Daily Archives: December 11, 2015

Fall 2015 Library Student Assistant Scholarship

Western Kentucky University (WKU) senior Katie Gamble from Hopkinsville, has been selected as the recipient of the WKU Library Student Assistant Scholarship.  Gamble is a senior who will graduate in May 2016 with a B.S. in Communication Disorders, completing her degree in only three years.fall15studentacholarshipPictured: Doug Wiles, Gamble, and Dean of WKU Libraries Connie Foster.

According to her supervisor Doug Wiles, Gamble has worked as a Stacks Management student for two-and-a-half years.  “During that time, I have noted Katie’s motivation to be exceptional in every endeavor: academic, work-related, and personal,” said Wiles. “Katie has been a leader in several projects, including a significant transition for Stacks Management to staff  the Helm Information Desk.”

Gamble has performed at a superior level academically, maintaining a 4.0 grade point average while working in WKU Libraries and volunteering in the Kelly Autism Program. In addition, Katie was the first student employee to serve on the WKU Campus Library Advisory Council.

“I take pride in telling people that I am a WKU Libraries Student Assistant and am very thankful for the opportunity to work here,” said Gamble. “I can genuinely say that being a student assistant has strengthened my time management skills and has made me more independent.”

Katie was recognized at a reception on Wednesday, December 9 in Cravens Library. The scholarship is sponsored through funding from the Friends of WKU Libraries. For more information on the Friends program, go to wku.edu/library and click on “Support Us.”

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The Holiday Spirit in Japan

One of many interesting features of the papers of WKU librarian Margie Helm, available in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives unit of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections, is documentation of Margie’s unique friendship with Hana (Kato) Kaku, her Japanese-born classmate at the Pratt Institute Library School.

Kaku family Christmas card to Margie Helm

Kaku family Christmas card to Margie Helm

Fluent in English and in Western ways, Hana returned to Japan to help in the rebuilding of its libraries following the devastating earthquake of 1923, but soon left the profession to care for her ailing husband, retired diplomat Michio Kaku.  Then World War II brought economic destruction, driving the couple from their comfortable life in Tokyo to subsistence farming in a small village at the foot of Mt. Fuji.  Hana made extra money as a translator and craftsperson, but was never able to fulfill her desire to return to library work.

For years after the war, Margie Helm sent Hana and her family gifts of clothing, medicine, toiletries and food (Hana’s stepdaughter June was delighted by a gift of marshmallows, for she didn’t know that “such a delicious thing existed,” and ecstatic when she received her first new dress in seven years).  Their many letters of thanks included descriptions of the difficult conditions for ordinary citizens in postwar Japan: inflation, food and housing

Kaku family Christmas card to Margie Helm

Kaku family Christmas card to Margie Helm

shortages, and a “moral mess” that was tempting some to embrace communism.  After Hana’s sudden death in 1951, her husband Michio told Margie that her support had been Hana’s “oasis” in a life filled with deprivation and sacrifice.

The upheaval in their country and the postwar communist threat also made the Kakus receptive to Christianity–Michio would formally convert in 1953–and the beautiful Japanese Christmas cards they sent Margie spoke to their evolving faith.  Over the years, Margie received Christmas cards from other Japanese friends, tributes to her continuing interest in her former classmate’s country.

Click here to access a finding aid for the Margie Helm Collection.  For more collections, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

Christmas cards to Margie Helm from Japanese friends

Christmas cards to Margie Helm from Japanese friends

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