In 1847, Presbyterian missionary Henry Spalding acquired handmade Nez Perce artifacts and sent them from north-central Idaho to his friend and supporter, Dudley Allen, in Ohio in exchange for commodities. This was the fate of many early Native American materials, to be appropriated by non-Natives and removed from the hands and lands that created them. The shirts, dresses, baskets, horse regalia, and more—called the Spalding-Allen Collection—would not return to their rightful home until they were purchased by the tribe from the Ohio Historical Society in 1996 for $608,100.
This month, the Nez Perce Tribe will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the collection’s return with a June 26 renaming celebration and other events, including a June 19 panel discussion and book signing with Washington State University Libraries’ Trevor Bond. The renaming, panel discussion, and book signing will take place at the Nez Perce National Historical Park in Spalding, Idaho. For the full list of activities and video presentations, visit the tribe’s website.
Bond’s book, “Coming Home to Nez Perce Country: The Niimiipuu Campaign to Repatriate Their Exploited Heritage,” published this month by WSU Press, follows the collection’s journey and how the Nez Perce Tribe reclaimed their artifacts through interviews with Nez Perce experts and extensive archival research.
Following Allen’s death, his son donated the collection to Oberlin College in 1893. Oberlin College in turn loaned most, but not all, of the artifacts to the Ohio Historical Society in 1942. The Nez Perce items were mostly kept in storage until Nez Perce National Historical Park curators rediscovered them in 1976. After negotiations with OHS, the park borrowed the collection until 1993, when the historical society notified park curators that the items must be permanently returned.
In late 1995, amid public pressure and more negotiations, OHS agreed to sell the collection to the Nez Perce at its full appraised value of $608,100 and gave the tribe six months to pay. The Nez Perce Heritage Quest Alliance mounted a brilliant grassroots fundraising campaign, according to Bond. One day before the deadline, the tribe met its goal.
Bond’s book also examines the ethics of acquiring, bartering, owning, and selling Native cultural history, as Native American, First Nation, and Indigenous communities continue their efforts to restore their exploited cultural heritage from collectors and museums.
“This is a tale of survivance, the resilience and enduring presence of the Nez Perce people to advocate for justice and the repatriation of their cultural heritage,” Bond wrote. “It is also an example of the contested ownership of a collection by an institution, the Ohio Historical Society, of the material culture of a far distant people, the Nez Perce. However, in this case, the American public sided with the Nez Perce and their supporters. Their success drew upon a close collaboration with the National Park Service, persuasion, and a sophisticated media campaign. In the end, the Nez Perce Tribe repatriated the earliest documented collection of artifacts of their people and the largest and best documented surviving collection of Plateau material culture.”
More about the book can be found at the WSU Press website. Bond, associate dean of digital initiatives and special collections at the WSU Libraries, is also director of the Center for Arts and Humanities and co‑director of the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation.
Trevor Bond has been named director of Washington State University’s Center for Arts and Humanities, taking over from founding director Todd Butler, now dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Bond is joined by the School of Music’s Keri McCarthy, who will serve as the center’s associate director. Toria Messinger will continue for a third year as the center’s graduate assistant.
Bond, associate dean of digital initiatives and special collections for the WSU Libraries, and McCarthy were selected for their compelling—and complementary—plans for the center, Butler said.
“Together they envision a center that is increasingly visible and accessible to communities across the state and that deepens its support to not only faculty but also graduate and undergraduate students,” he added. “That vision is precisely what a land-grant center such as WSU’s is designed to pursue.”
“We are excited to build upon the solid foundation established by Dean Butler,” Bond said. “Our vision is to expand the impact of the center by supporting and highlighting the creative and performing arts, research, and public engagement of WSU faculty. We plan to increase opportunities for WSU students and alumni to engage with the center and are looking forward to collaborating with partners across campus, the community, and beyond.”
Bond has worked on grants funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Park Service, National Endowment for the Humanities, Andrew Mellon Foundation, and American Council of Learned Societies. He received the Washington State Historical Society’s 2018 Charles Gates Memorial Award for his article “Documenting Missionaries and Indians: The Archive of Myron Eells.” He also received the 2011 Eric Bell Learning Communities Excellence Award and the 2014 Student Entertainment Board Arts Excellence Award at WSU.
McCarthy is professor of oboe and music history at WSU and has cultivated an international reputation as a chamber musician, soloist, teacher, and clinician. Active as a performer and researcher throughout Southeast Asia, she is a co-founder of the Pan Pacific Ensemble, a chamber ensemble committed to performing and commissioning music of contemporary composers from Asia and the United States.
In 2013 McCarthy founded the Light through Music project with bassoonist Michael Garza, bringing double reed instruments and instruction to music centers in Myanmar and the Middle East. In spring 2014 she spent three months in Singapore, giving concerts in Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. In 2011, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Bangkok, Thailand, researching connections between Thai traditional and contemporary music, commissioning Thai and Malaysian composers, and performing new works with professional oboists in the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore.
Established in 2019 as a joint effort between the College of Arts and Sciences, Office of Research, Graduate School, WSU Libraries, and President’s Office, the Center for Arts and Humanities seeks to expand WSU’s capacity for foundational research in the arts and humanities; nurture cross- and interdisciplinary connection and collaboration; increase the public visibility and outreach of WSU arts and humanities faculty; advance WSU’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and community engagement; and catalyze WSU’s engagement with emergent fields of humanistic and artistic knowledge.
WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections has acquired first editions of the Jane Austen novels “Emma,” “Mansfield Park,” “Northanger Abbey,” and “Persuasion” thanks to the bequest of WSU alumna Lorraine (Kure) Hanaway, Class of 1949.
“Jane Austen is one of the most loved authors in all of literature. The WSU Libraries had no first editions of her work until now,” said Trevor Bond, associate dean for digital initiatives and special collections. “The books are gorgeous and will support our work to collaborate with WSU faculty to introduce primary sources into classes and research.
Hanaway was an outstanding student and involved in numerous honor societies on campus, Bond added. She served as the editor of the “Evergreen” and in 1948, interviewed the singer and actor Burl Ives when he visited campus.
“I am honored that she would think to leave these books that she cherished to her alma mater,” said Bond.
“Emma,” “Northanger Abbey,” and “Persuasion” are largely in their original state, Bond said, with contemporary bindings, bookplates from former owners, and inscriptions. “Emma” and “Mansfield Park” are each published in three volumes, also called “triple deckers.”
“These triple-decker novels were all the rage in Victorian England,” he said. “They were expensive for individuals to buy, but many could join a subscription library, paying a small fee to borrow books. Publishing the novels in three volumes allowed more readers to borrow individual volumes and quickly return them.”
Southcentral Washington roots and the WSC years
According to her obituary, Lorraine Kure was born March 9, 1927, in The Dalles, Ore., but was raised in Wapato, Wash., on the family’s dairy and fruit farm, where she worked in the early mornings before school and dreamed of moving to New York and becoming a journalist.
Research by WSU university archivist Mark O’English shows that Kure attended Wapato High School, graduating fourth in a class of 75 in 1945. She came to Washington State College that fall with her older sister, Joann (Home Economics, ‘47), majoring in journalism.
Kure made the honor roll twice, but her university involvement truly stood out. Among her many activities, she served as managing editor for the alumni magazine “Powwow” and was appointed to the Student-Faculty Committee on Fraternity Welfare by WSC President Wilson Compton. She was elected president of Theta Sigma Phi, the women’s journalism honorary society, and selected to be part of “The Big Ten,” the Student-Faculty Committee’s honor for best WSC seniors. She also found time to organize numerous small social events, like a “meet our Scandinavian student” get-together for a foreign-exchange student living in her dorm.
“She was one of those very active students,” O’English said. “A March 17, 1947, somewhat-sexist commentary in the student newspaper on the ideal campus woman noted that she would have the personality of Lorraine Kure.”
Following her dream
Several years after graduating from WSC, Kure did go to New York to pursue a writing career and community involvement opportunities, such as organizing the International “Herald-Tribune” World Youth Forum, writing for Pan American Airlines, creating publications for the Maternity Center Association, and even doing a brief stint for the editor of the “New York Times” crossword puzzles.
Kure met her future husband, Bill Hanaway, in 1958, and the two were married almost 60 years, sharing a love of New York, books, walking, opera, world travel, and the outdoors.
In 1971, Bill accepted a faculty position at the University of Pennsylvania, and the family, now including daughter Annie, settled in the small community of nearby Wayne. Hanaway later worked as a writer and editor at Penn’s Center for the Study of Aging (now the Institute on Aging) until her retirement. A highlight of her time there was interviewing American architect, author, and inventor Buckminster Fuller.
A champion of Jane Austen
Hanaway sought to build a community of individuals who shared her love of the novels and the world of Jane Austen. She was instrumental in the founding of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) in 1979. Over the next 40-plus years, Hanaway was active in the organization as head of membership as well as president and co-founder of the Eastern Pennsylvania Region chapter, also serving as its first regional coordinator.
To honor her legacy, after Hanaway’s death in late August at the age of 93, the JASNA Eastern Pennsylvania Region chapter created the Lorraine Hanaway Speaker Endowment to annually sponsor a distinguished speaker to help further Jane Austen awareness and enjoyment.
“Lorraine Hanaway’s love of Jane Austen has left an indelible mark on modern appreciation of Regency literature and life,” said Christopher Duda, chapter regional coordinator. “For nearly half a century, Lorraine Hanaway was one of the leading ambassadors championing and raising awareness of Jane Austen’s timeless wit, wisdom, and far-too-few published novels. Personally, I will always remember her as one of the kindest souls I have ever met. She will be greatly missed.”
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections also obtained other books from Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers of London, a firm specializing in 19th-century English literature, to complement the first-edition Austen novels. Among the titles are “O’Donnel: A National Tale” by Lady Sydney Morgan; “Temper, or Domestic Scenes: A Tale” by Amelia Opie; and “Tales of the Castle: or Stories of Instruction and Delight” by Madame la Comtesse de Genlis.
“I looked for novels by contemporaries of Austen, especially those written by women, novels she may have read and novels that may have been controversial at the time,” said Greg Matthews, WSU special collections librarian.
Austen was familiar with Morgan’s work and read her most well-known book, “The Wild Irish Girl.” “At the time, Morgan’s fiction was notorious for frank, fresh, and heroic female characters,” Matthews said. “Apparently, Austen, an author appreciated for her nuanced wit, wasn’t impressed with its candor.”
Opie supported several progressive causes of the period, such as the abolition of slavery and women’s education, and was close to many significant social reformers, including Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, according to Matthews. “Temper” features a heroine named Emma. (Austen’s novel of that title appeared in 1815.)
In Austen’s “Emma,” the title character mentions Madame de Genlis’s 1782 novel “Adelaide and Theodore” as a useful source for the education of young women. An influential writer during her lifetime, Madame de Genlis was considered an original and innovative educator, and her work, both fiction and nonfiction, served as a platform to promote her ideas about effective instruction, Matthews said.
“Austen’s opinion of this author and her other works, however, was often critical,” he added. “Still, scholars have written about the older French writer’s influence on Austen and her fiction. “Tales of the Castle,” first published in English in 1785, represents the impact continental literature had on the English novel during Austen’s lifetime.”
WSU researchers and students have access through August 30 to the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) education section, thanks to financial support from faculty member Martina Ederer, WSU School of Molecular Biosciences.
“The Journal of Visualized Experiments is one of the most requested resources by faculty and students,” said Joel Cummings, head of collection development for WSU Libraries. “JoVE offers a highly desired way of learning about both basic and advanced scientific experiments. While WSU Libraries have subscribed to the JoVE biology and JoVE neuroscience sections, we have not been able to add the entire product up to this point.”
JoVE is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes experimental methods in video format. The video library is dedicated to teaching the practice and theory of scientific experiments through engaging and easy-to-understand visual demonstrations.
The journal can be accessed on the main WSU Libraries website (https://libraries.wsu.edu/) under Search It’s EJournals tab, then type the title in the eJournal search bar. For more information, contact Cummings at email@example.com.
WSU School of Music Professor Keri McCarthy has been named the 2021 recipient of the WSU Libraries’ Excellence Award.
The award recognizes a non-library WSU faculty or staff member who has shown consistent support for the WSU Libraries. Recipients are chosen based on encouraging students to use the libraries; personal use of the libraries; personal support of or contributions to the libraries’ collections or services; interaction and cooperation with library faculty; and service on library-related committees.
The Excellence Award program began in 1980, honoring C. Gardner Shaw of WSU’s Department of Plant Pathology as the first recipient. Nearly 35 faculty and staff have received the honor.
“WSU Libraries thrive because of the interest and commitment of faculty like Dr. McCarthy,” said WSU Libraries Dean Jay Starratt. “She has the rare ability to excite students about library resources, a necessity for them on the road to lifelong learning.”
Personal history with libraries
Love of and excitement for libraries run deep in McCarthy’s family. Her mother, Suzanne, has worked for almost 20 years in their hometown library in Baldwinsville, N.Y.
“This award reflects some of the love for knowledge that she shared with me when I was a child,” McCarthy said. “I have great respect for WSU’s librarians and staff, and the collections they have cultivated. I have spent so much time over the years in Holland, Terrell and Kemble Stout libraries in particular, both conducting research and sharing research methods with my students. The WSU library system has given me so much, and I am surprised and grateful to be recognized.”
It isn’t surprising that McCarthy found her way into librarianship. She was offered work-study in both cataloguing and music departments at her college library at Ithaca College and learned how knowledge is organized and shared through print and recorded traditions. She helped prepare and organize archival materials in music and developed a passion for preserving rare items and repertoires.
“My comfort with academic libraries was especially valuable during my graduate studies in music history and ethnomusicology,” McCarthy said. “When I arrived at WSU, Holland and Terrell libraries were essential as I developed expertise in new repertoires, regions and methodologies. After so many years perusing the stacks and accessing online databases, WSU’s online and physical libraries are a home of sorts, places to explore new ideas and reaffirm beliefs.”
Developing their own voices
For McCarthy, information literacy is a key part of her students’ academic experience—and a skill for life.
“When students learn about search strategies and discover new types of resources, their worlds can open up in unexpected and revelatory ways,” she said. “Developing information literacy skills during undergraduate studies enriches guided education (in the form of papers, research projects, etc.), but beyond that, information literacy also highlights areas where research is currently lacking and points toward needed inquiries and future research.
“I have seen so many WSU students uncover personal and professional paths by engaging a topic, discovering its boundaries and pursuing novel approaches toward unanswered questions,” McCarthy added. “In this way, information literacy allows students to develop their own voices and become experts in their fields.”
The value of Kemble Stout Library
At Kemble Stout Music Library, located in Kimbrough Hall, students are free to study scores of repertoire they are playing, conducting and studying, McCarthy said. Great music research resources are available there too, such as composers’ complete editions, as well as an excellent listening library. Librarian Sean Taylor, like his predecessor Bill Payne, cultivates a collection of high-quality recordings for students and faculty to listen to.
“The library has become a place where students study, rest and listen next to practice spaces and music classrooms,” she said. “Kemble Stout Music Library is a unique feature of WSU’s School of Music, one that is admired and highly valued by our faculty members and students.”
A missed calling?
Many library employees have had the opportunity to work with McCarthy over the years because of her passion for promoting library resources, said award nominator Gabriella Reznowski, WSU librarian for business, economics, music and foreign languages.
Reznowski first worked with McCarthy several years ago while filling in for another librarian during an instruction session. The goal of her session was to introduce students to specialized resources for music research, including reference books, library databases and scholarly monographs.
“Through an inquiry-based, student-led approach, Dr. McCarthy engaged her students in a collaborative search for resources,” Reznowski said. “While it is often difficult to ensure every student is heard during such a session, Dr. McCarthy put her students at ease as they weighed in on which resources they felt were best for their topics, and why…She created an atmosphere that was conducive to conversation, one that included all participants, with no ‘one’ voice taking precedent over the others.
“I have often thought that Dr. McCarthy had missed her calling as a librarian,” Reznowski added. “I think we librarians could each learn from her approach to information literacy and her ability to promote library resources. However, I know that if she had pursued librarianship, we would not have the amazing oboe and music history professor that today reaches so many students and serves as a role model for the love of her craft.”
Many of DJ Lee’s stories in Remote: Finding Home in the Bitterroots embody the powerful force of the Selway River that carves out a portion of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Idaho and Montana, the spiritual home Lee discovered in midlife. Lee’s 2020 memoir is also the culmination of research into her family history with the wilderness area, as well as a tribute to her missing friend and retired wilderness ranger, Connie Saylor Johnson.
“My family has been connected to the Selway-Bitterroot for nearly a century, but I never set foot there until I was almost forty-five years old,” wrote Lee, WSU Regents Professor of Literature and Creative Writing. “I’ve spent the past 15 years trying to piece together the history of the wilderness and of my grandparents, who lived there for decades. The memory of those years is like the Selway River itself. What seems to be a singular waterway is actually hundreds of streams and creeks, each with its own course, its own confluence.”
Lee and other WSU authors in the past year would have normally been honored in person during the WSU Libraries’ Crimson Reads, but this and other WSU Showcase events this year will be held virtually. For more information on all WSU authors who published in 2020, visit the Crimson Reads library guide. More author spotlights can be read this week on the WSU Libraries Facebook page.
New to wilderness
In 1999, when Lee’s grandmother, Esther, was on her deathbed, she gave her granddaughter a box of mysterious items that led her to Moose Creek Ranger Station in the rugged Bitterroots. The items also pointed to a secret family history Lee had wondered about.
At first, the Bitterroots terrified Lee: the high granite peaks, deep valleys, raging rivers and wild animals—bears, cougars, wolves, moose.
“I had no idea how to exist in such a place,” she said. “Since the land is protected wilderness, you have to go on foot or by horse and mule, which leaves you vulnerable. I did eventually learn how to survive the difficulties of traveling such a landscape.”
Lee also came to learn about the trauma of her family history—Esther’s mental health issues, her grandfather George’s flaws, their connections to indigenous communities and the violence that occurred to preserve the wilderness as public land.
“The difficulties of the place, the family saga and the larger wilderness story were balanced by a sense of acceptance as I started to feel at home in this land of my ancestors, and at home with their troubled history,” she said.
The lessons of nature
As Lee became familiar with the wilderness she visited, she was rewarded with breath-taking moments: the sight of Chinook salmon returning from the ocean to spawn in the place on the upper Selway where they were born; a silent communion with a reclusive pine marten at George’s original homestead property. Her encounter with the marten unexpectedly brought her closer to her grandfather, who died when she was an infant.
“I think it’s because I learned that martens were persecuted animals, hunted almost to extinction at the same time I realized that George sympathized with persecuted people and may have felt maltreated himself…,” Lee wrote.
“I saw how, just as every time I came to the wilderness, the trees and rivers and creeks and animals put you in your place…George’s tangled identity—his love of image and narrative, his willingness to rush into fire for a friend, and his effort to defend the persecuted and take care of those who, like me, my mother, my grandmother, struggled with disordered mind states, moods that betrayed us or gave us power—was growing on me. I felt a separation, a self moving into George’s experience, then back into my own skin, but changed.”
Honoring a defender of wilderness
Remote also follows Lee as she tries to piece together what happened to Johnson, her wilderness mentor and friend. Johnson was last seen on Oct. 2, 2018, at a hunting camp 15 miles from the Moose Creek Ranger Station.
Johnson was a founder of the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation and played a large role in developing a wilderness ranger intern program. She also brought high school students from Iowa to Idaho during the summer to learn about the Selway-Bitterroot, enlisting their help to pull weeds and repair trails. She readily shared her love of the wilderness to all who visited.
“The magnitude of the place widens the imagination; that’s what Connie had been getting at all these years, what she pointed to and partially expressed…,” Lee wrote. “If you’re able to define wilderness, to pin it down, then that isn’t wilderness.
“Connie had a mind big enough to help people understand that their relationship to that undefinable thing was the most important one they would ever have.”
‘A magical place’
Lee said she loves being able to share her journey with readers, but more than that, she feels “a true sense of gratitude to be able to tell the story of this incredible wilderness.
“The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is one of the largest and most remote places in the lower 48 states, and it really is not that far from Moscow-Pullman—a three-hour drive,” she said. “I feel an instant connection with people who know and love those mountains.
“The other day, I talked with someone on campus, and though we knew one another’s names, we’d never spoken or corresponded,” she added. “He said he had looked up my webpage and saw I had a book about the Bitterroots. When he said, ‘The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is a magical place,’ I felt like we were old friends.”
WSU Libraries are seeking undergraduate and graduate students and student-workers to serve on their new Library Student Advisory Board. The board exists as a direct channel for students to give input about the physical and digital experience of the WSU Libraries, including websites, online services, collections, in‑person services and physical spaces. The LSAB also helps determine best practices for measuring awareness around Libraries’ services, including communication and campus-wide messaging.
Advisers will represent a diverse cross section of the WSU Pullman and Global Campus population. The board will be made up of:
Assessment (such as coordinating pilot test surveys, assisting in distribution/promotion of surveys, recruiting students to participate, evaluating spaces and prioritizing services);
Coordinating events/programs (such as helping to plan events and promoting student participation); and
Outreach (such as speaking to student groups, engaging in library advocacy to student government, conducting focus groups and getting other student feedback)
Recruitment for advisers will start with the beginning of WSU spring semester Tuesday, Jan. 19. To submit a nomination or for more information, apply for the board or contact Erica Nicol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With walk-in reference help shuttered at academic libraries around the country because of COVID-19, helping patrons virtually is more critical than before. WSU humanities librarian Erin Hvizdak learned this recently when a professor in San Francisco contacted her to check a footnote in a book at the last minute for her research. All nearby libraries that held a copy were closed. WSU Libraries carried an electronic version of the book, and Hvizdak accessed the eBook and worked with the professor to check the footnote and get the information she needed.
“She was so appreciative,” Hvizdak said. “I think that in times like these, we are addressing so many questions about how to get information quickly when physical access is not possible. Getting more information from patrons about what they really need and coming up with workarounds are crucial.”
Online reference for WSU Libraries’ patrons is available 24/7. Pullman librarians and staff are online Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Staff at other libraries will help during other hours. See the Ask Us page for available reference methods. For subject-specific reference, please contact a liaison librarian.
Students and faculty from all WSU campuses can use virtual reference. For contact information and assistance from the Spokane Academic Library, please visit the WSU Spokane website. Contacts for email reference service are available for the Tri Cities’ Max E. Benitz Memorial Library at the WSU Tri-Cities website. The WSU Vancouver Library is offering chat reference and other services, which are outlined at the WSU Vancouver website.
Reference sessions are often integrated with Zoom, Hvizdak said. While libraries’ staff use Zoom for scheduled research consultations with students and faculty, she finds herself relying more on her personal Zoom room during virtual reference.
“It makes it easy to just hop on and have the student share their screen with you so that they can show you what issues they are experiencing, or so you can more visually walk them through how to find resources,” she said.
WSU online learning librarian Jen Saulnier said she was answering many questions about how to get library resources remotely, such as using the new locker pickup system and mailing books to home addresses. She has also been helping many beginning researchers find sources for papers and projects in online databases.
“We get questions from such a wide variety of people—undergraduate students, graduate students, professors, community members, researchers from across the world—covering so many different topics that our virtual reference system has been really helpful in referring questions to the right people,” she said. “Libraries are complicated systems during normal operations, but add in a pandemic and it becomes even more crucial for us to work together and make sure people are getting the information they need. Not only is our chat and email system easy to use for those that need help, but it’s easy for us to make sure people are getting help as quickly as possible.”
If WSU researchers have a specialized research question, they frequently work with a liaison librarian like David Luftig, who serves as the point of contact for agricultural sciences. Since all WSU librarians are both subject specialists and generalists, Luftig said, they can answer many reference questions that are outside of a particular subject area.
He also emphasized the importance of 24/7 reference coverage to patrons wherever they are.
“The WSU Libraries provide not just reference assistance to WSU students; we provide such assistance to a consortium of libraries worldwide,” Luftig said. “This means that even when a WSU librarian might not be online, such as in the middle of the night, another trained librarian from around the world will always be online to assist. Additionally, if there are questions that a librarian can’t answer, those questions will get tagged for a WSU librarian to follow up with as soon as possible. It’s a good system that ensures that there is always a knowledgeable librarian providing online assistance.”
WSU students are also answering virtual reference questions—and gaining valuable knowledge at the same time.
“As an undergraduate senior, working on virtual reference enhances my student experience because it allows me to have an idea of what my peers at WSU are researching, what types of questions they generally have and also how they communicate,” said Samantha Hage, a human development major from Upland, Calif.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, WSU Libraries planned to switch over to a new chat system, with more streamlined abilities to forward and tag chats that need referral and follow-up, as well as better integration into the libraries’ larger reference transaction database, Hvizdak said. The switch was made in May, with no disruption on the patron end.
“Who knew that this would become so crucial,” she said. “This helps us to design better services and guides. But overall, having the new chat system be more streamlined and integrated has helped us to track and respond much more easily and quickly than before.”
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WSU Libraries’ patrons now have access to a new video database, ProQuest’s Academic Video Online (AVON), offering 71,000 titles spanning such subject areas as anthropology, business, counseling, film, health, history, music and more. The database was recently made available to member institutions of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, which includes WSU.
AVON provides a variety of video material with curricular relevance: documentaries, interviews, feature films, performances, news programs and newsreels, demonstrations and raw footage. The database features award-winning films, including Academy®, Emmy® and Peabody® winners. Academic institutions will find the most frequently used films for classroom instruction, plus newly released films and previously unavailable archival material.
“The WSU Libraries are excited that faculty and students will have access to this large video-streaming database,” said WSU Head of Collection Development Joel Cummings. “It will provide a tremendous variety of video materials that faculty have shown great interest in. This database also will be a much more affordable method of providing large amounts of video materials to the WSU community.”