A library orientation for new WSU faculty and staff is planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, through the Human Resource Services’ Skillsoft online learning system.
The one-hour course, taught by WSU Animal Health Sciences Librarian Suzanne Fricke, will assist new and returning faculty and staff in gaining full-text access to electronic journal articles, eBooks and physical resources through WSU Libraries. Topics include on- and off-campus electronic access, interlibrary loan, library accounts and renewals, tools for browsing current journals, new browser extensions for more rapid access to PDF copies of articles, and resources for reference management.
WSU Libraries are now offering a 24/7 contactless locker pickup adjacent to Terrell Library as a safe way of providing library materials to patrons.
Locker pickup will provide the fastest delivery, generally one day for WSU materials on average once a request has been made. Patrons must first be logged into their library account in the Search It discovery tool. To get started, enter the title to borrow. When it comes up in the results, click on the call number or the title. In the “Availability and Request Options” box, click the red “Request Item” button. Under the “Pickup Location” drop-down menu, choose the “Pullman Locker Pickup” option and click the “Request Item” button in green.
Once requested items are pulled from WSU library collections or received from Summit and Interlibrary Loan, they will be checked out to a patron and put in a locker in the Terrell Library parking garage elevator lobby on the first floor (mall level). Pay parking is available in the Terrell parking garage. Library staff will email the locker number and access information to the patron. Items will be held for seven days. Pickup for materials in Owen Science and Engineering Library and the Animal Health Library will also be at this location.
Steve Overfelt, a library and archives paraprofessional who is processing the locker pickup requests, said the hope for this latest service is to enhance the consistency of library borrowing during this time of rapid change.
“We want our faculty, staff, students and community users to have better access to the materials we offer, even though we cannot be open for browsing the shelves and studying with friends,” he said. “We are committed to providing efficient and timely service to all of our patrons, and this is another way we can do that for our stakeholders.”
The Washington State University Libraries on the Pullman campus will remain closed for fall semester due to the evolving environment surrounding COVID-19.
“We regret making this decision but think it is necessary for everyone’s safety,” said WSU Libraries Dean Jay Starratt. “Libraries and library staff are very committed to helping people and to providing resources to support research and learning. We will continue to do our very best to serve during this trying time.”
During the closure, the libraries will still provide a large suite of remote services. The most up-to-date information on access options and available services can be found on the libraries’ remote resources and guidance website. Below are a few of the resources available.
Print books held in the library can be checked out and mailed to a personal address via request. Return postage will be provided. Visit the libraries’ website for access to Search It and other databases.
WSU Libraries staff will also increase purchase-on-demand options for materials that cannot be obtained through Interlibrary Loan.
There are more than 200,000 e-books available in many disciplines. Liaison librarians and an online support page are available for students, faculty and staff with questions about these resources.
A purchase request form can also be accessed online for members of the WSU community to provide recommendations of resources for libraries staff to consider purchasing.
Books and materials that have already been checked out with the exception of reserve items will be automatically renewed until they are returned.
Journal Articles and Magazines:
Many journal articles can be accessed online via the libraries’ website. For items not available in full text online, copies can be requested in Search It. For in-house materials, staff will scan and email them. For items not held locally, an Interlibrary Loan request will be made.
Reference: Online reference is available 24/7. Pullman librarians and staff will be online Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Staff at other libraries will help during other hours. See the Ask Us page for available reference methods.
Reserves: Most items are already on electronic reserve and will remain available 24/7. For additional requirements, see the Course Reserves page.
Instruction: Librarians can meet with classes using Zoom. They can create online activities for students and share the results with professors and instructors. They can consult with students individually, or in groups, using Zoom, via email or over the phone. To find a subject librarian, see the Find Your Librarian by subject page.
Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC):
In order to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and meet the quarantine recommendations of a national COVID-19 research partnership, WSU Libraries in Pullman will not offer physical course reserves this fall.
Faculty who already placed requests have been contacted with alternative options, which include requesting that the libraries purchase the item in electronic format if possible (faculty can use this form to make such requests), asking that parts of a book are digitized for regular e-reserves and contacting the subject liaison librarian for additional options.
The Institute of Museums and Libraries teamed up with library cooperative OCLC and Battelle to form REALM (REopening Archives, Libraries and Museums), a partnership conducting research on how long the COVID-19 virus survives on materials that are prevalent in libraries, archives and museums. The project will draw upon the research to produce authoritative, science-based information on how—or if—materials can be handled to mitigate exposure to staff and visitors. REALM recommended 72-96 hours of quarantine for the types of materials circulated by libraries.
“For most scenarios, this is easily done, but with materials that typically circulate for two hours at a time and have people waiting their turn, this will not be feasible,” said WSU Libraries Associate Dean Beth Blakesley. “Given this, plus the fact that most instruction will be done remotely and that many students are not expected to be residing in Pullman, it will be impossible for the Libraries to provide physical course reserves in Pullman during the fall. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.”
The Summit service, which allows WSU Libraries’ patrons to
request library materials from member libraries of the Orbis Cascade Alliance,
will resume on Monday, Aug. 3, for the Pullman campus only at this time. Because
the campus is currently closed, materials can be mailed to a physical location.
The WSU Libraries are planning for onsite pickup within the next two weeks.
The service is heavily used by library patrons, according to
access services supervisor Brian McManus. A limited number of alliance libraries
will be participating, 16 out of the 38 total members. Because of the
coronavirus pandemic, there will be a quarantine period of four days between
arrival times and the times requested materials will be made available to
In 1942, London’s Hogarth Press published a pamphlet by British
physician Isaac Harris called “The Calcium Bread Scandal,” a spirited
denunciation of the Food Ministry’s proposal of adding nutrients,
including calcium, to bread as a way to fortify the health of the
British public during wartime.
“In any case, the disease [osteoporosis] is so rare that adding
calcium to bread for this purpose [preventing osteoporosis] would be
like burning a house in order to roast a pig,” the good doctor wrote.
WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC) recently
acquired Harris’s colorful and rare pamphlet, thanks to a $10,000
bequest of former MASC employee Leila Luedeking, who supported the
Hogarth Press Collection as well as the Leonard and Virginia Woolf
Library during her life.
While working at MASC from 1973 to 1998, Luedeking cataloged many of
its rare book collections and especially contributed to the description
of the Woolf Library. She served as a crucial resource for Woolf
scholars in the United States and the United Kingdom who corresponded
with the department. MASC’s files include detailed letters and emails
that Luedeking wrote to them.
“She was a recognized expert on the work of Leonard Woolf and
coauthored an important bibliography of his vast literary, political and
critical publications,” said Trevor Bond, WSU Libraries’ associate dean
of digital initiatives and special collections. “This work remains the
standard source for Leonard Woolf.”
Longtime goal met
With the acquisition of “The Calcium Bread Scandal,” MASC reached its
goal of holding a copy of every title published by Hogarth Press from
its founding by Virginia and Leonard Woolf in 1917 until Leonard sold
his interest in the press in 1946, said special collections librarian
Harris’s pamphlet has two parts: The first is his main diatribe
against the Food Ministry’s plan, which he explains in 10 points. The
second reprints four letters Harris submitted to the editors of
newspapers and medical journals arguing against the medical efficacy of
adding nutritional supplements to bread. These pieces are more
Harris objected to the Food Ministry’s proposal for other reasons
than the rarity of osteoporosis in the population. He also pointed out
that Vitamin D aids the physiological absorption of calcium, so adding
the mineral supplement without its necessary vitamin counterpart would
be ineffective. Finally, Harris viewed the bread supplement scheme as a
symptom of the very fascism the Allies were fighting against, Matthews
“To-day it is one food crank who becomes the dictator; to-morrow
there may be another,” Harris wrote. “To-day it is calcium; to-morrow,
Heaven knows what else may be imposed upon us.”
Matthews appreciates the doctor’s candor. “Harris’s writing style was
clear as befits an expert writing for a general audience, though he
exhibited a flair for simile and rousing rhetoric, encouraging his
readers to resist the rise of tyranny at home,” he said.
A champion of Woolf literature
Luedeking came to Pullman in 1956 when her husband, Robert, was hired
by WSU to teach chemical engineering. The couple raised five daughters
here, and according to her obituary,
Luedeking joined her husband at the university first as a graduate
student and then as an employee in MASC when her youngest started
Colleagues who worked with Luedeking found her to be a good
bibliographer. Rare books cataloger Julie King, who started working in
MASC in 1986, remembers that Luedeking was involved at the start when
MASC obtained the Woolf Library in the early 1970s.
“Leila catalogued the bulk of the Woolf Library,” King said. “She was
quite protective of the books, and rightly so. At the time, the Woolf
Library was interfiled with the other books in MASC, and we have since
collected it all into its own section in the book stacks, but Leila
provided the foundation work.”
Luedeking also initiated getting many MASC collections catalogued
online, including those associated with Leonard and Virginia Woolf.
“We were members of the Washington Library Network at the time, and
Leila got us on the online format,” King said. “She and humanities
librarian Ann Wierum were responsible for acquiring many of our English
literature sub-collections: D.H. Lawrence, John Masefield, Vita
Sackville-West, Henry James and others.
“I could tell she was fussy about details,” she added. “I am,
too—that’s what makes a good cataloguer, so I made sure to have
everything just so.”
Luedeking’s devotion to the Woolf collections didn’t stop with her
retirement in 1998; Bond said she regularly gave to MASC afterward until
her death last November so that the department could continue to
“I had the pleasure of working with Leila for a few months before she retired,” he said. “I remembered her as a quiet, sharp and dedicated colleague.”
WSU has joined an open-access publishing model with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. The agreement will ensure that articles and proceedings papers authored by WSU-affiliated personnel are published under an open-access license.
ACM delivers resources that advance computing as a science and a profession, according to its website. ACM provides the computing field’s premier Digital Library and serves its members and the computing profession with leading-edge publications, conferences and career resources.
The publishing model, called ACM OPEN, has been adopted by more than
30 other institutions around the world to date. Under the ACM OPEN
agreement, faculty and students will continue to receive unlimited
access to all articles in the ACM Digital Library.
For more information, please contact Joel Cummings, WSU Libraries head of collection development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WSU Libraries offers a new library guide
that serves as a starting point for resources to learn about and engage
in anti-racism, compiled by librarian Erica Nicol. Patrons will find
reading lists, as well as a list of books and more from the WSU
Nicol pulled titles for the guide from some recommended reading lists
that circulated after the May 25 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis,
including author Ibram X. Kendi’s The Anti-Racist Reading List
as a base. In addition, WSU Libraries Dean Jay Starratt purchased 15
eBooks to add to WSU Libraries’ collections. Getting eBooks makes it
possible for more people to access the books in our current
social-distancing world, she said.
“The guide largely came about because, in the wake of May 25, I
wanted the libraries to do something to support Black Lives Matter and
WSU’s work on eradicating institutionalized racism,” Nicol said. “A
library guide doesn’t feel like much, but it does highlight what we in
the libraries are especially good at—facilitating and promoting access
to good information.”
notable title that Nicol added to the guide is “Racism Without Racists:
Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America”
by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva.
“It’s a fantastic book for white people who want to be better and
more active allies,” she said, “and it really resonates with me as
someone who was brought up in a time and place when being color blind
was so heavily promoted.”
a librarian, Nicol is also drawn to Safiya Noble’s “Algorithms of
Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism,” which looks at how
racism is embedded in online search results.
“It’s fascinating and really important to keep in mind when talking
with students about searching and looking at information critically,”
The library guide is a work in progress and will be updated
frequently, Nicol said. While its focus is on anti-Black racism now, the
guide will be expanded in the future to include more and different
types of resources, and to look at racism that affects different groups.
Gone are the students walking through Holland and Terrell
Libraries, mixed conversations and footsteps and the tantalizing smell of fries
trailing in their wake. Also gone are the in-person exchanges between
librarians and students searching for research help and answers, or the pleasant
reverie that comes with handling an old text in Manuscripts, Archives and
Special Collections. Closed physically since March 21 out of concern for
COVID-19, WSU Libraries, like libraries around the country, have changed their
brick-and-mortar interactions with patrons to a largely digital-only realm, transforming
services and operations.
Humanities librarian Erin Hvizdak doesn’t see the increased
reliance on digital resources changing any time soon, which has necessitated a change
in the role of academic libraries during the pandemic’s duration and beyond. An
Library Association survey in May and a June Inside
Higher Ed opinion piece echo Hvizdak’s observations.
“We will have to re-examine our workflows, digital resource
quality, costs and more,” she said. “We’re already in the midst of this and have
been ramping this up for years, but if classes continue to be largely online
for the foreseeable future, if researchers aren’t traveling as much or if people
just start to expect or want that more, I think that all libraries and archives
will have to think more creatively about the delivery of resources.”
Virtual reference on the rise
Email and other virtual communications filled the void left when librarians and patrons could no longer meet physically. Access services manager Sue Shipman and Marsha Yim, library and archives paraprofessional, have answered the bulk of email queries.
“Sue Shipman and Marsha Yim are fielding three times as many
questions as they did in the past,” Hvizdak said. “In the weeks prior to the
library closure, Sue and Marsha were averaging about 10 questions a week; now
they are averaging more than 30 a week.”
WSU librarians have answered nearly three times as many
email questions than at the same time last year, Hvizdak added. Librarians also
responded to twice as many LibAnswers questions as last year. The questions
tended to be more involved: walking patrons through databases, finding and obtaining
resources for their research, and more. In addition, there was an increase in
questions regarding online access to resources.
“This obviously isn’t surprising, but it demonstrates that
patrons are increasingly going to be asking these types of questions, and the
libraries are also shifting in this direction,” she said. “The libraries’ main
mission is access to resources to support research and teaching, and as these
are increasingly done from a distance, we are shifting our mindset to make sure
that more things are immediately accessible online.”
Hvizdak noted a slight increase in WSU patron questions over
24/7 chat, but librarians are answering a higher number of questions from other
schools (part of a reciprocal service through “Ask-WA,” run by the Washington
State Library), demonstrating that “all libraries are increasingly collaborating
to provide services to their patrons, no matter where they come from.”
Hvizdak has also spoken to faculty recently about how to
increase student access to electronic materials for research this summer and
into fall as WSU prepares for possible new types of course delivery and a likely
increase in online delivery.
“I expect these requests to continue,” she said.
Video tutorials, research guides and instruction trends
Patrons sought information through other forms of library
media during the latter part of spring semester. From March 1-May 8, WSU
Libraries recorded 463 views of video tutorials, embedded in library research
guides and the “How Do I…?” webpages.
“How Do I…?” tutorials were visited 2,714 times during the same time period. The
libraries continue to see consistent use of their other online research tools,
such as LibGuides, which
curate disciplinary resources for easy access.
“The majority of our top videos was course-related (Roots of
Contemporary Issues specifically) and showed users how to use Chicago Manual of
Style formatting in Word, search specific databases like JSTOR and Proquest
Newsstream, and find primary sources in Search It,” said Jen Saulnier, online
learning librarian. “The other top videos during this time period had to do
with remote access: using the proxy bookmarklet, checking due dates and
renewing items, and requesting full-text articles.
“Our tutorials are being used consistently, and we’ve been
seeing a lot of the ones that cover off-campus access being used most
frequently,” she said.
Library tutorials can be linked to in course spaces. If
faculty/staff want course-specific tutorials or see a need to cover a certain
topic, they can request a
library tutorial be made.
Although most library instruction was completed before the
libraries’ closure, first-year experience librarian Erica England still delivered
more than 30 sessions, about one quarter of what was remaining from overall
spring instruction numbers for English composition. Instruction and assessment
librarian Corey Johnson recorded eight sessions for Roots of Contemporary
“Just like everything else—collections, materials, reference
delivery, etc.—library instruction had to quickly adapt to the world changing
so dramatically in such a short time,” England said, “and even though it was in
a much different format than ‘normal’ library instruction, students and
instructors both still found it beneficial. Students received the foundational
research skills necessary to complete assignments and have a successful
“Most importantly, we are still here for students, we still
want to help them and they’re not alone when it comes to research,” she added. “We
are going to do everything possible to help them become successful researchers.”
“It is great that we can continue to do a lot of public
services functions online during this COVID-19 period,” Johnson said. “It is my
hope that we get back fully to pre-COVID-19 operations by summer 2021.”
Going the extra mile
According to university archivist Mark O’English, MASC staff
helped several classes and responded to requests remotely even as use of the
physical archives by patrons came to a halt. Instead, users relied more on
MASC’s digital collections.
O’English, manuscripts librarian Gayle O’Hara and Trevor Bond, associate dean
for digital initiatives and special collections, found themselves delving into
the archives and scanning requested resources for absent scholars, something
the researchers would normally do themselves.
“We are going the extra mile and doing more research for
others,” O’English said. “I would not be surprised to find I was spending
nearly as much time as I normally do for reference, albeit for what feels like
O’English is more interested in the DIY spirit of users of
MASC’s digital collections for various projects: reporter Maggie Quinlan
researched recordings for a Spokesman-Review
article about Washington State College student soldiers dying during the
1918 Spanish flu pandemic; a Spokane sports broadcaster explored MASC
collections for historical WSU sports stories; and an individual looking for
Grand Coulee Dam information happily discovered the collection
of Clifford R. Koester, an engineer on the dam’s construction in the 1930s
“The patron had seen the Banks digital
collection, but he was unaware of Koester and was really excited to have
that digital collection to work through,” O’English said.
For her part, O’Hara has noticed an uptick in requests from
international researchers in Germany, France and British Columbia. For another
researcher of a Kenyan runners’ project who was unable to visit MASC, O’Hara
reviewed materials from the WSU Athletics Department records and the WSU News
Subject files, went over them with him on the phone and then made the scans
“I think with everyone on lockdown, there is more time to
look into things that were maybe on the backburner for them,” she said. “I do
have a couple of folks that have expressed interest in coming to look at
materials once we are open to the public. They go into my ‘COVID follow-up’
email folder, and I will touch base with them again once we are open and have
clarity about visiting MASC.”
And finally, a last MASC reference oddity during the library
closure involved animal skins mailed to MASC. O’English learned that they are
called “Victory Skins,” where the fraternities of one school would bet the
opposing school for the skins before a big game.
“The fraternity members that I got in touch with had literally been trying to figure out what happened to all of theirs, and lamenting that none of them remained,” he said. “They are very excited to hear about these; I gave their two back to them, and they’re going to end up framed and on the fraternity wall. I love finally having an answer as to what these are and the enthusiasm from these alums.”
What’s the new normal for WSU Libraries?
By and large, the answer to that question is uncertain, at
least until more information and support is available.
“I think Access Services’ ideas of a new normal will vary
greatly over the summer as we learn what our colleagues in other institutions
are doing to keep their patrons and staff safe and how they will respond to
requests for information,” Shipman said.
She suggests several possible changes. The libraries may see
an upswing in their document delivery service, such as requests by WSU patrons
for scans of chapters and articles from WSU-owned physical collections, as
people may want to limit the amount of time they spend in public. That could
also translate to fewer patrons onsite in general, as well as more requests
from Global students if more people opt to use online learning instead of being
Some institutions are looking at using their booking systems
to reserve seating and computers, since these will be scarcer with social-distancing
restrictions, Shipman said.
“We are looking at how to limit our proximity to patrons as
we check out material to them,” she added. “We most likely will have them swipe
their own cards, for instance, and we are looking at self-checkout machines for
Other institutions are having to reconfigure how they get
physical course reserves into their students’ hands, Shipman noted. But that
leads to more questions, like how to quarantine and sanitize two-hour loans. In
addition, sanitization protocols will need to be developed and put in place for
public computers and surfaces.
Libraries associate dean Beth Blakesley said until the
university makes final decisions and provides signage, supplies and protocols,
it is impossible to know what’s in store for WSU Libraries. The university is
taking a centralized approach so that all buildings are outfitted and signed
“[Facilities Services employees] are doing a campus walkthrough
because there are many differences in buildings,” she said. “But the consistent
approach is the plan, and I think it’s a good one. The signage in the libraries
will be the same signage in Lighty, the CUB, classrooms, everywhere. It’s probably
a good technique for getting the message across.”
Saulnier said she believes it will be important to continue
to be vocal about the work library employees are doing to provide help and
access to patrons if they can’t come into the libraries.
“Even as things slowly open back up, there are going to be a
lot of people who may not feel comfortable coming in, so continuing to make
sure that people know we offer research help through chat or have tutorials
that can help them use the library will be crucial,” she said.
In MASC, Bond said more flexibility will be needed to meet
scholars’ requests. For example, staff members are digitizing more collections
on demand to facilitate research and using technology to evaluate archival collections
with researchers, such as looking through boxes during Zoom calls. When MASC
eventually opens again, limits will be placed on the number of researchers in
the reading room to maintain a safe environment. Next year may even see MASC
instruction given in new ways, such as small group activities in the Terrell Atrium
or in other larger and more open spaces.
“Long term, I think that we will continue to work together
in person for the activities where that is essential, but for meetings and
other activities where it’s not, we will use technology,” he said. “As an
institution, I think that all of us in the libraries care about community and
making our patrons feel welcome, so we will continue to value that and look for
ways to accommodate it.”
Perhaps the greatest challenge for campus libraries during the pandemic closure is restoring the lost sense of community from pre-COVID-19 days.
“This is especially true for public libraries, but it helps people to meet in person, to feel like they have a relationship with a librarian, to feel like they are being heard,” Hvizdak said. “This is hard sometimes over email or chat. You can better gauge and work around something like library anxiety in person. How do you re-create that same sense of connection when you can’t meet in person?”
In response to budget concerns, WSU Libraries will transition from
the Kanopy on-demand streaming film service to a request-based format.
While the pay-per-view Kanopy program has been well used, it has become
increasingly difficult to financially sustain.
“The current budget uncertainties keep us from offering unlimited
access to Kanopy at this time,” said Beth Blakesley, WSU Libraries
associate dean. “However, we are looking at the easiest ways to
streamline the process while better controlling our costs to make sure
that classes and researchers have access to the films they need.”
Faculty can request a Kanopy film by filling out a purchase request form
for any title they plan to use in class or for educational purposes.
The WSU Libraries will then work to make sure the film is licensed in
time for the assignment and/or that a currently licensed title is not
about to expire.
Kanopy films are licensed for one year. If faculty members will use a
film beyond this time period, they must make a new media request for
the title prior to the semester they plan to use the film to ensure that
it is licensed again. Please give libraries’ staff ample lead time to
fulfill requests for streaming media.