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Senior DLPS Faculty to Retire this Summer

Brian E.  Coutts, Rosemary Meszaros and Charles H. Smith, Professors in the Department of Library Public Service retire this summer.

Brian Coutts served as Coordinator of Collection Development from 1986 to 1991 and since 1991 has been Head, Department of Library Public Services.

He received the Reference and User Services Association’s highest honor, the Isadore G. Mudge Award in 2017 and is a past winner of the CQ Press Marta Lange Award for Distinguished Law & Political Science Librarianship and the Louis Shores Award for distinguished reviewing. For WKU he served as moderator for more than 200 programs in the WKU Libraries’ Far Away Places Series and Kentucky Live Series and was one of the founders of the Southern Kentucky Bookfest. From 1986-2016 he selected the “Best Reference Sources of the Year” for Library Journal, the nation’s leading trade journal. He serves on the Dartmouth Medal Committee and is a judge for the Benjamin Franklin Awards.

Rosemary Meszaros joined the DLPS faculty in the spring of 1998 and has served as the Federal Depository Librarian for the Second Congressional District and as the Coordinator of Government Information and Law.  She received the Government Documents Round Table’s

“Documents to the People Award” in 2018 and is a past winner of Kentucky’s Academic Librarian of the Year Award. She’s the author of Rising Through the Ranks: Women in War and chapters on government periodicals in numerous editions of Magazines for Libraries.  With Katherine Pennavaria she’s been a popular presenter at numerous academic and public libraries around the state on genealogical sources and strategies. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Academic Librarianship.

Charles H. Smith joined the DLPS faculty in March of 1995 and has served as Science Librarian and principal liaison to Ogden College of Science and Technology.  He’s a past winner of the American Library Association’s Oberly Award for distinguished bibliography and a Presidential Award for Distinguished Public Service.  Over the past two decades he has created the Alfred Russel Wallace Page as one of the leading and most widely consulted online sources on one of the world’s most distinguished scientists.  One of the world’s leading authorities on Wallace, his many books and articles on Wallace led to his induction into the distinguished Linnaean Society of London. He’s been a featured speaker in Mexico, Brazil, and the UK.  His Alfred Russel Wallace Page and his Classical Music Navigator sites are frequently consulted. His newest book on Wallace will be published by the University Press of Chicago in 2018.

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Faraway Places & Kentucky Live Series to End

After more than 200 programs over the past two decades, most held at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Bowling Green, our DLPS Series will be ending this spring.

Peggy Wright and Brian Coutts conceived of an international series following the return of former Kentucky Librarian Nancy Baird from a trip to South Africa.  We launched our first program in September, 2000 and followed with programs on Costa Rica, China, Brazil, England and Germany.  We took our name from a 1948 song “Far Away Places with Strange Sounding Names ”. Since then we’ve visited every continent and places from Alaska and Greenland to Antarctica. Our final program was Soleiman Kiasatpour’s fascinating talk on Morocco in April. 2018

In February, 2003 we launched a companion series “Kentucky Live, southern Culture at Its best!” with a program on Jonesville & Shake Rag: Historic Black Community of Bowling Green from Maxine Ray and Dr. John Long, Department Head of Philosophy & Religion. Programs on photographers, artists, poets, writers, restaurants, historians, bourbon, coal mining,  the Derby and virtually every iconic Kentucky product from the Louisville Slugger to Fruit of the Loom Underwear, and the Corvette followed. Our final program this April was from J.D. Wilkes founder of the Legendary Shack Shakers, a Southern Gothic rock and blues band.  What a great way to end.

None of this would have possible without our genial hosts Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  Special thanks to Jennifer Bailey, David Hollifield and before them Natalie Boddeker and David Coverdale and all of your fine staff for setting up all those chairs and ordering all those books and helping us promote these programs.

Thanks also to Dr. Richard Weigel, Professor of History who edits the Book Page for the Bowling Green Daily News for running so many reviews of books from our featured speakers.  The attention you focused on many regional authors was very much appreciated by them and by us.

David Keeling, Michael Trapasso, John Dizgun and Haiwang Yuan, and so any others from around the country and beyond—world travelers all—thanks for so many exciting evenings.

To our sponsors Coca Cola, Trace Die Cast, Integra Bank and the Friends of WKU Libraries—we appreciated your interest and support.

To former Deans of WKU Libraries Mike Binder and Connie Foster—thanks for your interest and support.

Finally—thanks to our series team over two decades—Peggy Wright, Bryan Carson, Haiwang Yuan, Daniel Peach, Eric Fisher, Ryan Dowell, Shaden Melky, Jennifer Wilson, Christopher McConnell and a host of talented DLPS Office Assistants and Students.

Hasta luego,

Brian Coutts, Moderator

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Rosemary Meszaros Receives National Award

Rosemary Meszaros, Professor and Coordinator of Government Information and Law, in the Department of Library Public Services at WKU since 1998 was honored on Sunday, June 24, 2018 with one of the American Library Association’s, Government Documents Round Table’s highest honors, the ProQuest/GODORT/ALA “Documents to the People” Award.  The award which consists of a cash prize of $3,000 goes to an individual, institution or library that has most effectively encouraged the use of government documents in support of library service.  A reception was held at the Louisiana Supreme Court Building, 400 Royal Street, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Rosemary received her MLS from LSU’s School of Library and Information science and an MA in history from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Prior to coming to WKU she worked at Boston University and the University of California at Santa Barbara.

In 2015 the Federal Depository Library for the Second Congressional District of Kentucky celebrated its 80th Anniversary.

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Special Collections Gains Oral History Accreditation

Western Kentucky University’s Manuscripts and Folklife Archives, a part of the Department of Library Special Collections, was recently granted accreditation status by the Kentucky Oral History Commission (KOHC). Archives that receive accreditation serve as “permanent repositories for oral history collections, which KOHC sponsors through grant awarded funds.” With its newly appointed status, the Folklife Archives joins a group of state-recognized institutions dedicated to the long-term care, preservation, and maintenance of regionally-specific oral history projects. These projects, conducted by professional and amateur researchers, highlight the nuanced and complex issues surrounding community, identity, heritage, and tradition throughout the commonwealth. Accreditation is granted for a five-year period, after which the institution must re-apply.

The accreditation certificate issued to Manuscripts & Folklife Archives by the Kentucky Oral History Commission.

“Having accredited repositories available throughout the Commonwealth is an important asset to the Kentucky Oral History Commission (KOHC). Preservation and statewide access are two of our keystone values, and WKU is now our western-most accredited institution. The KOHC has enjoyed a long and happy relationship with Western Kentucky University, and this distinction will only strengthen it,” said Sarah Schmitt, current Oral History Manager at the Kentucky Historical Society.

The application process, which was completed over the span of several months by Jonathan Jeffrey, the Department Head of Library Special Collections, and Delainey Bowers, a graduate student in the Folk Studies program, emphasized the Folklife Archives’ commitment to creating a repository, both as a physical space and as an online environment that values progressive storage policies and practices. With more than 5,000 audio recordings in analog form—including oral histories on reel-to-reel audiotapes and cassettes, as well as born-digital materials—the Archives places an importance on making collections available and easily accessible to the public. Through the use of online platforms, such as WKU’s TopSCHOLAR and Pass the Word, a KOHC-sponsored discovery tool geared towards oral history collections throughout the state of Kentucky, the Folklife Archives continues to prioritize recorded content in progressive and meaningful ways.

“I’m pleased that we have attained accreditation and met the standards set by KOHC’s progressive leadership. Kentucky has long boasted one of the country’s finest oral history programs. WKU’s Folk Studies and Anthropology and History departments have helped us amass a significant collection of audio material that document the Commonwealth’s folklore and history,” said Department Head Jonathan Jeffrey. Significant aid for this project came from former Folk Studies and Anthropology Department Head, Dr. Michael Ann Williams, current Folk Studies Director, Dr. Ann Ferrell, Director of the Kentucky Museum and Kentucky Folklife Program, Brent Bjorkman, Dean of Libraries, Susann DeVries, Library Systems Office Coordinator, Michael Moore, Provost, David Lee, and the Potter College of Arts and Letters.

According to Ferrell, “The Folklife Archives at WKU was started in 1953 by renowned folklorist D.K. Wilgus who taught in our program at that time. It includes collections completed by students and faculty since then, including retired Professor Lynwood Montell, as well as the collections of the Kentucky Folklife Program, which moved from Frankfort to WKU in 2012. We are thrilled about the receipt of this accreditation, as it will open further opportunities for the deposit of materials of regional significance.”

WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections, housed in the Kentucky Building, has been collecting material related to the history and culture of Kentucky since the late-1920s. The Department has three units: the Kentucky Library, Manuscripts & Folklife Archives, and WKU Archives.

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“But when you love the green backed dollar, sorrow always bound to follow”

The 1978 Kentucky Derby Winner, Affirmed

The 1978 Kentucky Derby Winner, Affirmed

Bettin’ on the ponies ain’t no easy task, but former folk studies students Robert Sherman and William Adams may have cracked the code. In their 1972 paper titled “Kentucky Horseracing and Horse-Betting: Various Gambling Patterns and Techniques of the Kentucky Horseracing Community,” Sherman and Adams hoofed it to Churchill Downs on Opening Day to learn the ins-and-outs of wagering, handicapping, and risking it all for sweet taste of victory.

Whether betting across the board, eyeballing a Daily Double, or keeping your fingers crossed for a win, place, show, playing the ponies is a beacon of light for casual bettors and professional gamblers alike. Sherman and Adams’ subjects divulged their reasons for hitting the tracks, which ranged from hopes of financial gain to enjoying a simple recreational pastime, but all agreed that horse-betting—an art form in and of itself—requires patience, dedication, and a small touch of luck.

If you’re willing to go all-in for the Longines Kentucky Oaks filly race today, or if you’d rather raise the stakes at tomorrow’s Derby, you may want to keep these tips ‘n tricks in mind:

1. Let the Lucky Numbers Be Your Guide

Jim Ray, a native Kentuckian, is a believer in the power of lucky numbers. Writes Sherman, “He told us that he selects the horse according to the last digit in the weight that horse carries. If the weight of the horse is 118 pounds, then he would bet on the 8th horse listed.” Ray admits that his technique is a little unusual, but the cash in his wallet speaks for itself.

2. Go With Your Gut

Intuition exists for a reason, or at least Martha Bangston believes it does. Bangston keeps her system simple, an amateur approach that favors the odds without running against any longshots. Sherman explains it as, “There are usually nine races on a daily card. [Bangston] breaks these down into three groups of three races each. In the first race of each group, she bets the horse with the best odds on the program. In the second race, she bets the horse with the second best odds and so on.” Her success rates with this method are high, and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

3. A Thoroughbred by Any Other Name

Lorene Budd, a cautious gambler at best, factors in the horse’s name when placing her bets. “A horse that has a name similar to one of her friends or relatives is the one that she selects,” writes Sherman. So if you have an uncle’s whose name sounds similar to Firenze Fire (and don’t we all?), or a bestie named Magnum Moon, you’d better start the drive up to Louisville.

For more information on the Kentucky Derby, racetrack betting, or jockey lore, visit TopSCHOLAR or browse through KenCat, a searchable database featuring manuscripts, photographs and other non-book objects housed in the Department of Library Special Collections!

Post written by WKU Folk Studies graduate student Delainey Bowers

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Former Governor Steve Beshear at the Southern Kentucky Bookfest

The SOKY Bookfest was honored to have former Governor Steve Beshear as one of our very special guests on Saturday, April 21 for our 20th Anniversary. Brian Coutts moderated his 11:00 a.m. session.

Beshear was elected the 61st Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 2007 and reelected to a second term in 2011. Among the many issues he focused attention on were sustainable economic growth, lifelong learning opportunities and Affordable Health Care and enjoyed considerable success in each one of these. He used the Affordable Care act and Medicaid expansion to insure some 300,000 previously uninsured Kentuckians.

So successful was he that the Democratic Party selected him to give the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress on February 28, 2017.

Susann deVries, Dean of WKU Libraries, speaks with Steve Beshear

Since leaving office he’s served as a Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and as a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School and written a new memoir People Over Politics.

Following his talk he answered numerous questions about his memoir and current political issues and signed copies of his book.

Steve Beshear (left) with Brian Coutts

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Far Away Places presents Soleiman Kiasatpour on “Morocco At the Crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East”

Morocco (6)

Soleiman Kiasatpour, an Associate Professor of International & Comparative Politics in the Department of Political Science at Western Kentucky University, talked about “Morocco At the Crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East” in our Far Away Places series sponsored by the Friends of WKU Libraries on the evening of April 12, 2018, at Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

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Far Away Places presents Nancy Rice on “The Magic, Mystery and Misfortune of Modern Kenya”

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WKU Biologist Nancy Rice talked about “The Magic, Mystery, and Misfortune of Modern Kenya” in WKU Libraries’ Far Away Places series on Thursday, February 22 at Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

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State Street High School

One of the prized holdings in the Department of Library Special Collections is the 1951 Mustang, the yearbook of the State Street High School. The State Street School served this area’s African-American students starting in 1883; High Street school took its place in 1955.
Edward Tipton Buford, known as E.T. Buford, was the principal of the school and is featured in this yearbook. He made a tremendous impact on many students in this region and state. He was born in 1894 in Giles County, TN and earned a bachelor’s degree from Fisk University and a Master’s degree from Indiana University. He served as principal of State Street and High Street schools from 1924 to 1964. Like many other African American educators, during the time of segregation and limited resources, it was said that “Buford developed an advanced curriculum, got the school accredited, recruited highly educated teachers and secured needed resources.”

Some other African American teachers in Warren County were Robert Barlow, Christine Barlow, Ethel Buford, Virginia Cabell, Lula Carpenter, Clara Cole, Addie J. Edmonds, Lutisha Frierson, Willie Gossom, Lena Hudson, C. A. Hutcherson, Latter Huston Cox, Eva Kuykendall, Lila Bell Lee, Frances Luvalle, Charity McCrutchen, Emma Milligan, Mabel Moore, Frank Moxley, Claude Nichols, Alroma Nichols, Mattie Patticord, A. L. Poole, Ethel Ray, A. P. Williams, Delorese Williams, Clara Bell Yarbrough, and Henry Yost.

Click here to see this yearbook; search for other yearbooks at WKU One Search box. Contact Special Collections at 270-745-5083 or spcol@wku.edu

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Exhibit Commemorates Kentucky’s Role in WWI

Title panel for “Kentucky in the Great War.”

The Department of Library Special Collections invites you to view an exhibition titled “Kentucky and the Great War” through January 28 in the Jackson Gallery found on the second floor of the Kentucky Building.  The exhibit highlights several themes including military service, the costs of war, life on the home front, and the effects of war on the family.  Over 150 artifacts, documents, photographs, posters and sheet music specimens are used to document Kentucky’s involvement in the war effort.

World War I (July 1914 – November 1918) was a global and devastating conflict that attracted the attention of the world’s leading powers.  Shortly into the war, the death toll crescendoed for all nations involved in the hostilities.  German submarines began sinking passenger ships traveling across the Atlantic resulting in the deaths of many American civilians.  In response, American forces entered into the war  in April of 1917 with support from most United States citizens.

A medic uniform and helmet worn by a Kentucky soldier.

This exhibit highlights the lives of a few Kentucky soldiers and their contributions to the war effort.  We are able to follow our soldiers from the U.S. to France via correspondence and photos.  In addition, we take a look at the home front and how civilians on U.S. soil, particularly Kentuckians, aided the troops from home.  The ‘Great War’ resulted in millions of lives lost on all fronts.  This exhibit aims to honor their memory and celebrate their lives.

One of the exhibit cases features letters, photographs, and other memorabilia documenting the supreme sacrifice made by George Dewitt Harris of Simpson County, Kentucky.  The Harris Family Collection contains well over 50 letters written by George, a lawyer from St. Louis, to his family back in their hometown of Franklin.  They brim with confidence and are filled with detailed insights into military life from an educated professional.  George was wounded near Epionville, France when a piece of shrapnel broke his jaw as he aided a wounded commanding officer off the field on October 7, 1918.  George died a week later and was buried in France.  Later letters document how the family handled the grieving process as they continued to search for answers surrounding George’s death.  The collection also documents the eventual return of George’s body to the U.S. and internment in Franklin’s Greenlawn Cemetery.

A doughboy doll from the Kentucky Museum.

Another case documents the construction of Camp Zachary Taylor, the largest of the sixteen cantonments built in the continental U.S.  Camp Taylor, located near downtown Louisville, consisted of nearly 2,000 chiefly frame buildings which hosted nearly 40,000 troops at a time.  Despite its vast size the cantonment was built in a mere 90 days.  It closed in 1920 and only one of its buildings still stands today.

The main purpose of the exhibit is to demonstrate how international events trickle down to the local stage.  It all boils down to one person at a time being engaged in the event, whether that person served in the military or participated in the war efforts on the home front.

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