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Librarian Talea Anderson Selected as Mellon Fellow

Talea Anderson, scholarly communication librarian in WSU Libraries, has been selected as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Heritage through the Rare Book School (RBS) at the University of Virginia.

Talea Anderson

The three-year fellowship covers tuition and travel to take RBS courses, attend a cultural heritage field school, organize a symposium, and engage with rising leaders in archives, libraries, and museums. This is the second time a WSU Libraries employee has received a Mellon Fellowship, with Anastasia Tucker being recognized in 2020.

“I am delighted that Talea Anderson received this nationally competitive fellowship,” said Trevor Bond, WSU Libraries’ associate dean for digital initiatives and special collections. “Talea’s selection reflects her strong writing and her interest (professional and personal) in an understudied area of book history: tactile books printed for blind and low-vision readers.

“Her experiences as a Mellon Fellow will benefit the WSU Libraries and our broader academic community,” Bond said. “Talea is an amazingly talented librarian, and it is a great privilege to be her colleague.”

Invisible readership

The history of accessibility and disability in archives and special collections is largely untold, according to Anderson, who has low vision. Her study of braille starting in 2020 sparked her interest in the history of tactile writing.

“Early tactile books contain a rich and underexplored history about who blind readers were, their backgrounds, needs, and desires,” she said. “I did not grow up knowing these histories, and I’d like to help make them more widely available to others using tools at my disposal.”

Anderson said she hopes to take advantage of the Mellon Fellowship’s multicultural focus and invaluable connections to other fellows, as well as learning methods of book archaeology to better understand the readers who may have been otherwise invisible in the historical record.

“I’m excited about the Mellon Fellowship because it’s going to give me the opportunity to explore how archives and special collections can more actively engage with disability communities,” Anderson said. “In particular, I’m looking forward to exploring how historical tactile books and materials can be made more accessible to blind and low-vision communities. My goal is to work with colleagues at WSU Vancouver and the Washington State School for the Blind to create a symposium that uses tactile materials as a centerpiece for discussing accessibility concerns in higher education.”

About the fellowship

In June 2019, RBS received a $1.5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to support the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Heritage, a six-year program that seeks to advance multicultural collections through innovative curatorial practice and leadership. The fellowship provides professional development opportunities for early- to mid-career professionals working in a special collections library, archive, or other cultural heritage institution located in the United States.

Over the course of the program, cohorts progressively overlap, allowing fellows from different cohorts to meet and interact during RBS courses and other activities. Fellows build connections with diverse communities and publics through a combination of strategic programming, outreach, advocacy, and training.

For more information about the fellowship, visit the RBS website.

History Professor Katy Whalen Named Libraries’ Excellence Award Winner

WSU History Professor Katy Whalen has been named the 2022 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. Some 35 faculty and staff have received the honor.

Katy Whalen

Champion of information literacy

Corey Johnson, WSU instruction and assessment librarian and one of Whalen’s nominators, has worked with Whalen for 10 years through the Roots of Contemporary Issues Program (RCI). Whalen, also RCI’s assistant director, has regularly scheduled multiple library instruction sessions per term throughout her RCI tenure, Johnson wrote.

Whalen’s students engage in a unique monograph finding and analysis activity, where Johnson plays the satisfying role of wandering the history section stacks of Terrell Library to help locate books, wrote Jen Saulnier Lange, online learning librarian and award co-nominator with Johnson. “She is always very engaged in the sessions and every term tells her students that the ‘book finding’ day is her favorite of the entire semester.”

In addition to being a proponent for library instruction, Whalen incorporates information literacy into her classes and assignments. She reinforces students’ academic library literacy and source analysis with public library use, requiring them to go to Neill Public Library, identify primary sources, and search for secondary sources.

“Katy not only requires students to explore and use libraries for their assignments, but she also instills the value of libraries and their role in lifelong learning by providing extra credit to students who sign up for a public library card,” Johnson and Saulnier Lange wrote.

Engaging students’ natural curiosity

Whalen and her colleagues in the RCI program collectively teach over 4,000 students each year, with a core goal of helping students acquire information literacy skills.

“Because I value libraries so much, it’s nice to know that librarians appreciate the effort I make toward making undergraduate research so central to my own courses,” Whalen said of receiving the WSU Libraries’ Excellence Award. “My hope is that my efforts have university-wide impact to the degree that my students will gain some proficiency in navigating library databases, which will aid them to do research in any of their classes over their time here at WSU and will hopefully mean they become repeat users of the libraries.”

Whalen said the key to students gaining and practicing information literacy skills lies in tapping into their own natural curiosity. “In my view, it’s curiosity that prompts us to ask critical questions about the world around us—and to sometimes make personal connections to the subject matter before us—and in the field of history, questions about how those realities came to be. And if we can apply that very human quality of curiosity to asking research questions, we can begin to think about the ways in which some questions force us to dig deeper, to go beyond a superficial understanding, and produce complex answers.

“It seems to me that the curiosity that is inherent in critical thinking and information literacy is something that must be developed over a lifetime and is transferable to any college course, any profession or job, anytime we read a piece of news, are on social media, or watch a movie or television show,” she said. “If taught well, students never master critical thinking, and there is no limit to the information literacy they gain.”

Upgrade Coming for WSU Libraries’ Search It

WSU Libraries’ catalog, Search It, will be upgraded on June 28, offering new features to improve user experience.

Changes include the following:

  • New records will populate into the catalog much more quickly
  • Item availability windows will load faster
  • An auto-complete feature will help users complete search queries and/or suggest topics
  • The Search-Inside feature will allow users to search for articles within journal titles
  • The Journals Browse feature will incorporate both print and electronic materials
  • There will be better control over how search results are ranked, so certain record types, such as articles, books, and e-books, will be boosted and surface higher in search results.

Saved data in Search It will be impacted by the upgrade. Search history is no longer being stored by the vendor and therefore will not be migrated. Items added to My Favorites > Saved Searches will also not be migrated. Items added to My Favorites > Saved Records will transfer for each patron.

“Software upgrades are commonplace, and the next update for Search It will make using the tool easier and quicker,” said WSU Libraries Associate Dean Beth Blakesley. “If you use the Saved Searches function, you will need to save those before June 28 so that you can reload them after the upgrade.”

For a video walkthrough on saving searches before the upgrade, please refer to the WSU Libraries webpage.

Irwin Nash Migrant Labor Digital Collection Wins National Library Award

WSU Libraries’ Irwin Nash Images of Migrant Labor Digital Collection has received the American Library Association’s Reference and User Services Association’s 2022 John Sessions Memorial Award.

Protestor at hop strike in 1970. Photo courtesy of Irwin Nash Images of Migrant Labor Digital Collection.

According to the award announcement, the libraries’ Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections department is commended for its efforts to make the Nash Collection accessible to the community, and for involving that community in identifying people in the photographs to enrich the knowledge of current and future viewers and researchers.

The collection “depicts the rich social, cultural, political, and economic life of the Yakima Valley migrant labor community,” the award announcement states. Of special relevance, the collection also depicts farmworker union meetings, rallies, and protests, including visits by United Farm Workers union co-founder Cesar Chavez, and Washington community organizers Guadalupe Gamboa and Tomás Villanueva. Project manager Lipi Turner-Rahman’s creation of a Facebook group for the collection “as a way to both promote it and crowdsource identification and create richer metadata is particularly impressive.”

“We are very proud of the work Lipi and her associates have done to make this collection rich and accessible,” said WSU Libraries Dean Jay Starratt. “It is work like this that demonstrates the importance of research libraries.”

The John Sessions Memorial Award, sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, recognizes a library or library system that has made a significant effort to work with the labor community and by doing so has brought recognition to the history and contribution of the labor movement to the development of the United States.

Please see a background story to learn more about the collection’s history.

WSU Libraries’ Usage Survey Underway through May

WSU Libraries are conducting a multi-campus survey of library usage needs among faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students in April and May. Participants will be emailed a unique link to complete the survey in one or multiple sessions. The libraries will accept completed surveys through May 31.

Participating undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to enter into a drawing to win one of eight $25 gift cards to the Bookie. For faculty surveys, the libraries will make a donation to each campus’s food pantry based on the number of completed surveys received.

The last time that WSU Libraries surveyed the university community about library use was in 2013, according to Humanities Librarian Erin Hvizdak. Plans to send out surveys in the spring of 2020 were put on hold due to the COVID-19 shutdowns.

“We knew people’s needs had changed, but we could not have anticipated how much would change after 2020,” she said. “I am optimistic that the results of this survey will highlight some of these new needs that we may not even be aware of and help direct our decision-making when it comes to services, spaces, collections, and hiring. Regardless of what the results reveal, we will always operate under the profession’s and university’s core values of increasing access to high-quality research resources and helping students to develop lifelong information literacy skills.”

For more details, contact Hvizdak at

Wiley Journal Renewal Offers Open Access Publishing Options

As part of WSU Libraries’ renewal of their Wiley journal contract, WSU authors can now have articles published in roughly 1,400 different Wiley journals using an open access license without paying an article processing charge (APC). The service is available until the end of 2024, barring a cancellation of the Wiley package.

To cover publication costs, Wiley open access journals typically charge a publication fee. The APC is the price an author, institution, or funder pays on acceptance for publication of an open access article.

“Based on WSU’s past publishing patterns, it is estimated that if all WSU authors were to pay APCs for each of the articles published in these Wiley journals in this upcoming year, it would have cost WSU researchers $518,560,” according to Joel Cummings, WSU Libraries’ head of collection development. “The estimated savings to WSU researchers who have been paying APCs is roughly $150,000 a year. Through this renewal, WSU will continue to have the expansive access to Wiley journals, which remains one of the most used journal platforms at WSU.”

WSU Libraries received support this fiscal year from WSU’s Offices of the President and Provost to offset journal price inflation and to prevent cancellation of large journal packages. As a result, the libraries were able to renew their contract with Wiley, which would have been difficult without additional funding, Cummings said.

“Selecting the open access option in this renewal will cost the WSU Libraries a little more, but the price was still significantly below the average serial price increases that academic libraries face,” he added. “Overall, this should save WSU money by removing the need for researchers to individually fund APCs for their research, as many have been doing.”

Other publishers besides Wiley are entering into “transformative deals” like this one, Cummings said. The WSU Libraries haven’t entered into many open access publishing agreements to date; current agreements are described in an online library guide.

The Wiley open access publishing agreement is intended to promote the research being published by WSU researchers by making it accessible to everyone with an internet connection free of charge, he said. In general, research has shown that open access research tends to increase citation impact.

“Additionally, this service assists researchers in meeting funder mandates that may require funded research to be published open access,” Cummings said. “Researchers will not have to use their own grant funds or other funds to publish their research under an open access license via this publisher.”

To make an article open access within the Wiley submission process, please refer to a brief guide available online.

Exhibit Spotlights Photo Collection of Yakima Valley Farmworkers Movement

A new exhibit at WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections showcases the fight by Mexican American migrant workers in southcentral Washington for better working conditions and wages. Titled “La Causa: Social Justice Activism in the Yakima Valley,” the exhibit opens with a reception at 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, at MASC’s Terrell Library ground floor location.

Elisia Elizondo harvests asparagus in a Washington field in 1971. Photo courtesy of the Irwin Nash Images of Migrant Labor Digital Collection, WSU Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections.

“La Causa” (the cause/struggle) features the work of Seattle photographer Irwin Nash, who documented the plight of Yakima Valley farmworkers during the 1960s and 1970s. Nash’s 9,300 photos are now part of a digital collection, thanks to donations from the Yakima Valley migrant farmworker community, support from the WSU President’s Office, and a grant from Washington State Library and the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The exhibit also spotlights the public figures that played important roles in the farmworkers’ movement, including civil rights attorney Michael Fox, United Farm Workers of America co-founders Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, and Yakima Valley organizers Lupe Gamboa, Tomas Villanueva, and the Trevino family.

“La Causa is the fight of Mexican American farmworkers in the United States to improve their working conditions and their lives,” according to Lipi Turner-Rahman, the exhibit’s curator. “Most people associate La Causa with California’s San Joaquin Valley and Cesar Chavez. Washington State has one of the largest Mexican American farmworker communities in the United States. The story of their struggle to improve their lives by organizing has often been marginalized. The struggle for better wages and working conditions erupted in a walkout and a hop strike in 1970. La Causa tells the story of that struggle and the strike.”

March 21: Crimson Reads Celebrates Past Year of WSU Authorship

The published works of WSU authors will be recognized at the WSU Libraries’ ninth annual Crimson Reads, starting with a 1 p.m. presentation on Monday, March 21, in the Terrell Library atrium. Crimson Reads is part of WSU Showcase, the annual celebration of faculty, staff, and student excellence.

Trevor Bond

The presentation is titled “Reflections of Home: Contextualizing Meaningful Spaces Through Literature.” Speakers will be Trevor Bond, WSU Libraries’ associate dean of digital initiatives and special collections and author of “Coming Home to Nez Perce Country: The Niimíipuu Campaign to Repatriate Their Exploited Heritage”; Nakia Williamson-Cloud, director of the Nez Perce Tribe’s Cultural Resources Program; and Cameron McGill, WSU assistant professor of English and author of the poetry collection “In the Night Field.”

Crimson Reads publicly acknowledges and honors 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. The event is an opportunity to create a greater awareness of the diverse publishing activity and achievements of WSU authors.

Nakia Williamson-Cloud

For more about Crimson Reads, including the full book list and link to a live online broadcast, visit the library guide. Learn more about Showcase at the WSU Showcase website.

More about the speakers’ works

“Coming Home to Nez Perce Country” follows the journey of the earliest documented collection of Nez Perce artifacts, from the items’ acquisition by a Presbyterian missionary in 1847 to the Nez Perce Tribe’s purchase of the collection in 1996. The 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.

Cameron McGill

“Coming Home to Nez Perce Country’ started as a chapter of a dissertation in a graduate writing course at WSU in 2014,” Bond said. “The research on what was then the Spalding-Allen Collection developed into a close collaboration with [the Nez Perce Tribe’s] Nakia Williamson-Cloud. The story of the collection and its renaming to Wetxuuwiitin led to a series of events that resulted in a $608,100 refund to the Nez Perce Tribe. This research highlights the ethical issues of who owns Native American material culture and argues that these objects need to come home to the communities that created them.”

“In the Night Field” charts the complex relationship between mental health and place, “mapping the emotional coordinates of physical locations as a way of making legible the intimate regions of memory and of better understanding those memories: their startling artistry, varied discontents, and casual fallibilities,” McGill said.

“The book was influenced by the instrumental compositions of composers Nils Frahm and David Wenngren. Their music inspired landscapes beyond the ones I was writing about—poems became a script for the songs and songs an accompaniment to the poems. This moved me beyond the latitude/longitude of place to approach more directly the emotional coordinates of memory.”

April 5 Library Lecture Highlights Migrant Farmworker Activism in Yakima Valley

The plight and successful activism of Yakima Valley migrant farmworkers during the 1970s will be the subject of an April 5 WSU Library Lecture at 4 p.m. in the Terrell Library atrium.

Lecture speakers are Lupe Gamboa, former farmworker, organizer, lawyer, and community activist, and Michael J. Fox, civil rights activist, labor lawyer, and retired judge. Both men will discuss their contributions in a talk titled “Fight in the Fields: The Farmworkers’ Struggle for Economic and Social Justice in the Yakima Valley.” The event will be livestreamed on YouTube and archived for viewing later.

Lupe Gamboa and Michael Fox clasp hands above a No Trespassing sign in Rogers Labor Camp, Walla Walla, Wash., in 1971. Photo courtesy of the Irwin Nash Images of Migrant Labor Digital Collection, WSU Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s National Labor Relations Act of 1935 excluded farmworkers from Social Security, minimum wage, unemployment insurance, and overtime laws. In 1970, after suffering from exploitative practices by farmers in Washington’s Yakima Valley, migrant farmworkers began a series of wildcat hop strikes, challenging unfair legal exclusions and pushing for unionization. Gamboa and Fox worked with and represented farmworkers during the strikes.

In 1971, while visiting farmworkers who had requested legal help regarding wage claims and employment contract violations, Gamboa and Fox were arrested at the Rogers Labor Camp in Walla Walla, Wash. Convicted of criminal trespass in Walla Walla District Court and in Walla Walla County Superior Court, Gamboa and Fox appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court, which unanimously reversed and vacated the convictions. The court opinion established that labor organizers and lawyers have the right, under state statutory and federal constitutional law, to enter labor camps to consult with camp residents. That opinion has been the legal basis for organizers, lawyers, migrant assistance workers, and religious workers to enter Washington farm labor housing areas for the last 49 years.

The son of migrant farmworkers, Gamboa started working while in elementary school to help support the family because farmworkers were excluded from all protective labor laws. To fight the unfairness, Gamboa joined Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers union, led worker strikes, and challenged unfair legal exclusions, eventually winning important economic and social rights for Washington farmworkers.

Fox represented farmworkers in the Yakima Valley until 1988, when he became a judge. Fox describes his sudden immersion in representing farmworkers as a “life changing experience.” As a King County Superior Court judge, Fox carried on his fight for equity and social justice by highlighting the unequal sentences passed on juveniles of color.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Seattle photographer Irwin Nash documented the work of Gamboa, Fox, and other activists, as well as the farmworkers’ daily lives and dismal living conditions. WSU Libraries recently digitized Nash’s collection of 9,300 photos, which can be found on the Libraries’ website. The collection has been featured in various statewide media, including a story that was reported and produced by Alec Cowan for KUOW’s Soundside.

The inaugural Library Lecture is sponsored by WSU Libraries, the Department of History, Honors College, Student Equity Services/Multicultural Student Services, Student Affairs, and the Common Reading Program.

New Audio Lab Opens in Holland Library

WSU Libraries’ patrons now have access to a state-of-the-art audio lab for the production of podcasts, music recordings, and sound for video.

The Audio Lab is located in Holland Library’s Dimensions Lab, Room 120C. For reservations, visit the Dimensions Lab webpage (photo by Bob Hubner, WSU Photo Services).

The Audio Lab is located in Holland Library’s Dimensions Lab, Room 120C. For reservations, visit the Dimensions Lab webpage. The Audio Lab is available for four hours a day from noon-4 p.m., with no renewals, Monday through Friday on school days during the semester. The lab can be checked out once in a seven-day period and sessions booked up to two weeks in advance.

Equipment and software for the Audio Lab include the Whisper Room isolation booth and studio desk as well as a powerful computer with two displays and a microphone, stand, and windscreen. There are also four high-quality studio monitors; MOTU 828es audio interface, patch bay, and ART Voice Channel preamp; and controller hardware, including DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor, a Novation MIDI keyboard, and a LinnStrument. Digital audio workstation software includes Reaper, Pro Tools, Adobe Audition, Audacity, Ableton Live, and Native Instruments Komplete.

WSU Libraries’ Jason Anderson worked with a large group of collaborators to find students interested in developing a Student Technology Fee proposal to fund the Audio Lab, which was awarded in 2019. Scott Blasco, associate professor of music theory, composition, and electronic music; Reza Safavi, fine arts associate professor, digital media coordinator, and graduate coordinator; and career track Assistant Professor Ruth Gregory, director of undergraduate studies and the Digital Technology and Culture Program, all played a major role in making the audio lab a reality. After pandemic-related delays, the lab officially opened on Jan. 28.

“Users can create very high-end sound recordings for their projects,” Anderson said. “And as new technology becomes available, we’ll do our best to make sure the Audio Lab adapts to those changes.”

For more information about the Audio Lab, contact Anderson at

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