms of India.

‘Pioneering Women at WSU’ Exhibit Opens in MASC

Before 1900, women were denied entrance to many eastern colleges; but in the West, with fewer people, many colleges were coeducational. This included the small, land-grant Washington Agricultural College and School of Science, today’s WSU.

Ida Louise Anderson, one of the individuals highlighted in a MASC exhibit on pioneering women at WSU. Anderson was a mentor to famous WSU alum Edward R. Murrow.

A new exhibit, “Ambitions and Intellect: Pioneering Women at WSU,” will explore the stories of early women contributors at the fledgling college. It will run through June in Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections in the Terrell Library. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. An opening reception will be 3-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, in the MASC lobby.

Timed to Women’s History Month (March) and WSU’s common reading book, “I Am Malala,” about women’s education in Pakistan, the exhibit highlights women’s determination to get an education and make their mark in society.

“Countless contributions and achievements of women are absent from our historical memory,” said Lipi Turner-Rahman, exhibit curator and WSU Libraries’ Kimble database coordinator. “The 1862 Morrill Act (land-grant college act) helped remove educational barriers for women in Washington state at a time when most women were not encouraged to go to college.”

Those familiar with WSU history will recognize the names and accomplishments of several of the university’s women of distinction, including:

  • Mable Rosella Adams. A member of the local Largent family, she was the first female civil engineer to graduate from Washington State College in 1928. She went to graduate school at WSC and earned a master’s degree in chemistry. A homemaker after her marriage to Arthur Smith, she returned to engineering during World War II when she worked for Boeing.
  • Josephine Hoeppner Woods. Born to German immigrants, she was the first woman to earn a graduate degree from WSC in 1908. She started in the School of Pharmacy in 1898, graduating in 1899. She graduated in chemistry in 1903 before moving on to graduate work in modern languages.
  • Ida Louise Anderson. After graduating from WSC with a degree in speech, she became a beloved professor at her alma mater, mentoring hundreds of students in broadcasting, including famed alumnus Edward R. Murrow. She struggled all her life from debilitating pain after contracting polio as a child and was forced to retire early from WSC, dying at the age of 41.
  • Neva Martin Abelson. A 1934 WSC graduate in chemistry, she overcame several obstacles to pursue higher education, including early opposition from her father. She was one of eight women to earn a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1942 and, with Dr. Louis K. Diamond, went on to develop the Rhesus factor test for newborns.
  • Gladys Edna Cooper Kidd Jennings. She was the first African American woman and person of color to earn a master’s degree from WSC in 1948. After receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, teaching and chairing at several universities and serving as a hospital dietitian, she returned to teach at WSU in 1966. She was instrumental in many multicultural student programs and equity and diversity initiatives.

April 13: Journal Cancellation Discussion Planned

Join Joel Cummings, head of library collections, in a discussion of the practical challenges the WSU Libraries face providing access to research journals on Thursday, April 13, from 2-3 p.m. in Terrell Library 20E in Pullman; SAC 515 in Spokane; TWST 209 in Tri-Cities; and VLIB 160B in Vancouver.

The discussion will include information about recent and future journal cancellations, journal packages, price inflation and options for the future. Also covered will be some of the challenges libraries face with academia’s current financial model of journal publishing.

For details, contact Cummings at

March 6: Faculty Workshop on Open Textbook Library

A free workshop about the Open Textbook Library and use of open educational resources (OERs) will be presented for the WSU community from 9-10:30 a.m. Monday, March 6, in the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation on the fourth floor of Holland Library.


Moderated by David Ernst, University of Minnesota, and Merinda McLure, Colorado State University, the interactive workshop is sponsored by WSU Libraries. It will cover how librarians and instructional designers can support faculty who are exploring or interested in adopting open textbooks. Topics will include:

  • How issues of affordability can impact student academic success
  • Open textbooks as a solution to affordability issues
  • Identifying faculty barriers to adoption of open textbooks and how to help overcome those barriers
  • Supporting faculty adoptions of open textbooks, including an introduction to the Open Textbook Library
  • Ways open textbooks can advance other open initiatives on campus

Ernst is director of the Center for Open Education at UM and executive director of the Open Textbook Network, a community of more than 350 higher education institutions supporting faculty members who wish to use OERs in the classroom. McLure is CSU’s OER and health and human sciences librarian.

For more information about the Open Textbook Library, visit To learn more about OERs at WSU, see the library guide at

Feb. 9: Grand Opening for Terrell Library’s New Study Lounge


The grand opening of the new Palouse Study Lounge in Terrell Library will be 3-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, on the atrium ground floor. Refreshments will be served.

“Studies have shown that student success is closely linked to the amount of time spent in libraries,” said Jay Starratt, dean of WSU Libraries. “We are consistently working to enhance the student experience by expanding the libraries’ physical spaces, and this new study space is one of our more ambitious projects.”

Located in the area formerly used for media, materials and reserves, the lounge has up-to-date technology access, private rooms with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and movable, comfortable furniture. The lounge features mural images by local photographer Alison Meyer of the region’s rolling hills, wheat fields and Palouse Falls.

Private room reservations will be available later in February. To book a room, visit

Jan. 24: Keeping Up with (Fake) News


How and why people get news, how to keep up with current events and how to think critically about news will be discussed by WSU librarian Lorena O’English at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, in the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education, Room 203 – a free, public presentation of the WSU Common Reading Program.

“We live in an exciting and event-filled world, but it can be hard to keep up with what is going on internationally,” said O’English. “This talk will provide strategies for staying current with big world events.”

For more information about the Common Reading Program, visit

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