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Library Initiatives

Learn more about new initiatives in the James E. Brooks Library.

Print Collections as Inspiration

As students, teachers, researchers, and life-long learners, even if we don’t always use books, we like the idea of books. We feel more scholarly when we are around them. A recent article, The Books of College Libraries are Turning into Wallpaper, documents a decline of the use of print in academic libraries while acknowledging a palpable nostalgia for books. There’s a path to making print live and breathe beyond this wallpaper, security blanket role.

There’s a joy in interacting with the printed word that we celebrate here at Brooks Library. While we build our electronic collections for the unprecedented breath and depth they offer our users, we strive to have our print and electronic collections complement and enhance each other rather than compete. Print still speaks, and can take an active role to transcend nostalgia toward inspiration.

Print in Action

At Brooks Library, we provide opportunities for our users to interact with books. Our new Student Commons is the now the site of the Lion Rock author series, where wordsmiths read from their works and discuss the craft of writing. Recent events celebrating different aspects of the printed word include a community poetry reading and a workshop allowing participants to construct their own fanzine.

Our celebration of print reaches beyond our library walls, with our award-winning Banned Books Week (slide 6) efforts at the Ellensburg Farmers’ Market.

Print also brings our history alive. In the course of arranging library stacks for the creation of the Student Commons, we uncovered the treasures of our original Normal School Library. You can now walk through the early days of CWU’s history in this collection on the second floor adjacent to the Commons, while also viewing images from university history both hanging on the walls and digitized on large screens.

Large screens in the Student Commons

Please watch our events listings for celebrations of the printed word and image.

Print Future Forward: an invitation

We will continue to care for our print collections at CWU as collection management is an active, constant process. The print experience enriches scholarly efforts, and there is information best consumed in tangible form. Dialogue between electronic and print will guide the revitalization of our print collections in our upcoming strategic plan for 2020-2024.

While we develop that plan, in Fall 2019, we’ll be presenting dynamic mobile book displays on the first floor and in the Student Commons

Brooks Library: Mobile Book Display, featuring graphic novels

We invite ideas for interaction with print! Want to talk about a teaching in the stacks session? A scholarly works laboratory? Talk to us, and be part of Active Print!


Rebecca L. Lubas
Dean of Libraries
James E. Brooks Library - Central Washington University
400 E. University Way, Ellensburg, WA 98926
(509) 963-1981 |


For further reading:       

Crafting an Active Print Collection for the Academic Library

Readers Still Prefer Physical Books