Thursday, December 26, 2013

Green Libraries are more than just buildings

I happened to take a look at the latest issue of Electronic Green Journal and found this article with the title above.  George J. Aulisio argues, among other things, that a library can itself be a teaching tool.  That's part of what we are trying to accomplish at Western.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Climate Change Haiku

Checkout this Sightline Daily post about  Northwest oceanographer Dr. Gregory Johnson who translated the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report into a series of haiku with lovely illustrations, making some aspects of this complex information attractive and accessible. This is a great example of how science and literary art are not mutually exclusive! As the Sightline article states, Johnson "proves that scientists can also be poets."

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Movies on Sustainability, free for the streaming

The Environmental Film Festival will be in Washington D.C. in March.  But right now you can watch 20 films from previous years' festivals, streaming on your computer!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pet Partners Program: Wellness & Sustainability

Students Rachel & Kari visit with Jigi

I have written before about "wellness" and sustainability, and it should come as no surprise that the human health & well-being aspect of sustainability is of huge importance to me. As I have said before, wellness and sustainability are intrinsically connected, and the better we feel, the better everything is in our lives, including our work and our relationships. With that in mind, I wanted to remind you that Western Libraries is lucky to have four more days of visits from the Pet Partners program, here to help the Western community "de-stress" during Finals Week.

Student Sarah with Henry

Whatcom Therapy Dogs and Pet Partners have generously teamed up with Western Libraries to participate in campus visits during both the week of and preceding Finals Week, and they are located in the library in the gallery space at the north end of the Skybridge between the hours of 10:00 am and 8:00 pm, from now through Dec. 12 (with the last visit that day ending at 4:00 pm). According to a recent article in The Bellingham Herald that discussed the benefits of Pet Partner programs for seniors, research shows that contact with animals can reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, and ward off depression.

Willey & Friends

When I worked at the Circulation Desk here in the library, I was definitely a fan of this program, and I  appreciated the excitement of our students when the Pet Partners came to visit, but in my new role of Library Communications Program Coordinator, I have really had the pleasure of getting to spend more time witnessing first-hand the positive effects this program has on our students and the Western community. I hope you will get a chance to come over for a quick visit to relax for a moment and say hello! Believe me, if you are having a stressful day, nothing will put a smile on your face and make you feel better faster than contact with these amazing animals (and their very kind and generous human partners!)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The History of Food in America, sort of

I went to the Lunch and Learn today on the subject of food sustainability - and what a great pot luck!  Soup!  Pie!  Crusty bread! 

All of this got me thinking about, of course, government information.

Okay, I'm the government information librarian, so it's a vocational hazard.  But take a look at the titles of some of these early twentieth century Department of Agriculture publications, all in our collection.  Back then the farmer didn't have the Internet.  He or she might not have had access to a library.  These free or inexpensive pamphlets available from the County Agricultural Agent might make a big difference in crops, and therefore income.  I wonder how good the advice would be today?  By the way, most of the pre-1976 government publications we own are not in the online catalog, but the call numbers below will get you there, in Haggard 2.

Adequate diets for families with limited incomes (1931) A 1.38: 113
American medicinal plants of commercial importance
(1930) A 1. 38:77
Are we well fed?
(1941) A 1.38: 430
Blue fox farming in Alaska
(1925) A 1.3: 1350
Consumption of food in the United States, 1909-49
(1949) A 1.38: 691
Cooperative marketing
(1920) A 1.9: 1144
DDT and other insecticides and repellents developed for the armed forces
(1946) A 1.38: 608
The farm woman’s problems (1920) A 1.4: 148
Harmfulness of headache mixtures
(1909) A 1.9: 377
Is the public market a good civic investment? (1931) A 1.35:73
Kudzu as a farm crop
(1943) A 1.9: 1923
Northwestern apple packing houses
(1921) A 1.9: 1204
The sanitary privy
(1915) A 1.9: 463 (That's an outdoor toilet)
The school garden
(1917) A 1.9: 218
Some forms of food adulteration and simple methods for their detection
(1911) A 7.3:100
Toward farm security
(1938) A 1.38: 308

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lunch and Learn tomorrow - with free lunch!

Have you heard the term TANSTAAFL?  There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.  You can put that to the test tomorrow because there will be free locally-made soup at the Lunch and Learn session.  Special location: Fairhaven 318.  Special Time: well, actually the usual time: 12:30-1:30 PM.  Special guests: John Tuxill of Fairhaven College, Karl Meyer of the Community Food Coop, and staff members from Outback Farm.

So, if it isn't free, what's the catch?  There are three.  One, you have to bring your own bowl and spoon.  Two, it's a potluck, so feel free to bring something to share.  Three, you get to participate in a discussion on sustainable food. 

Still sounds pretty free to me.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Environmental Justice & Climate Change: Special Quarter

In case you had not yet heard, just want to share with you some exciting news about a number of great classes being offered next quarter through Fairhaven College focusing on environmental justice and climate change. Rumor has it that next quarter's Fairhaven-sponsored World Issues Forum Speaker Series will also focus on themes of environmental justice and climate change.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Invisible bike helmets

Hi, this is Rob, the Green Shelfer who is somewhat bike-obsessed.  Two weeks ago I blogged about US embassy staff in Denmark in their assorted bike helmets.  Now we go back to Scandinavia for an amazing advance in head-safe technology.  My advice: watch the three-minute video all the way through.  It builds up suspense wonderfully until you finally get to see how the magic helmet works.  Clever!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

11/19/13 Lunch & Learn: "Libraries: A Sustainable and Sustaining Resource"

This Tuesday's "Lunch & Learn" is about libraries! 

Western’s Office of Sustainability, the Teaching-Learning Academy, and Western Libraries invite you to an interactive and stimulating “Lunch & Learn” session.  

Join Rick Osen, Western Libraries’ Assistant Dean for Administration and Planning, as well as members of the Libraries’ Sustainability Team, as they consider the topic: 
“Libraries: A Sustainable and Sustaining Resource.” (And yes, in case you were wondering, Hans will definitely be there.) 

DATE: Tuesday, November 19 from 12:30 to 1:30 pm
LOCATION: Wilson Library 265

For more information, check out these links:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Afterlife of Books

Sometimes a library has to get rid of a book.  Maybe it is worn out.  Maybe there is a newer edition.  Maybe it is a 1988 manual on word processing and no one would look at it on a bet.

What happens to those books afterwards?  It's nice to think they go on to A Better Place.  And sometimes they do.  Sometimes people find a way to reuse them.  See this wonderful article in Colleges and Research Libraries News on the RE:BOOK Contest.  (Okay, this is the 2012 poster.  I couldn't find a copy of the 2013 poster that would load.  But the new one is in the article.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

AS Environmental Club Summit is November 14th (TOMORROW)!

There is a really cool event happening on campus tomorrow that I wanted to share with you in case you have not yet heard about it. Join AS environmentally-themed clubs and programs in celebrating and exploring what they have already done and where they still want to go in the world of sustainability.

Guest speaker James Wells will be speaking about how to find your own voice and become empowered to speak publicly about the issues that matter most to you. I can personally attest to how articulate, thoughtful, and engaging James is, and I am sure this promises to be a really wonderful event.

This Environmental Club Summit is sponsored by the AS Environmental Center, and local businesses have provided food for the event, so you are encouraged to bring your own plate, utensils, and mug!

For more information, check out the Environmental Club Summit Facebook page.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Western's TLA Goes Platinum!

Check out this photo from last week's Sustainable Office Certification Program Award's Ceremony! Thanks to the dedicated and innovative work of the Teaching-Learning Academy, they have managed to reach the highest possible level of Platinum ranking in the SOC program. Serving as an inspiration to the rest of the Learning Commons and Western Libraries, they are definitely worthy of congratulations and recognition. Way to go TLA! Thanks for all that you are doing!

If you would like to learn more about how you can participate in this or other sustainability programs at Western, check out the Office of Sustainability's website for more information.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Viking Liking Biking

Who are these people?  Would you believe federal employees, hard at work? In Copenhagen biking to work is extremely common and that includes people who work at the U.S. Embassy.  Last spring 25 employees participated in Denmark's Bike To Work Day, and both of their teams clocked more than 2,000 kilometers.  Plus, they looked really cool in their assorted helmets.  Read all about it in State Magazine

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Make a Ripple

Cool video from the University of British Columbia about keeping their campus sustainable.  Some exciting ideas! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Don't Miss Tuesday's "Lunch and Learn," part of WWU Sustainability Week 2013

Just another reminder that Monday (11/4) kicks off Sustainability Week here at WWU. There are lots of great things happening, but one thing I always look forward to is the "Lunch and Learn" sustainability-themed conversations that take place in Wilson Library.

This week's talk features WWU Grad and Artist Services Coordinator at Allied Arts Katy Borden, who will be speaking about the role of the arts in "sustainability." Please join us for what promises to be an engaging presentation and conversation! Feel free to bring your lunch, and note that there is always hot tea waiting for you at these sessions as well. Hope to see you there!

WHERE: WILSON LIBRARY TLA SEATING AREA (the little alcove area to the left of the Learning Commons info desk).

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Knowing is not Doing

Through one of the many services our library provides I have the tables of contents of certain journals sent to my email automatically, and this time an interesting article popped up in Biodiversity and Conservation.  Habel et al. point out that we can't assume that the goals of conservation scientists are the same as conservation managers.  They can be talking past each other or even working at cross purposes.  I wonder if the same thing happens between those who study sustainability and those attempting to engage in it?  "Mind the gaps when using science to address conservation concerns."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Friday at the Library: COME CELEBRATE!

There will be all kinds of celebrations in the Library this Friday afternoon and we hope to see you all there!

1-2 PM. Library Skybridge.  Celebrating 50 years of providing government information to the public!  We have been a federal depository library since 1962 and we will be showing off with cake, speeches, and displays of weird government documents (jigsaw puzzles, comic books, how-to-grow-hemp).  Did we mention cake?

2-3:30 PM.   Library Presentation Room.  (Wilson Library 164).  Four Western professors, all expert researchers, will explain how they use government information in their work.  One will be Andy Bach of Huxley College's  Department of Environmental Studies.

4-6 PM.  Main Reading Room (Wilson Library 4 Central) The opening of the Northwest Collection in its new home, the Main Reading Room.  There will be a reception from 4-5 and from 5-6 John Scurlock, a great Washington photographer, will discuss his pictures of the Cascades.

Oh, and a bonus!  All day go to Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th Floor) to see "The Owl and the Woodpecker," a display of amazing photographs by Washington photographer Paul Bannick.

Next week is the big week

Click here for a larger view.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Telling the Sustainability Story

You never know where the S-word (okay, the good S-word) is going to jump out at you.  I was reading the October issue of PRINT magazine, a graphic design journal, and found an article by Jeremy Lehrer, called "The Sustainability Saga."  (If that link gives you trouble, go here, select Academic Search Complete, and search for the title.)

The article is about two companies working in communications about sustainability.  Jonah Sachs, is the founder of Free Range Studios, and author of Winning The Story Wars.  He has helped non-profits such as Greenpeace and Global Zero tell their stories in advertisements, and co-created Annie Leonard's classic film The Story of Stuff.  That movie has been seen 35 million times on the web.  Interesting piece.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Library on Two Wheels

In Denver (oh, those elevations!) the Public Library has a branch on a bicycle.  How cool is that?  Thanks to Going Green @ Your Library for the tip.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Social Justice Panel Discussion - Thursday, 10/24/13

Don't miss this great event on Thursday, October 24, as a panel of educators come together to talk about the ethical and moral issues facing us as we respond to the impact of climate change. Click here for more information about this event.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Flat Stanley and Flat Stella

I'm the government information librarian so I was checking out which websites are closed due to the government shutdown.  You will be thrilled to know that Flat Stanley and Flat Stella are still hard at work at the EPA promoting sustainability.  Way to go, kids! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Early Warming - Western Reads panel tomorrow evening!

Tomorrow evening you have the opportunity to join a diverse group of panelists  with expertise in environmental studies and science (Andy Bunn, Grace Wang, and Chris Linder) as they discuss the "Western Reads" book of the quarter, Early Warming: Crisis and Response in the Climate-Changed North by Nancy Lord.

Western Reads Science Panel Discussion

10/17/2013 7:00 pm
WHERE: Village Books, 1200 11th St., 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Owl & the Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker. Photo by Paul Bannick. 

I am pleased to share with you that Western Libraries is now hosting the amazing exhibit: The Owl & the Woodpecker in Washington: Photographs by Paul Bannick. Award winning photographer Paul Bannick examines the intertwined life histories of owls and woodpeckers and the unique roles they play in defining and enriching their often-threatened habitats. 

The exhibit, housed in Western Libraries' Special Collections space on the 6th floor of Wilson Library, is now open for viewing from October 14, 2013 through December 31, 2013 durinregular Special Collections hours (closed on weekends and on major holidays). Come check out these gorgeous pictures of extraordinary birds! (Western Libraries is also planning an event with a guest speaker to further highlight this wonderful exhibit, details coming TBA soon.)

The Owl & the Woodpecker in Washington was organized by the Burke Museum, University of Washington, created with Paul Bannick and Braided River, a partner of The Mountaineers Books. Sponsorship of the local presentation of The Owl & the Woodpecker in Washington is provided by Western Libraries.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Trash Dance at the Pickford

As part of their Doctober special, the Pickford is showing what sounds like an  interesting flick tomorrow:

Sometimes inspiration is found in unexpected places. Choreographer Allison Orr finds beauty and grace in garbage trucks — and in the men and women who pick up our trash. She joins city sanitation workers on their daily routes to listen, learn, and ultimately to try to convince them to collaborate in a unique dance performance. Hard working, often carrying a second job, their lives are already full with work, family and dreams of their own. But some step forward, and after months of rehearsal, two dozen trash collectors and their trucks perform an extraordinary spectacle. On an abandoned airport runway, thousands of people show up to see how in the world a garbage truck can “dance.”

Thursday, October 10th 5:45 PM

Peace Corps Volunteer Sharing Her Story TODAY!

WWU alumna Samantha Russell will be on campus today to talk about her experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in Fiji, where she will soon be returning to finish her service. Come listen to her share her story, and take advantage of this great opportunity to learn more about the Peace Corps!

The event is happening today (10/9) from 4:00 to 5:00pm in AW 204. For more info, check out the Western Today article, or contact Jill MacIntyre Witt, WWU's Campus Peace Corps Representative, at (360) 650-3017.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lunch and Learn about Sustainability!

Western Sustainability invites students, faculty,  staff and the public to a new series of “Lunch & Learn” Sustainability Conversations, Fall Quarter 2013.

These events are a continuation of the successful Sustainability Conversation series  in the Western Libraries last year, hosted by Western Sustainability, in collaboration with the Teaching-Learning Academy and Western Libraries Sustainability Team.

All Fall 2013 Lunch & Learn conversations are held on Tuesdays, from 12:30 - 1:30 pm. October 8th and November 5th and 19th events are located in Wilson 265 (TLA seating area). The December 3rd conversation, potluck lunch will be at Fairhaven College, - room # TBA.

October 8 –  Got Green Campus Ideas?
If  you are looking to make the campus greener, more sustainable, more energy efficient, join the conversation with  Western’s A.S. Green Energy Fee Program Coordinator Regan Clover, and Education Coordinator Sadie Normoyle, and learn more at this week’s Lunch & Learn Sustainability Conversation.

Anyone in the campus community can apply for a Small Grant between $500 and $2,000, or a Large Grant between $2,000 and $300,000. Western’s students, faculty, and staff are invited to submit proposals for the 2013-2014 Green Energy Fee Grant Program.   Proposal due dates are just around the corner, so come, talk, and learn more.

Tuesday, Oct 8. 12:30 – 1:30 – Wilson 265 – tea, mugs, hot water, and comfortable seating provided.  Bring your lunch if you like.

Lunch & Learn Sustainability  Conversations Calendar for the rest of Fall Quarter below - more details to come:

November 5 – The role of the Arts in Sustainability, with
Katy Borden, WWU Graduate, Artist Services Coordinator, Allied Arts of Whatcom County

November 19 – Libraries: A sustainable and Sustaining Resource, with Rick Osen, Assistant Dean, Western Libraries;  Clarissa Mansfield, Rob Lopresti,  Shevell Thibou, Western Libraries Sustainability Team

December 3 –Sustainable Food: local food, small-scale farming, permaculture, relational eating, experiential learning, nourishment, beauty, fun and chickens. 
Location: Fairhaven College & the Outback Experiential Learning Center.   This conversation includes a potluck lunch, with optional Outback Farm tour afterward!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Earth 911

Here's an interesting website with some practical suggestions for recycling - and some that strike me as more work than they are worth.  But hey,  making mosaics out of celebrities' garbage was never my thing.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Do you have "Recycling Bias?"

I heard an interesting story on NPR this past Friday morning about something they referred to as "recycling bias." Apparently, there was a study that indicated people are more likely to recycle entire sheets of paper than scrap paper bits. The scrap pieces generally wind up in the garbage can. And this isn't only true of paper; other objects, such as smashed soda cans (as opposed to in-tact cans) were also more likely to be thrown in the bin destined for the landfill, rather than in the one meant for recycling.

Marketing Professor Remi Truedel from Boston University conducted the research, and according to the NPR story noted:

"When a product is sufficiently distorted or changed in size or form, consumers perceive it as less useful, and when they perceive it as less useful, they're more likely to throw it in the garbage, as opposed to recycle it."

According to this same story, the EPA estimates that paper and paperboard made up 28% of the waste in 2011, while plastic and metal equaled another 22 %. Truedel asserts that we can change our habits by becoming more aware of our own biases, and by reconsidering what we think garbage is. It's an intriguing idea--if you are interested, you can check out the original story here.