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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Welcome to Waldo Event

Monday, August 27, 2 - 3:30 pm

Come visit Waldo Library and lead yourself on a journey you didn't get to see on your campus tour. You'll discover a virtual reality lab, very rare books, interesting collections, and more! Enjoy activities or a treat at each stop. Make yourself a button. Pose with our WMU photo wall. Complete your journey map and collect a prize.

Monday, August 27, 2 - 3:30 pm. The event will have a treasure map and some giveaways along the Library journey.

As part of Welcome Week, students are invited to explore Waldo Library as there are many treasures to be found for enjoyment and research through the year.

Come connect with University Libraries we are here for you.

Waldo VR Lab Nationally Recognized

The American Library Association (ALA) recognizes our Virtual Reality (VR) Lab in Waldo Library in an article about the Future of Libraries in the United States. The page on their website features 3 university libraries as they encourage other libraries to think about their future. . Thanks for showing our program!

More about the WMU VR lab:

Virtual reality offers significant potential in the areas of teaching, learning and research. The VR Lab at Western Michigan University Libraries was started to explore this revolutionary technology as a collaborative effort of the Office of Information Technology and Waldo Library at WMU. Opening the door to broad collaborative possibilities and feeding the curiosities of varied audiences, many people have experienced both the entertainment and educational side of VR content in the lab’s first semester.

Parks and Recreation kids explore Virtual Reality
Set up with 6 stations and supporting over 20 titles the lab is open late staffed with students which works to reach more types of people in a neutral, easily accessible space on campus -- the main library. Workshops on the concepts and technology were taught to millennials and baby boomers alike, fostering more cross-creativity.

Summer brought interest from the county Parks and Recreation ‘All Things Possible’ Program, IT Girl Conference, library staff doing competitions, an autism program, and the Girls Who Code Program at a nearby university.

Workshop for instructors, staff and students

The programs second semester will consist of more workshops (look for soon), recreation department expo visit, multiplayer tournaments, and a library research services department in-depth workshop series for its staff. “Imagine walking into a 14th century manuscript virtually, or a map growing into a 3D space that was just plotted from your research data in layering geospatial software. These are some of the possibilities for teaching and learning.” says Scott Russell, Library IT Director and co-director of the lab.

A Lee Honors College course focuses on technology in the arts and uses the VR Lab to create an experiential environment conveying a sense of place and emotion. A multimedia journalism course is utilizing 360-degree documentary video allowing viewers more interaction. “The potential is extremely broad . . .” says Kevin Abbott, Interactive Media Specialist and co-director of the lab.

VR is poised to be an important tool in teaching, learning and research.

Library staff explore with a friendly lunchtime contest

Lab staff consult with students on final team project

Monday, August 13, 2018

Welcome, Amy Bocko

Amy Bocko, Assistant Professor / Digital Projects Librarian
University Libraries is pleased to announce that Amy Bocko is joining Western Michigan University as an Assistant Professor in the new role of Digital Projects Librarian. Ms. Bocko will collaborate with librarians and other stakeholders to make informed decisions about the future of digitization in the University Libraries. She will provide leadership to digitization staff, coordinate cross-departmental digital project workflows and provide consultations, demonstrations and education to the WMU community about emerging trends in digital scholarship.

Since 2015, Ms. Bocko has worked as the Digital Initiative Librarian for the Iwasaki Library at Emerson College in Boston, MA. She previously held roles as Digital Asset Curator/ Digital Initiatives Librarian at Wheaton College and Visual Resources Specialist and Digital Initiatives team member at Vassar College. Ms. Bocko earned a Master of Library and 

Information Science from Rutgers State University of New Jersey and a Bachelor of Arts, with an emphasis on Art History and Art Studio, from State University of New York (SUNY) College at Geneseo.

Ms. Bocko is actively engaged in professional service and has served on a range of regional and professional committees, including serving as a member of the Digital Library Federation planning committee and as co-chair of the Oberlin 17 Unconference planning committee. Her scholarly interests include launching digital initiatives, digital project management, and developing personal digital archiving programming for librarians, archivists and information professionals. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

WMU Libraries Play a Part in National PBS Show

Regional History Curator, Lynn Houghton and the historical materials at the Zhang Legacy Collections Center regional history collections help tell the story of Kalamazoo's leadership in downtown development for a PBS show, "10 Streets that Changed America" 

The Chicago Public Broadcasting Service affiliate, WTTW, who produces the series "10 That Changed America", contacted Houghton in the spring then came to Kalamazoo and interviewed her for this 'Streets' project. She had researched the records of the pedestrian mall from materials in the WMU Regional History Collections archives.
Lynn Houghton, Regional
History Curator

It airs Tuesday, July 10 on PBS at 8 p.m.

As many natives know, the Kalamazoo Mall (the Burdick Street business district downtown) was the first pedestrian mall in the country. It was redesigned for pedestrians only in an effort to bring shoppers back to downtown. It was revolutionary for its time and it is why Kalamazoo was known as the Mall City for many years. Many cities copied the idea. Now it is the one-way street from the Radisson complex on Michigan Ave. south to the State Theater.

Kalamazoo's Burdick Street rates pretty favorably in the show with other well-known places like Broadway in New York, the National Road - Virginia to Illinois, and Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. The PBS trailer mentions how the street 'changed shopping in America'.

The mall designer hired by Kalamazoo is featured in this WWMT TV3 article.

The Zhang Legacy Center, Archives and Regional History Collections at WMU is the largest facility of its type in southwestern Michigan. It consists of historical university and regional records. The library holds letters, diaries, photography, and documents of area people, business and organizations. It also has several large photography collections, area newspapers, and electronic resources documenting Southwestern Michigan and beyond.

Friday, June 22, 2018

In the Works at Waldo

Coming to Waldo Library: Graduate Student Commons

A large space is being designed for graduate student needs on the third floor of Waldo. Coming later this summer is a great new graduate collaboration, study and meeting space.

Room 3080, previously the 'maps room' is now being fitted with new carpet, versatile furniture, LED lighting, and conversation groupings, for maximum flexibility in student usage. Maps are now more accessible on the second floor in government documents area.

Amenities of the new space are abundant natural light, separate group study rooms, computers, charging stations and late night hours (2 am for 5 days) in a quiet part of the library.

Look for the opening event in August, depending on the construction schedule.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Digital New York Times, free WMU subscription via the Libraries

The New York Times digital edition will continue to be provided to members of the WMU community by University Libraries through June 2021.

The new three year agreement will provide stability for those professors who want to develop class assignments around this resource. The New York Times in Education will continue to be a part of this subscription with an additional sign up.

For access you must sign up for a Group Pass using your e-mail.

Additional instructions are available at

Passes expire every 364 days so you may need to sign up for a new pass if you signed up last year.

Gems and Precious Metals Exhibit

New exhibit in Waldo Library lobby, the symbolic significance, power, and beauty of gems and precious metals.

Information through books from the Rare Books Room, for example:

A Taste for Splendor: Russian Imperial and European treasures from the Hillwood Museum

Five Centuries of Jewellery

The Headley Treasure of Bibelots and Boxes

Some properties historically attributed to precious and semiprecious stones:

  • Amethyst – protection, cleansing, intuition
  • Diamond – purity, fidelity, love
  • Emerald – love, compassion, abundance
 Enjoy more in the display cases, through mid-July.