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Penrose Library Blog

Summer hours and access

by Emily Pearson  May 24 21

Our Summer hours are 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday.

The stacks will remain closed and we will continue porch pick-up and will have to pull books upon request. It is no-longer required to make a reservation to use the library, but it is still only open to students who have received summer access, faculty, and staff.

Hours and access may change as the summer progresses and COVID restrictions lighten, we will announce changes as they come.

Reserving space in the library

by Emily Pearson  Feb 1 21

The library will be open to faculty, staff, and current students during the following hours, starting February 1st:

  • Sunday: Noon – 10:00 pm
  • Monday – Thursday: 8:30 am – 10:00 pm
  • Friday: 8:30 am – 7:00 pm
  • Saturday: Noon – 7:00 pm

You will have to swipe to enter the building, and there is limited capacity, so you may have to wait to enter.

Only the main floor will be open, and you will not be able to browse the stacks. You can request books be pulled at the circulation desk, or continue to use porch pick-up to make requests in advance.  Community members can use porch pick-up as well.

In order to access study space in the library, follow these steps:

1. Schedule a study time in one of the 6 zones (Allen room tables or armchairs, Ankeny-side window seating, Fitzpatrick Room, main floor center seating, computer workstation). Find a map of spaces here.

  • Study times are scheduled in one hour blocks.
  • You may schedule back-to-back blocks.
  • Study spaces may be reserved up to 72 hours in advanced.

2. Swipe into the Library with your Whitman ID.

3. Go to your study space zone and find an open seat.

Clean your study area with the provided wipes before you begin to study and when you leave. If we find that students are consistently overstaying their allotted time or ignoring COVID protocols, we will regulate study space use more closely.

Library access over break

by Emily Pearson  Dec 8 20

The library building will remain closed over break.

Porch pickup will be available on the following dates:

December 6 – December 23, January 5 – 26: Open for pickup 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Tuesday – Friday, closed Saturday – Monday

December 24 – January 4: Closed

Chat is not available, but librarians will be around throughout break and available via email for any questions.

Banned Book Week

by Kun Lin  Sep 25 20
Banned Book Week of 2020 Banner
Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read, and this year it falls on September 27th to October 3rd. Banned Books Week spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools and to support the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. At a time where conspiracy theories, disinformation, and censorship run rampant, it is critical for us to remain vigilant to any attempts at censorship.

See the list of Top 10 Most Challenged Books 

Banned book week offers an opportunity for you to voice your concerns on censorship and to support authors of banned books. Here are some virtual events for banned book week that fight censorship.

  1. Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign
    • Write a letter or email to a banned and challenged author, sharing how their words have impacted you. Or reach out to a favorite banned or challenged author by tagging them on Twitter and including #DearBannedAuthor. Check Banned & Challenged Author Addresses & Twitter Handles for information on author addresses and Twitter handles. 
  2. Stand for the Banned Read-Out
    • Create a short video of you introducing one of the banned books on your favorite video sharing platform. Here are details for Stand for the Banned.
  3. Scary Stories Documentary Watch Party

Penrose Library is committed to academic freedom and adheres to guidelines endorsed by the American Library Association and their Intellectual Freedom Manual, 9th ed. You can find our Materials Challenge Policy on our website. 

Welcome back from Penrose Library!

by Emily Pearson  Aug 25 20

Change in Operations

We know there are a lot of changes happening this semester, and we’ve worked all summer to meet your research needs as best as possible whether you’re in Walla Walla or elsewhere. We’re highlighting some of the key ways things have changed for the fall semester, and for more information consult our guide to Remote Access to Penrose.

Remote Help and Contact

Librarians are available 9-5, Monday-Friday to help you. We can help you access resources, find materials to help you with your research, plan a research project, format citations, and help answer any other questions you might have. We can be contacted via email or chat (you can start a chat conversation from the link on the library’s home page). Call us at 1-833-PENROSE to leave a voicemail that the person managing chat will receive.

Online Materials and Tools

Remotely, you can still access all of our digital resources, including e-books. For many physical materials on our shelves, it is likely we can get you a digital version or make scans of a selection of pages from the resource. 

  • Sherlock Search: Use the filters on the left hand side of the screen to focus on e-books, streaming audio or video, and other online resources.
  • Articles & Research Databases: We have hundreds of databases that provide access to digital articles, video, and more!    
    • Subject guides can help you find resources specific to your major/discipline.
    • Off-Campus Access: If you are not on campus, make sure you are logged in with your Whitman ID so that you can access materials. If you have any issues, please do not hesitate to contact us.
  • Interlibrary loan: To the best of our ability, we will be maintaining interlibrary loan for digital materials (article and book chapter scans), though it may take longer depending on our own staffing as well as the availability of staffing at other libraries to provide materials.

Curbside Checkout – for those in Walla Walla

  1. Request items for pickup.    
    • Use Sherlock to search for items, sign-in and use the “request for pickup” link in the Get-It box.
  2. Wait for email notification.    
    • Staff will pull your items from the shelf, check them out to your account and bag them.
    • You will receive a “ready for pick up” notification by email.
  3. Pickup is available Tuesdays & Wednesdays from 1-3 pm or Thursdays & Fridays from 9-11 am at the front entrance.
  4. Call us when you get here: 509-527-5192.    
    • Staff will bring out bagged items on a cart to the designated area on the library porch.
    • Please wear a mask and take your items once staff have moved out of your way.       

Remote Delivery of Materials

Not in Walla Walla? Locate the items that you want in Sherlock, sign in and use the “Remote Mail Delivery” link. Fill out the mail delivery request form (make sure your address is current) and we will ship items to you. Shipping in 2-8 business days. (Please help us save resources and get you faster service by using pickup service if you are in Walla Walla).


We have resumed Summit services, though not every school is participating so it will not be the entire breadth of materials you are used to. We are quarantining books as they arrive, and quarantining once they are returned which means they will take longer to get in your hands, and may be in your account longer than you expect (but you will not accrue any fines). 

Due Dates                               

We are extending due dates for library materials to the end of the semester. Please return items to the outside book drop when you are finished with them.

Anti-Racist Reading List

by Emily Pearson  Jun 4 20

This is a brief list of anti-racist books, focused on books we have digital access to while the library is closed. We also want to make a particular point to call out the years of work done by Whitman students through their theses to explore and contend with police brutality, anti-blackness, and race through a variety of prisms and disciplines. 

Reading lists are inherently a passive solution to a problem. As white library workers, we can feel like they absolve us by creating them. However, we still need to do the reading ourselves, and we hope others join us. One way to hold yourself accountable to doing the work is creating a reading group with friends, family, neighbors, or other communities to work through texts together. It’s also important to acknowledge that having time to read is a privilege, and even with the time, many of us do not have the attention spans or mental energy to engage in reading right now. You may find something like the Justice in June calendar useful to engage at the level that you are able to.

Books we have digital access to

Whitman Theses (if marked “Limited Access,” you will have to have a current Whitman ID and log-in to view) 


Black Thought and Culture (requires a Whitman Login)

Black Thought and Culture contains 1,303 sources with 1,210 authors, covering the non-fiction published works of leading African Americans. Where possible the complete published non-fiction works are included, as well as interviews, journal articles, speeches, essays, pamplets, letters and other fugitive material. Includes the complete run of the Black Panther Party newspaper.

Whitman Coronavirus Stories: Documenting Our Lives during the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Ben Murphy  Apr 3 20

In collaboration with students in Library 160: Documentation and Representation in Archives, the Whitman College and Northwest Archives is creating a digital archive of the Whitman community’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we move classes online, work, teach and learn from home, and practice social distancing, our normal experiences and routines have been displaced and disrupted. We hope to collect the stories, experiences, and evidence of our changed lives, both the painful and difficult, and the unexpectedly beautiful and hopeful. 

You can view submissions to the digital archive in ARMINDA, our institutional repository.

How to participate

You can record your experience in whatever format is comfortable for you. Some options include: 

  • Writing: letters, emails, diary-entries, blog posts, rants, etc.
  • Images: what is the view from where you are? Photos, screen captures of social media posts, digital art produced in reaction to the current situation
  • Audio files: voice memos, phone-interviews with a friend (note: make sure you have consent of all parties before recording them), music, podcast
  • Videos clips: short recordings of your daily life or routines; Zoom, Google Meet, or other video conference recordings (note: make sure you have consent of all parties before recording them)
  • Other things you can think of: be creative! What would you like to be saved now so that Whitman students in 5 or 50 years can understand the moment we are currently living through? 
  • Keep in mind that we want to collect material that gives evidence of your personal experience, or that of others in the Whitman Community, not national news stories, media reports, or other types of material that are best documented elsewhere.

Questions and themes we hope to explore include:

  • How students, faculty and staff are transitioning to remote teaching and learning
  • How social distancing is impacting our lives
  • What is the changing nature of faculty, staff and student work, on- or off-campus
  • How you are staying in touch and communicating with friends and family

Please comply with county and state stay-at-home orders, and practice social distancing, while self-documenting. 

Submitting Material to the Archive

  • We can accept material in most common formats. But if you have questions, please direct them to [email protected].
  • Materials submitted to the project will be retained in the Archives and made available to researchers under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license, which will allow others to share and adapt the material while crediting the creator(s) of the material.
  • Please use this Google Form to submit your items. You will be able to sign an agreement allowing the Archives to preserve your submission, and you will receive important information about the copyright and use of your content.
  • If you interview other people in the course of your documentation, or if any materials are co-created by you and another person, we will also need their permission so that we can preserve and share your materials with future researchers. Please have all co-creators fill out this form. If we do not receive releases from all participants we cannot preserve the materials. But only one person will need to attach the files to the form — co-creators can simply fill in their personal information along with a description of the materials.
  • Do you want to contribute but are running short on time? Fill out our quick response form! We provide five brief prompts, and you can type as much or as little as you would like. All questions are optional, so you can pick and choose which prompts to respond to.
Diary entry from Whitman Professor of History William Denison Lyman, October 21, 1918. Available in Arminda:

This project has been inspired by, and borrowed from, ideas generated from Documenting Your Community’s Experience of COVID-19: A Resource List. In particular, we acknowledge the work of Atkins Library Special Collections & University Archives at the UNC Charlotte.

Coronavirus information to stay informed

by Emily Pearson  Mar 9 20

Many academic publishers have made any coronavirus articles freely available. Here are some resources to learn more about COVID-19 coronavirus from government and academic sources.

How to spot (and stop!) coronavirus misinformation

Please excuse the mess!

by Emily Pearson  Jan 27 20

This winter, Penrose is getting a sustainability upgrade. We appreciate your patience while work crews convert all lighting to energy-efficient LED lamps. Please watch out for ladders and work crews. During this process, lights may also be turning on and off. This changed will reduce energy consumption of the lighting system by about 50%.

For any questions, please contact Campus Sustainability Coordinator, Elissa Brown ([email protected])

Learn more about sustainability efforts and Whitman College’s Climate Action Plan at

Penrose Library Winter Break Hours

by Julie Carter  Dec 17 19

Penrose Library hours between Fall semester 2019 and Spring semester 2020 will be as follows:

Friday Dec. 20: close at 5 pm

Dec. 21 –  Jan. 1: CLOSED

Jan. 2 – Jan. 3: 9 am to 5 pm

Jan. 4 – Jan. 5: CLOSED

Jan. 6 – Jan. 10: 9 am to 5 pm

Jan. 11 – Jan. 12: CLOSED

Jan. 13 – Jan. 19: 9 am to 5 pm

Jan. 20: 9 am to 10 pm

Jan. 21: 8 am;  resume 24 hours

Please note: The Whitman College Northwest Archives will be closed January 6-10, 2020 for a major collections maintenance project. There will be no public access to archival collections, the reading room, or reference services during this time. We anticipate that normal hours and services will resume on Monday, January 13.

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