Category Archives: ERC

Haiwang Yuan translates popular children’s book series

Haiwang Yuan, Professor of Library Public Services, WKU, has recently published his translation of Different Carmela, a set of children’s picture books in China. This set of 12 books were originally the work of French author and illustrator Christian Jolibois and Christian Heinrich. It was translated into Chinese and sold millions in China. Yuan was invited to translate the Chinese version into English, as many of the Chinese parents want their children to start learning English at an early age. The original French version has won the French Cherbourg Teenagers’ Book Awards in 2001, the French Goncourt Children Literature Awards in 2003, the French Country Children’s Literature Awards in 2003, and the French Le Havre Children Literature Jury Awards in 2006.

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Haiwang Yuan, Professor & Coordinator of Web & Emerging Technologies, DLPS, WKU Libraries

Each of the 12 books describes an adventure by brother and sister chickens with their lamb friend. The adventures introduce to young readers great people like Columbus, Galileo, Aesop, the Montgolfier Brothers, and Sir Lancelot – one of the Knights of the Round Table, and even Martians! Without their even knowing it, young readers will learn from these adventurous stories how to be curious and courageous, and how to treat fairly those who look different from us.


Different Carmela children’s book set, translated by Haiwang Yuan

The set of books is accompanied with dramatic recordings of the text by two Americans, and the recording is accessible via a QR code printed on the back cover of each book. Readers of the books can scan the code with a scanner available in Wechat, a popular social media platform recently featured by New York Times at Entering the password acquired by purchasing the books, the readers can listen to the recordings right on their mobile devices.

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“Behind the Scenes” tour of the Educational Resources Center

Library faculty and staff took a “Behind the Scenes” tour of the Educational Resources Center (ERC) October 28 to learn more about the materials, patrons, and resources available for use. Ellen Micheletti, longtime staff member of the ERC staff, escorted the group, offering interesting information and tidbits about the ERC.

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New Displays at ERC

South Africa Display in large case across from ERC Circulation desk

IYO South Africa Display in large case across from ERC Circulation desk


WKU Libraries’ Educational Resources Center has installed new displays to advertise ERC resources as fall approaches. ERC Library Assistant Rebecca Nimmo was responsible for creating the displays, using her past experience in art installation and curation to better convey information in a visually pleasing and thought-provoking manner.

Patrons will see a Goosebumps-themed Halloween display in the Ellison Die area with a sample of ERC’s collection of spooky juvenile and young adult literature.



Goosebumps’ catchphrase “Readers Beware: You’re in for a Scare!” serves as the inspiration for the Halloween themed display



The Goosebumps theme to promote horror genre reading during the Halloween season


Inspired by WKU’s International Year of South Africa there is an art installation in the large display case across from the Circulation desk promoting notable South African figures Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela and South Africa books available in ERC.



Main display case promoting books about South Africa in ERC



ERC display supporting WKU’s IYO South Africa by honoring historic figures Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela


Finally Ready Reference display area currently hosts an installation honoring LGBT History Month, with an assortment of juvenile and young adult educational books and novels featuring LBGTQ+ characters.



LBGT History Month Display, including And Tango Makes Three


Display includes a sample of ERC's LGBTQ+ collection

Display includes a sample of ERC’s LGBTQ+ collection

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Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week

Event Flyer

WKU Libraries celebrates Banned Books Week between September 27 – October 3 to support the efforts of librarians in promoting intellectual freedom and combating censorship. To mark this week there are Banned Books Week displays on the 5th floor of Cravens library and at the Educational Resources Center (ERC) in Gary Ransdell Hall. All books in the displays are available to be checked out!

Cravens Library 5th Floor Display

Cravens Library 5th Floor Display


5th Floor Cravens Display


Reasons for Book Challenges


ERC Display

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ERC Display

Students at the ERC Banned Books Week Display

Students at the ERC Banned Books Week Display

The American Library Association maintains a list of the titles and reasons for frequently challenged books.

Below is an excerpt of an article published this week in American Libraries about Banned Books Week and the continued importance of fighting censorship for the freedom to read.

“Banned Books Week Roundup 2015: Recently banned and challenged books in US libraries and elsewhere

George M. Eberhart | September 29, 2015

As Banned Books Weekis celebrated September 27–October 3, it’s helpful to remember that there is still a need for vigilance to ensure the freedom to read. In 2015, books are still challenged (when an individual or group requests the removal or restriction of materials from a library or curriculum) and banned (when materials are removed outright from circulation), not only in the United States but in other countries as well.

Kristin Pekoll, assistant director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, says that librarians and teachers often feel frustrated by these efforts to restrict the scope of reading. “More and more, they are reaching out to our office for support because they’re feeling silenced by their administrations,” she says. “While the fear of losing their jobs is real, more often librarians tell me about professional retaliation in the form of book budget cuts or bad evaluations. The theory is that if their lives are made miserable enough, they’ll quit, and the books will be censored because no one is there to defend them.”

Here is a roundup of recent instances of book challenges in US school libraries, as well as one public and one academic library:

  • In February, parent Catrenna Lopez initiated a challenge to Gilbert Hernandez’s graphic novelPalomar after her son checked the book out from the Rio Rancho (N.Mex.) High School library, saying the content included “sexual graphics, prostitution, child pornography, child abuse, explicit sexual scenes, nudity.” A review committee met on March 16 and decided by a 5–3 vote that Palomarshould not be removed, but students under 18 would need a parent’s permission before it can be checked out. However, school librarian Brenda McCandless had independently made the decision to remove the book from the system in violation of school policy. (KOAT-TV, Albuquerque, July 7; KUNM-FM, Albuquerque, July 14.)
  • In mid-September, Hamilton Boone, the parent of a teen at Satellite High School in Satellite Beach, Florida, wanted Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved pulled from the Advanced Placement summer reading list because of what he called its “porn content.” However, after he admitted that he had not actually read the entire book, the school’s challenge committee unanimously voted to keep it on the reading list. (Melbourne Florida Today, Sept. 11.)
  • Two books, The Librarian of Basra and Nasreen’s Secret School, both by Jeanette Winter, werechallenged in the Duval County (Fla.) School District in July on the grounds that they “promote the Koran and praying to Muhammad,” according to Dianne Haines Roberts, grandparent of a student. She wanted the books removed from the 3rd grade curriculum. However, as the National Coalition Against Censorship pointed out in a July 30 letter to School Superintendent Nikolai P. Vitti, “Arguments that the books promote Islam are misguided: Learning about life in an Islamic culture is no more promoting Islam than learning about a Christian character is promoting Christianity.” The school decided to allow parents to opt their children out of reading the books. (WJCT-TV, Jacksonville, Fla., July 13.)
  • Allen Burch, principal of Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Florida, pulled Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time from the summer reading program in August after he received a few dozen complaints from parents about the book’s “profanity and atheism.” According to school policy, challenged books must go through a school review process, but Burch claimed this did not apply to summer reading lists. The Leon County School Board stood by Burch’s decision, but high school student Jaclyn Weinell wrote an op-ed piece for the Tallahassee newspaper that said the school ban was an attack on free thought and praised the book: “Student readers are encouraged to think—about autism, about family, about atheism, and about science—and see the world through the eyes of a 15-year-old narrator with a rather unique viewpoint.” (Tallahassee [Fla.] Democrat, Aug. 13, 24.)
  • In early September, Jackie Sims, the mother of a 15-year-old boy at Knox County (Tenn.) Schools’L&N STEM Academy, had objected to Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks when he brought it home as part of his summer reading, calling it “pornographic.” The school fully supported keeping the book, which details the true story of an African-American woman who in 1951 had a sample of her cells taken for research without her knowledge or consent, but Sims seemed determined to challenge the book at the district level. Skloot herself weighed in, saying that Sims had “confused gynecology with pornography” and that her objection was based on a passage that describes Henrietta Lacks’s infidelity and another that discusses her intimate discovery that she had a lump on her cervix. (WBIR-TV, Knoxville, Tenn., Sept. 9.)
  • Lee Runyon, principal of West Ashley High School in Charleston, South Carolina, pulled Courtney Summers’s Some Girls Are from a freshmen Honors English summer reading list in late July after aparent complained that the novel’s explicit content describing underage alcohol and drug use, sexual assault, and body image were age-inappropriate. Runyon replaced the book with Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak on the reading list, but did so without giving the school board a chance to review the challenge. Former YA librarian Kelly Jensen responded by collecting 830 donated copies of Some Girls Are and giving them away to teens in the area, with the help of the Charleston County Public Library. (Charleston Post and Courier, July 28; Book Riot, Sept. 4.)
  • In May, A. C. Reynolds High School in Asheville, North Carolina, temporarily suspended the use of Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling The Kite Runner in an Honors English class following a complaint from former school board member and parent Lisa Baldwin, who objected to “homosexuality and sexually explicit scenes.” The book was pulled from classrooms, pending review by two committees that finally recommended keeping it. In September, the Buncombe County School Board added a policy allowing teachers to continue using materials that have been challenged until a final decision is made. (Asheville Citizen-Times, May 4, Sept. 3.)
  • After a local Tea Party chapter circulated petitions to have two LGBT-themed books removed from the children’s section of the Hood County Library in Granbury, Texas, religious conservatives spoke at a July 14 meeting of the county commissioners and said their objections to This Day in June and My Princess Boy were based on their Christian faith. In the end, the commissioners agreed with the library board and recommended the books stay in the children’s collection. (The Raw Story, July 15.)
  • Tara Shultz, a 20-year-old student at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, California, and her parents in June attempted to have the school put a disclaimer on the syllabus of Associate Professor Ryan Bartlett’s English 250 fiction course because four of the graphic novels that he uses as course materials contain “lesbian oral sex, suicide, homosexuality, pedophilia . . . murder, torture.” The novels werePersepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, Y: The Last Man Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, and The Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman and various artists. Initially, College President Cheryl Marshall agreed to the disclaimer, but later backpedaled and decided to leave the decision up to individual instructors. (Redlands [Calif.] Daily Facts, June 15;Riverside [Calif.] Press-Enterprise, July 2.)

 Two notable instances of book-banning occurred this year in Italy and New Zealand:

  • One of the first official acts of the new mayor of Venice, Italy, Luigi Brugnaro, who took office June 15, was to pull nearly 50 children’s books on LGBT topics from libraries in the city’s preschools. Protests immediately erupted from residents, publishers, librarians, and 250 authors, who wrote to the mayor asking to have their own books removed in solidarity with the banned authors. Brugnaro soon reversed course and whittled the titles down to twoOphélie Texier’s Jean a deux mamans(Jean Has Two Mothers) and Francesca Pardi’s Piccolo uovo (Little Egg), the latter a story about an unhatched egg that encounters multiple types of happy families, including a pair of gay penguins, lesbian rabbits bringing up a family, a single-parent hippo, a mixed-race dog couple, and kangaroos that adopted polar bear cubs. Pardi even wrote to Pope Francis in July about the ban, sending him copies of her books, which, she emphasized, promote the Christian value of tolerance. Then on August 18 English musician Elton John, who owns a house in Venice, criticized the mayor in an Instagram post for politicizing children’s books: “Beautiful Venice is indeed sinking, but not as fast as the boorishly bigoted Brugnaro.” The mayor responded via Twitter, scolding him to stick to the facts and explaining that he was not homophobic, but he wanted to give parents more control over their children’s reading. A scholastic commission has been appointed to examine the books. (New York Times, 18; The Guardian [UK], July 16.)
  • A conservative lobbying group, Family First, on September 3 managed to get New Zealand’s Film and Literature Board of Review to place an interim ban on Ted Dawe’s award-winning YA novel Into the River, making it the first book banned in the country in 22 years. The group objected to the book’s explicit language, sexual content, and portrayal of drug use. Any individual, bookstore, library, or school distributing or exhibiting the book is now subject to a stiff fine until the full board makes a ruling. Joanna Mathew, executive director of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand,said she had “read the book, and while there is content in there that is confronting, it doesn’t warrant being banned.” (Auckland New Zealand Herald, 7; The Guardian [UK], Sept. 7.)

The purpose of Banned Books Week is to draw national attention to these efforts to remove or restrict access to books or other materials, even those that some consider unorthodox or dangerous. OIF’s Pekoll summed it up:The more we talk about these cases and bring the harms of censorship to light, the more courage and endurance librarians will have when they need it the most.”

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WKU Libraries partners to highlight International Literacy Day


WKU Libraries, the PHO_9220 - CopyWestern Kentucky Reading Council, and the College of Educational and Behavioral Sciences partnered to celebrate International Literacy Day on Thursday, September 17 from 3-4:30pm. WKU students, faculty, and staff gave short stories, legends, myths, and true events of various international perspectives, including Library Professor HDSC_0580 - Copyaiwang Yuan and ERC Coordinator and library faculty member Roxanne Spencer. Dr. Margaret Gichuru ended the afternoon talking to a large group of students about South Africa and the literacy efforts being made there.

Photo Album




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Farewell to Robbie VanValin

DSC_2138 ERC part-time library assistant Robbie VanValin has decided to retire after nearly 7 years with the ERC, where she has been a friendly face and a welcoming voice to ERC patrons. We will miss her very much—her willingness to help, her sweet personality, and her genuine interest and engagement with our patrons and student workers. We would like to wish Robbie all the very best for her retirement.

Pictured are Robbie VanValin sitting in the chair next to ERC staff member Ellen Michelleti.

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Student Appreciation Day


DSC_0201 WKU Libraries’ Educational Resources Center faculty, staff, and student workers participated in Student Appreciation Day at the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences on Wednesday, May 7. A steady flow of students visited the tables in front of Gary A. Ransdell Hall. In addition to samples of ERC materials that can be checked out, the Libraries table offered “Read” bracelets, candy, and a chance to win t-shirts, red towels, and book lights. Students also enjoyed using the Ellison Die Cuts to make bookmarks.DSC_0205

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ERC Print-Release Station

ERC Print-Release Station

The New ERC Print-Release Station

The Educational Resources Center (ERC) has just received a new print-release station for its six public computers. Students use their print allocation, deducted from their WKU IDs to print. In previous years, the ERC had an older laser printer that finally bit the dust just after the Fall 2012 semester began. Print capabilities are a popular service for students, and thanks are due to Interim Libraries’ Dean Connie Foster, Library Public Services Head Dr. Brian Coutts, and Director of Academic Technology Dr. John Bowers and IT/AT teams for their quick installation of the new set-up.

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Unpacking the ERC

Unpacking at the ERCUnpacking at the ERC

Books and materials have been packed, carted across the street to Gary Ransdell Hall and are being unpacked as WKU Libraries Faculty and Staff move in to the new ERC.  They have hundreds of boxes to go through as they prepare for the Spring semester.

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First look at the new ERC


University Libraries faculty and staff got their first look at the new ERC on Friday, December 3. Furnishings and security system have not yet been installed.


The ERC will close December 17 and reopen on Monday, January 24. In between some 50,000 books and other materials will be packed and readied for movers. Boxes will be moved on Tuesday, January 4. The next day students and staff will begin shelving materials in the new facility. New Computer have been purchased for public areas and will be installed prior to opening day.


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