PULLMAN, Wash. – Karen Weathermon, director of Washington State University’s Learning Communities/First-Year Focus (formerly Freshman Focus), has received the 2013 WSU Libraries’ Excellence Award. The award recognizes a non-library WSU faculty or staff member who has shown consistent support for the libraries.
Weathermon has been a strong supporter of information literacy and librarian teaching in the programs she directs, said social sciences librarian and nominator Lorena O’English. She has encouraged faculty to partner with librarians as they develop lesson plans and teach classes.
“A university is not just a structure for teaching, learning and research; it is also a framework for the development of personal relationships and connections across disciplines and job titles,” O’English said. “Karen is a connecter – she seems to know everyone and is always collaborating.”
O’English cited comments and stories from other librarians, such as Corey Johnson, head of the Library Instruction unit, who described how Weathermon asked a group of librarians to present during the First-Year Focus program’s spring workshop series several years ago.
“Each December, librarians write a summary memo of their work with the First-Year Focus program,” Johnson said. “Karen always takes the time to provide written feedback to our summaries. She is an outstanding colleague and supporter of librarian work.”
As co-director of WSU’s Common Reading Program, Weathermon has invited librarians to be part of the Tuesday evening lecture series and has actively encouraged library involvement at every stage of the common reading process, O’English said. Libraries’ faculty and staff have taken part in book selection, event brainstorming and scheduling, image collections from Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections, companion displays in the Terrell Library atrium, reading guides and more.
For Weathermon, the libraries have been part of her life since she first came to WSU as a master’s student in 1987. She recalled how WSU Libraries’ emerita professor Alice Spitzer showed her how to begin navigating the libraries and their extensive resources. She also credited Laila Miletic-Vejzovic, former head of MASC, for keeping the archives open during holiday hours so she and other graduate students could continue their work without disruption.
“This is a library that has completely shaped my professional life,” Weathermon said. “This award is meaningful for me because many of those who have earned the award were mentors to me. The community I’m part of keeps me learning all the time.”
The WSU Libraries’ Excellence Award program began in 1980, honoring C. Gardner Shaw of WSU’s Department of Plant Pathology as the first recipient. Nearly 30 faculty and staff have received the award.
– Nella Letizia