WKU Libraries Blog

News and events from WKU Libraries

WKU Libraries Blog - News and events from WKU Libraries

Booktalk: Karen Petrone at the WKU Owensboro Campus, Nov. 5 at 7pm.

On Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 7 pm, the WKU Owensboro Campus will be hosting a reprise of Karen Petrone’s April Far Away Places talk on “The Great War (WWI) in Russian Memory,” also the title of her book, available from Indiana University Press. Dr. Petrone is the chair of the Department of History at the University of Kentucky, and her work focuses on cultural histories of Russia and the Soviet Union. In addition to The Great War in Russian Memory, she has also published a book entitled Life Has Become More Joyous, Comrades: Celebrations in the Time of Stalin, also from Indiana University Press.

This encore performance is part of a larger range of activities the Owensboro Campus has arranged, along with its partners Owensboro Community and Technical College (part of the KCTCS system) and the Daviess County Public Library, which has included author-speakers, presentations from faculty, movie nights, and a salute to veterans that will occur on Nov. 1, 2014 at 2 pm.

This event will be held in the Badgett Conference Center at the Owensboro Campus, 4821 New Hartford Rd, Owensboro.

Please contact Jennifer Wright at jennifer.wright2@wku.edu or the Owensboro Campus Library at 270 852 7785 for more information.

Author Sherry Logsdon at an Encore Kentucky Live! in Glasgow


Asylum, by Sherry Logsdon

WKU graduate and retired teacher/counselor Sherry Logsdon will discuss her new novel Asylum at our Glasgow Regional Center Library on Thursday, October 30 at 5 p.m. The novel focuses attention on the incarceration of women in insane asylums in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in many cases for their outspoken views on women’s rights.

Logsdon Sherry 2014 photo

Sherry Logsdon, Author

Originally from Grayson County, Mrs. Logsdon now resides in Eastview, Kentucky with her husband. She graduated WKU with a Bachelors in Special Education and a Masters in Counseling. Logsdon’s current passions include researching insane asylums, women’s rights and the suffragettes, and the power of poetry.

sherrylogsdonpostcardfront copy

Event Postcard

A book signing and reception will follow. We hope you’ll join us.

The Glasgow Regional Center is located at:

500 Hilltopper Way
Glasgow, KY 42141

Trick or Treat

John CarpenterWKU is known for ghosts and those who hunt them.  The Folklife Archives houses many collected stories and legends about ghosts and other kinds of monsters, start with Supernatural Experiences.

WKU Libraries has many books related to the supernatural as well.

Ghosts have been known to appear in the Kentucky Library collections.

WKU Archives contains images and writings of John Carpenter, a local boy whose name has become synonymous with Halloween.

View a Kentucky Museum Pecha Kucha talk about the origins of Halloween.

Happy Halloween!!

Resources rounded up by WKU Archives Assistant April McCauley.

#AskAnArchivist Day

SAA LogoOctober 30th has been declared Ask An Archivist Day.  Archivists from around the country will be monitoring Twitter to respond to your questions.  The day long event is sponsored by the Society of American Archivists as the send off for Archives Month.

No question is too silly . . .

  • What is the craziest thing you’ve come across in your collections?
  • If your archives has a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
  • What do archivists talk about around the water cooler?

. . . and no question is too practical!

  • As a teacher, how can I get my students more interested in using archives for projects?
  • What should I do to be sure my emails won’t get lost?
  • I’ve got scads of digital images on my phone.  How should I store them so I can access them later?
  • How do you decide which items to keep and which to weed out from a collection?

Just tweet your question and include the hashtag #AskAnArchivist in your tweet.

Follow along through the day to see questions and answers.

And even after Archives Month is over you can ask us questions at WKU Archives – archives@wku.edu


Kentucky Archives MonthThere are days in the archives that I feel like Dug the talking Dog from the movie Up.  I’m sitting at my desk working and all of a sudden . . . SQUIRREL!

It’s not that I’m easily distracted.  It is the nature of archival work that processing a collection of departmental papers may lead to the identification of a photograph.  Once I open that file cabinet to get the folder of photographs, I see there are 4 or 5 folders for that particular department and I am all of a sudden processing photographs.  Which in turn may lead to the prep work to have the unidentified images digitized.   Continue reading

Open Access Week – KenCat

Open Access

Open Access

Special Collections are often referred to as hidden collections.  They require a special environment, careful handling and labor intensive description work to make them available.  In the time it takes to process a small collection of photographs I suspect a book cataloger could catalog about 250 books.

WKU’s Special Collections are over 75 years old and we are just now beginning to gain ground in opening our hidden collections with the help computer technology.  KenCat is your portal into our world of special collections.  Since purchasing this software in 2005 we have created descriptions of over 56,000 items housed in the Kentucky Building.  There are rare books on all sorts of topics, books about Kentucky, maps, photographs, documents, oral histories, blueprints, postcards, newspapers, memorabilia, letters, diaries and much more.

KenCat went live late in 2007 and searches have been steadily increasing since that first year from 2 to 21,566 so far this year.  We will continue to reveal more and more of our treasures in the years to come.

“Plowed all day and never got done”

Charles & Susan Omer

Charles & Susan Omer

Union County, Kentucky native Charles Henry Omer (1865-1937) was a substitute teacher, postmaster, merchant, Mason, and elder at the Morganfield Christian Church.  He and his wife Susan were the parents of 13 children, including two sets of twins.  Somehow, they found time not only for their primary pursuit of farming, but for the maintenance of a journal that recorded the family’s daily activities from 1904-1932.  Common topics over its hundreds of pages were, as one would expect, the weather, income and expenses, with the prices of food, timber, farm supplies and labor faithfully noted.  But other details add color to this chronicle of agricultural life, for example:

May 23, 1904:  It rained a little this morning. . . . went to Morganfield to see the Bloomer Girls play Baseball in the afternoon Expenses 70c Light-Bread 10 Sausages Bananas 10 Peanuts 5 crackers 5 steak 20 Ice cream soda 10 = 1.30

May 3, 1905:  I took my crosscut saw out to Tom Berry’s and got him to sharpen it and I took his place rolling logs while he was fixing it.

July 9, 1913:  I let Uncle John Berry go down to Sister Mollie’s and got a horse collar to work on Lizzie so he could plow my patch of corn he plowed all day and never got done.

Feb. 27, 1923:  I hung 4 hams my 2nd killing today & cleaned the hog feet to my last killing & put them to soak to cook tomorrow.

Oct. 26, 1930:  I got up at 4:30 and went to the c[hristian] church and fired up the furnace and back at 7:30 and eat breakfast and then killed 2 chickens to bake.

May 31, 1932: Mrs. Omer & I have been married 33 years today.  I took about a qt. of pumpkin seed to both Wilhelm and Miller to plant.

The Omer family farm journal is part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  Click here to access a finding aid.  To explore other collections relating to agriculture (the 2014 focus of Kentucky Archives Month), search TopSCHOLAR  and KenCat.

Kentucky Archives Month poster

International Open Access Week – Generation Open

Open Access

Open Access

SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition coordinates the annual International Open Access Week.  This year’s theme is Generation Open, that is to say the focus is upon student and early career researchers.  In keeping with the theme, WKU Libraries is focusing upon our student researchers past and present.

We make access to student research projects and creative activities available by posting them on TopSHOLAR which went live in 2007.  Since that time works by students have been downloaded over 487,000 times. Continue reading

Author Jason Mott participated in 2014 SOKY Reads!

9780778317074.inddSOKY Reads! proved extremely successful last week as numerous community members and students visited with Jason Mott, author of this year’s featured book The Returned. Mott attended David Bell’s creative writing class and talked about his book, getting published, and what it takes to be a successful writer. He also offered to sign books and addressed a large crowd at the Bob Kirby Library, and participated in two separate luncheons, answering questions from members of three different book clubs. DSC_0023

This year, SOKY Book Fest partners gave out 500 books of The Returned and offered book discussions at various community locations, including the public library branches, at Western Kentucky University, and at Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College.

 Photo Album


Mistaken for the Devil


WKU is celebrating the International Year of Ecuador during the 2014-2015 academic year.  All types of events including film presentations, lectures, exhibits, and foodways demonstrations have been planned across campus.  Interestingly in researching for an exhibit titled “Ecuador in Library Special Collections” at the Kentucky Building, curators found several letters written by the U.S. consul to Ecuador and his wife, Edward Rumsey Wing and Louise (Green) Wing.  They both write back to her Kentucky parents telling them about their exciting adventures, longing for home, intellectual pursuits, family affairs, and adjustment to a new culture.  Wing served in Quito from 1870 to 1874.

In a June 1870 letter Louise writes her parents back in Grayson County, Kentucky, about an experience traveling through the Ecuadorian mountains.

Imagine me in a mask, goggles, veil, man’s hat, green yarn gloves, the thickest of clothing, trotting on a mule past a snow clad mountain—grand, threatening, and awe inspiring. I thought I should never see the last of it, and I pray that I may never behold it again while I live.  By the by I was taken for the Devil in the costume by a little crosseyed Indian girl who insisted I was le diablo.  Our eyes & faces are still afflicted from the sands & wind.  Rumsey looked as if he had been on a royal spree for [the] last forty years and I am not quite a beauty myself.

Toward the end of the letter, Louise summarizes her feelings about the mountain trip:

Language fails me when I attempt to tell you what I have endured and seen in this delectable Republic of Ecuador.  I do not wish to recall it.  Indeed I should like to blot the whole journey thus far, until all of its extentuating and beautiful surroundings, entirely from my memory.  Much to my amazement I reached this spot alive, and today am almost myself— again, though stiff & burnt to a crisp.

To search for other letters and diaries written from distant lands search our finding aids in TopSCHOLAR.

Two Scottish Duchesses in the Age of Men

Dr. Kathy Callahan from Murray State University talked about Scottish duchesses to WKU Libraries' Far Away Places audience at Barnes and Noble, Bowling Green, KY.

WKU Libraries hosted its second Far Away Places event on October 23 at 7:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble bookstore titled “Two Scottish Duchesses in the Age of Men” featuring Kathy Callahan. Dr. Callahan is currently Head of the Department of History at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. Her talk focused on the lives and work of two Scottish duchesses, Anne Hamilton, duchess of Hamilton, and Anna Scott, duchess of Buccleuch. The two duchesses were contemporaries in the 17th century Scotland and governed their estates during a time when men customarily handled such affairs.

Photo Album | Sound File | Podcast

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