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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.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Presentation: Michigan, My Michigan

A History of this State - From Territory to Statehood is a talk from WMU Regional History Curator, Lynn Houghton. She is part of the Zhang Legacy Center, Archives and Regional History Collections.

It is a Monday, May 21 event, 7 - 8:30 pm, downtown at the Kalamazoo Public Central Library, Van Deusen Room.

The history of Michigan is interesting, fascinating and filled with twists and turns. Join Houghton for a journey looking at all aspects of Michigan’s growth and development through events, topics, trends, themes and people, all of which have shaped this State. Along with being the Regional History Curator for the WMU Archives and Regional History Collections, Lynn taught Michigan History for Western’s Department of History from 2002 to 2017 and also does the Gazelle Sports Historic Walks.

Early Michigan map, 1838, half of the area does not yet have
county designations.
The Archives and Regional History Collections consist of historical University, regional, and local governmental records. It is the largest facility of its type in southwestern Michigan. The library holds letters, diaries, and records of area people, businesses and organizations. It also has several large photographic collections, area newspapers, and electronic resources documenting the story of southwestern Michigan. #ZhangLegacyCenter

Monday, May 7, 2018

WMU libraries medieval collections are renown

Special Collections and Rare Books at Waldo are closely connected to the World Medieval Congress that comes to WMU each spring. They house medieval manuscripts and facsimiles of books covering the Middle Ages that scholars use in their research. Students at WMU's Medieval Institute use these special historical documents in their classes throughout year.

Also, the unit supports the needs of the Medieval Institute, especially in terms of class instruction - particularly medieval history classes that use primary sources and help graduate students conduct research through document work.

The Medieval Institute and Special Collections and Rare Books esteemed collections are two of the reasons the medievalists have come to Kalamazoo for 53 years.

See several medieval exhibit cases in the third floor rotunda area of Waldo Library: new acquisitions, Beowulf materials, and a historical costume collection sampling.

More about the conference:


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Waldo Library Road Construction

If you are driving to Waldo Library this summer, please be aware of construction directly in front of Waldo on the Arcadia Loop curve. The parking lot behind the library is available but restricted (Lot 28). Access from the east, Arcadia road (near Elmwood Apts A or French Hall direction) The lot across the street is closed (by Moore Hall lot 27). The steam pipe work will last through early August.

Some of the sidewalks and road crossings are also restricted. Some days there will be additional dust and noise. The Library will remain open its regular hours through the summer: