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Penrose Library Blog

End of Semester Hours

by Julie Carter  May 15 19

Penrose Library will be open:

  • May 14: open until 10 pm
  • May 15-16: 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
  • May 17-19: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

We begin observing summer hours, M-F 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, on May 20th. Library hours can always be found on our website:

Submitting your honors thesis

by Emily Pearson  May 1 19

As we are a week out from honors theses being due, the library wants to remind you of a few things to ensure an easy submission.

We are happy to help and/or guide you through every aspect of submitting. Please do not hesitate to come in or email if you have any questions, we are here to help!
Drop-In Hours:
Date: May 2 – May 7
Time: 10-12PM & 4-6PM
Location: Library Cafe, 1st floor of the library
Purpose: Assist you with formatting issues, printing, and/or submitting
Appointments: If you think you’ll need more one on one help, you can make an appointment

What we need from you by next Wednesday (feel free to submit early!)

Reminder: The faculty code has changed regarding requirements for honors thesis submission to the library. Starting this year, you are only required to submit a digital copy of the thesis, though you will still need to turn in a physical copy of the Non-Exclusive Distribution License and the signed certificate of approval form. The distribution license requires you to pick which level of access you are providing to your work:

  • Open: Worldwide distribution via the Internet, or
  • Limited: Local distribution only to authorized users of Whitman’s network (current faculty, staff, and students), or
  • Opt-out: Not available to anyone (but still deposited). This is intended for cases where the topic or the treatment of the topic are sensitive or should not be shared

If you elect to have open access to your thesis, you can choose to print your thesis to be bound and shelved in the Allen Reading Room, where it can circulated. In the past, theses with limited access and opt-out were printed and bound but kept in the archives, but we are ceasing this unsustainable practice.

Forms: Both the Non-Exclusive Distribution License and the Certificate of Approval (2nd page of thesis template) need to be signed by your advisor. The Submission Agreement needs to be signed by any co-authors, even if they are not getting honors. Don’t forget to initial both the access section and the embargo section. The Certificate of Approval needs to be printed on archival paper (see below) and needs your information, advisors name, and correct date filled in. This is still required even if you are not printing your thesis.

Printer: The printer you should use in the library is the one marked 2nd_theses, between the front two public access computers near the WCTS desk. Your thesis should be printed one-sided.

Paper: We won’t be putting paper in the printer until the 7th to keep people from accidentally printing non-theses related material on it, but until then you can always go to Kathleen’s office right by the printer (213) from 8-4 M-F. If you are printing at night or on the weekends, the circ desk will have paper as well.

PDF/A: Your thesis needs to be saved as a PDF/A, this can be done on the computers next to the Theses printer using Acrobat. Instructions here

Computers: On Friday 5/3 we will be bringing out more computers to submit and print from, you can log into these computers on your own account.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month Display

by Julie Carter  Apr 19 19

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a campaign to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it. On the books stacks by the library entrance you can find a range of materials relating to this topic. Please note: these materials may be re-traumatizing for some people.

With guidance from Jessica Matthews, Sexual Assault Victims Advocate, we have built a display of materials recommended by her and other support practitioners. Our collections contain academic approaches to understanding assault and trauma, guidebooks and support materials, memoirs, as well as books aimed at a general audience. We have chosen to include all of these types of materials in the display because different people need different resources. Please see a library staff member if you have any questions or concerns about the materials on display.

If you need help, personal support is available from:

Libraries strengthen their communities: celebrate National Library Week April 7-13

by Julie Carter  Apr 8 19

Libraries=Strong Communities

This week, Penrose Library joins libraries of all types in celebrating the many ways libraries build strong communities by providing critical resources, programs and expertise.

April 7-13, 2019 is National Library Week, an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians and library workers play in transforming lives and communities. Libraries are at the heart of their cities, towns, schools and campuses. They have public spaces where people of all backgrounds can come together and connect.

Penrose Library helps lead our community by fostering the intellectual engagement and scholarly practice of the Whitman community. We curate and provide access to diverse and unique collections, and teach the skills and concepts needed to navigate complex information environments at Whitman and beyond.

There’s no better time than #NationalLibraryWeek to share what you love about your library. Use #MyLibraryMyStory in your post for a chance to win a $100 VISA gift card. Promotion starts April 7 at noon CT and ends April 13 at noon CT.

An Evening of Reflections with Professor David Schmitz in Celebration of the Digitization of The Pioneer

by Julie Carter  Mar 25 19
A Lecture on “the Liberal Arts in Crisis in the 1970s: A Preview of Volume III of the History of Whitman College”

Join Penrose Library and the Office of Alumni Relations to celebrate the digitization of The Pioneer, Whitman’s student newspaper, and the updated of version of ARMINDA, our institutional repository. To commemorate this occasion Dr. David F. Schmitz, the Robert Allen Skotheim Chair of History, will present a lecture on the history of the college and lessons learned while conducting archival research. Professor Schmitz will discuss the problems that faced Whitman College (and all liberal arts colleges) in the mid-1970s.

A reception will immediately follow the lecture.

Thursday, March 28 at 7:00 p.m.
Penrose Library, Allen Reading Room

Professor Schmitz has taught history at Whitman since 1985 and celebrated his retirement from the classroom this past May. He is the author or editor of ten books, most recently “Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War: The End of the American Century.” During his tenure he served his department, the college, and the Whitman community in numerous ways, including Chair of the Faculty and the most recent Presidential Search committee.

Public Domain in 2019

by Emily Pearson  Jan 11 19

(Cover art: Hopper, E. (1923). The Locomotive. Retrieved from

2019 is a big year for copyright in the US. January 1st marked the first mass release of materials into the public domain since 1998, when the Sonny Bono Act passed and pushed the amount of time after a work was created that it would be released to the public domain up to 95 years (“Public Domain Day 2019,” 2019). This means as of January 1, 2019, anything made in 1923 or earlier is in the public domain. There are works published after 1923 that are in the Public Domain because they were not properly copyrighted or because creator’s purposefully chose to release their work to the public domain.

Cecil B. DeMille. (1923). The Ten Commandments. Retrieved from

But what does this mean for you? Public Domain means that materials, including books, poems, images, film, and any other materials that can be copyrighted are available for free use by anyone, meaning you can create a work of art that contains the full text of Robert Frost’s “New Hampshire,” or that you can have free access to the complete text of Virginia Woolf’s novel Jacob’s Room, or that you can host a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s film “The Pilgrim” without acquiring the Public Performance Rights.

Mack, C., & Johnson, J. (1923). Charleston. Harms Incorporated. Retrieved from

That being said, assuring something is in the public domain or finding it now that it is can be difficult. It’s easier to prove a copyright exists than that it doesn’t. As well, while a lot of things technically entered the public domain, years of neglect and other factors have led to them being ruined or lost entirely, particularly early films. Penrose Library recently joined Hathitrust, a partnership of academic & research institutions who were responsible for much of the digitization the created Google Books. Hathitrust has put together a collection of the over 50,000 works in the Public Domain they have digitized. These works can be downloaded whole, text-mined, repurposed, and re-used freely. Other massive digital collections from the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress have filters to show you only public domain works.

For more information on copyright check out our guide.


Public Domain Day 2019. (2019). Retrieved January 11, 2019, from


Feeling the “winter blues”?

by Julie Carter  Nov 30 18

Penrose Library houses six light therapy lamps for those who feel light deprived or are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Our “happy lights” provide daytime light intensity by replicating early morning or late afternoon spring-time light levels. Lamps are available on the first, second, and third floors of the library. Please consult the instructions for proper use provided with each lamp.

Lamps furnished by ASWC Savings Fund Grant.

Thanksgiving Break Hours

by Julie Carter  Nov 16 18
Penrose Library will observe the following hours during Thanksgiving Break:
November 16, Closed at 5:00 pm
November 17-21, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
November 22-23, Closed
November 24, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
November 25, Open at 1:00 pm, resume 24 hours for the Whitman community

Trans Awareness Week Display

by Julie Carter  Nov 9 18

November 12 – 19 marks Transgender Awareness Week, a time to increase visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming communities and the issues they face. On the short book stacks by the library entrance, you can find a selection of materials exploring transgender history, lives, and resources. Works include academic texts, fiction, and films. More resources are available in Sherlock. Last year, the Office of LGBTQIA+ and the student group P.R.I.S.M. put together a list of digital media with LGBTQIA+ characters, actors, or creators. If you’re looking for something to watch or listen to, this can be a great way to find media with positive LGBTQIA+ representation. If you have suggestions to add to the list, you can submit them here for the Office’s consideration.

Transgender Awareness Week leads up to November 20, Transgender Day of Remembrance, which “honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence” according to GLAAD. TDOR was started in 1998 in honor of Rita Hester. For more information on the day visit

International Open Access Week 2018

by Julie Carter  Oct 24 18

October 22-28, 2018 celebrates International Open Access Week!  Open Access Week highlights the potential benefits of Open Access (OA) to make scholarly research available in digital forms online, free of charge and free of many copyright and licensing restrictions.  This year’s Open Access Week theme is “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge” emphasizing the importance of open systems being inclusive and equitable as OA becomes more prevalent to share research.

Dalia Corkrum, Library Director, shares news about Lever Press, an open access monograph publishing imprint, supported primarily by the Oberlin Group of Academic Libraries.

Lever Press : A Game Changer Facilitated by Liberal Arts College Libraries

 “Give me a place to stand with a lever,” said Archimedes, “and I can move the whole world.”

Several years ago, a group of liberal arts college library directors, despairing over the crisis in academic publishing, wringing their hands over failed efforts to reform the system, and kvetching about the millions of dollars they dispatch annually to the coffers of presses whose practices they oppose, decided to repurpose some funds and create the lever they lacked.

The result: The Lever Press was launched in 2016.  Whitman College through Penrose Library was one of the founding members.

Fifty-four liberal arts college libraries, most of whom are members of the Oberlin Group of Libraries, spent two years studying the problems associated with current models of scholarly publishing, identifying alternatives, surveying faculty regarding their publishing needs and finding publishing partners who align with our vision.  We made a financial commitment to pledge ½ of 1% of our acquisitions budgets for five years in order to develop a digitally native press that places transformational scholarship at its core. Our member institutions focus on, and are renowned for, excellence in teaching and scholarship. We expect no less from our press.

For members of the Oberlin Group and a few other selected institutions to embark on launching a press was no easy task.  Few of us had previous experience with academic publishing and no one had excess funds to devote to the project. It was our deep understanding of the flawed publishing system and our commitment to equity of access to scholarship that propelled this project.  We currently fund the press and elect representatives to govern it. The Amherst College Press runs the editorial side of the operation, and Michigan Publishing runs the production side. But the Oversight Committee, which sets policy, consists of library directors. The Editorial Board consists of established scholars with tenured appointments at supporting institutions.  

How is Lever Press different from other Open Access initiatives?  The founding members of Lever Press made a commitment to totally funding the press – there are no submission fees, no download fees, no access fees – no fees of any kind.  Only print-on-demand services involve a monetary exchange.

The liberal arts ethos and the conviction that the liberal arts remain relevant to all people undergirds the Lever Press’s open-access commitment. All works published by the Lever Press are freely available to readers online, immediately upon publication. I think it bears repeating that the Lever Press goes one step further: unlike most open-access presses, the Lever Press charges neither readers nor authors.  All the costs of acquiring, editing, developing, and producing work are borne collectively by supporting institutions—not by individual authors or granting agencies. The Lever Press will never charge an author or her institution for publishing with Lever. Platinum open access means the Lever Press considers works solely with regard to that work’s scholarly merit; because Lever covers the costs of producing the work it acquires, it selects work only because it has deemed that work worthy of its investment.

The Lever Press aims for rigor in all matters. Although it rejects traditional practices that limit access to scholarship (pay walls, subscriptions, author fees and subventions), it embraces traditional practices (practices fading at some traditional presses) that mark good publishing: active recruitment of good scholars, the commissioning of new work, vigorous and transparent peer review, developmental editing, stringent copy editing, and professional production. Our first publication, reflecting all these commitments is Robin Truth Goodman’s Promissory Notes: On the Literary Conditions of Debt, was just published on October 17th.  In addition to citation and access information, each title receives clear indication of the level of peer review received.

Lever Press’s editors explore intellectual connections across academic disciplines and divisions, champion works whose methods and modalities reach beyond the standard 100,000-word monograph, and inspire the close collaborations between faculty and undergraduate students to develop path-breaking ideas communicated with clarity and creativity into publications that “teach what they know.”

The Lever Press offers a case study in how a group of librarians can seize the initiative and make the changes they wish to see in an industry—in this case, the scholarly monograph publishing industry—changes that have a big impact on our work as librarians and on the communities we serve. The Press devotes itself to producing the highest quality scholarship in an economically sustainable model, embodying and reflecting the values of the liberal arts, and leading the way in establishing best practices for born-digital, peer reviewed, open access monograph publishing. It embraces diverse voices and viewpoints, it hews to the principles of equity and social justice, and it predicates its work on collective decision-making, working with communities of its members and beyond.