Whether you’re engaged in cutting edge research or simply stumped for the answer to a burning question, the six major libraries on the Pullman campus can help. What’s more, they can be used by anyone, regardless of WSU affiliation, and can be accessed from home or office.

Orbis Cascade Alliance
WSU libraries strive to offer the latest in technology. A new innovation is the Orbis Cascade Alliance, a collaboration of 27 colleges, universities and community colleges throughout Oregon and Washington designed to expand information available to the university community.

The alliance on Oct. 1 announced the launch of the Summit Web resource, allowing access to more than 22 million books and other materials owned by the participating schools. Summit is available for free on the Web at http://summit.orbiscascade.org.

Eligible to borrow from this system are current faculty, students or staff, or retired faculty/staff at WSU. Borrowing is free for authorized users, and most items are checked out for 21 days with one-time renewal.

Holland/New Library
On the Pullman campus, the oldest library is Holland, which was built in 1950. It was adjoined by the New Library in 1994, and together they house collections in the humanities, social sciences, fine arts and business.

One of the featured collections is science fiction, which supports classes taught in the English Department, according to Ryan Johnson, humanities and social science public service librarian.

He said one of the library’s lesser known holdings is its media collection — video and audio including thousands of 16mm filmstrips from the 1940s and 50s. The library has videos, CDs and all the necessary equipment to view or listen to them.

If you have a taste for the unusual, check out one of the New Library’s most interesting holdings: manuscripts, archives and special collections (MASC). Manuscripts, diaries, journals and letters focus primarily on Pacific Northwest history, as does the oral history collection of women’s lives available in tape or transcript.

You can see Virginia Woolf’s books in the Virginia and Leonard Woolf collection, which English department chair John Elwood procured in 1968, said Laila Miletic-Vejzovic, head of MASC.

Brain Education Library
The Brain Education Library not only has an auspicious name, but it serves as a resource for students preparing to become teachers, as well as some teachers and administrators, said Jen Stevens, head librarian.

The library was established in 1963, when Holland was filling up and the College of Education wanted the collection in-house. The library was named after George B. Brain, who was dean from 1965 to 1983.

The diverse collections include juvenile fiction and non-fiction, teaching and learning, leadership, counseling psychology, a microfiche collection and a textbook collection. Stevens believes the textbook collection is especially important because it allows pre-service teachers to see what texts will be used in their districts.

Owen Science Library and Fischer Agricultural Sciences Library
One of the trends affecting both Owen Science Library and Fischer Agricultural Sciences Library, said Head Librarian Cindy Kaag, is the emphasis on online electronic journals. In the sciences, said Kaag, there is demand for about 75-80% of the journals to be available electronically any time of day or night.

Oddly enough, online journals increase demand for paper journals, too. Kaag explained that some people simply like to hold a paper copy after they have seen it online.

The Owen Science and Engineering Library was built in 1977 and the Fischer Agricultural Sciences Library in 1984.

Growth areas in the science libraries include collections in biotechnology, plant biochemistry and materials science. Since WSU is a land-grant institution, the libraries try to support teaching and research in landscape architecture, environmental issues, natural resources and viticulture. They also support agricultural research stations around the state.

Architecture Library
The Architecture Library started out as a reading room in Carpenter Hall in the 1960s. Gradually, the collection was augmented with new purchases and, in 1988, the Architecture Library became an official part of the University Libraries, according to Assistant Director for Collections Lynn Chmelir.

The collections in the Architecture Library serve the important function of documenting the history, philosophy, methods, materials and criticism of architecture. A special gift a few years ago strengthened the collections in Asian and European modern architecture.

The books, journals and electronic resources support not only the School of Architecture, but also programs in construction management and interior design. One popular title is, “Why Buildings Stand Up: the Strength of Architecture,” by Mario Salvador.

Health Sciences Library
The Health Sciences Library supports teaching and research in veterinary medicine and pharmacy, according to Head Librarian Vicki Croft. Holdings include a medical collection, which is the basis for both human and animal clinical and research studies, she said. The neuroscience collection is large, and the prominent areas of veterinary medicine, virology and immunology are well represented.

The library supports WWAMI, the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho medical program.

In addition, “We have quite a good cancer collection, and we are the major veterinary library in the Pacific Northwest,” said Croft.

Interlibrary loan
Interlibrary loan makes it possible to access collections from other libraries. An electronic system, ILLiad, allows WSU patrons to use the system via password. WSU has agreements with Greater Western Library Alliance, which allows users to access the holdings of 30 major research libraries.

Books may be ordered, too, and are shipped second-day express. Requests for other materials can be turned around in 24 hours, said Kay Vyhnanek, head of interlibrary loan.

Vision for the future
Director of Libraries Ginny Steel has a vision for future acquisitions to all of WSU’s collections. For example, she said WSU would like to acquire materials in all aspects of biotechnology and scientific ethics.

The libraries are interested in expanding their collections in the field of nanotechnology — the development of circuits and devices on the molecular and submolecular scale.

Steel also emphasized the desire to expand and add depth to holdings in viticulture and enology. The libraries with these collections are located in the Tri-Cities, and they receive the lion’s share of library funds devoted to these areas.

Kaag captured the mission of the libraries when she said, “That’s why we’re there — to connect the people with the information.”

For more information on library locations, collections, access and hours, contact the libraries at these numbers:

• Holland/New, 335-9671.
• Owen Science and Engineering Library, 335-2672.
• Fischer Agricultural Sciences Library, 335-2266.
• Brain Education, 335-1492.
• Architecture Library, 335-4967.
• Health Sciences, 335-9556.