Office of the Women’s Studies Librarian

The University of Wisconsin is chocked full of experts, and the halls of Memorial Library here on campus are no exception. Tucked away on the fourth floor is the Office of the UW System Women’s Studies Librarian. Founded in 1977 by librarians and scholars from throughout the UW System, today the office continues to fulfill its mission to assist students, faculty, librarians, and administrators all over the state in navigating a wealth of interdisciplinary resources on women and gender.

The Office is headed by distinguished academic librarian Phyllis Holman Weisbard and staffed by senior editor JoAnne Lehman, editor Linda Fain, office operations associate Heather Shimon, and three student assistants: Beth Hwang, Michelle Preston, and Kelsey Wallner - quite an awesome group of women!

It’s a unique model: an entire office dedicated to the research, collection, and location of materials around a broad and diverse subject, serving the entire university system!

As if that’s not enough, the office also publishes three periodicals that alert students and faculty across Wisconsin to important new books, articles, videos, and web-based material on women and gender studies. The periodicals  — reviewing journal Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women’s Studies Resources, contents publication Feminist Periodicals: A Current Listing of Contents, and subject-arranged and indexed bibliography New Books on Women, Gender, and Feminism — are distributed free to libraries and gender/women’s studies departments throughout the UW System and by paid subscription to others. WAVE: Women’s Audiovisuals in English, a database of video information, is another office project.

Need help? Phyllis offers library research guidance to individuals and groups in person and via an extensive website at http://womenst.library.wisc.edu/.

Phyllis Holman Weisbard (in pink) with the staff of the American Information Resource Center in Kolkata, during a 2003 trip to India as a visiting speaker (funded by the American Centers, U.S. State Department)

More pictures here: http://womenst.library.wisc.edu/staffpictures.htm


Interlibrary Loan: You Get What You Need

Can’t find what you need in the UW-Madison Library collections? Despair not! Interlibrary Loan at the University of Wisconsin-Madison allows us to share resources with UW System schools and local libraries throughout the state, maximizing the materials available to curious Wisconsinites.

Our strategic partnerships with Wisconsin libraries and institutions help us to meet the different research needs of Wisconsin communities while at the same time acquiring materials for our local researchers. And we’re good at it: UW-Madison Libraries are ranked tops year after year for their ability to meet the needs of their own faculty, students, and staff here on campus and more distant inquiring minds statewide.

So, want something you don’t have? Share! Turns out those lessons from preschool still apply…


Troy Reeves is Listening

The Wisconsin Idea is a big one, and while it means many things to many people, a core principle is sharing our campus expertise with the larger Wisconsin community. Since taking over as Oral History Program lead in June 2007, Troy Reeves has done just that.

The Oral History Project at UW-Madison got its start in 1971 interviewing emeritus professors about their research. In the past 40 years the goals of the program have expanded considerably: faculty, staff, students, and everyone else on campus have a story to tell. Those stories now amount to over 4,000 hours of recorded interviews, and growing!

Collections within the program include:

The U.S. Forest Products Lab Centennial Collection – documents the experiences of current and former employees to balance healthy forests with forest-based economies

The Arboretum Collection – encompassing interviews related to the Arboretum, including Civilian Conservation Corps members who worked there in the 1930s

Women in Science and Engineering – records the efforts of women working in science, engineering, mathematics, and medical fields beginning in the 1920s

Badger Village – recalls the experiences of those who lived in the Badger Village, where married veterans and their families were housed from 1946 to 1951

UW-Madison Teaching Assistants Association Strike of 1970 – preserves the experiences of participants and onlookers in the contentious political clash on campus

The Supplementary Tape Collection – collects and preserves recordings of all types related to the UW-Madison and individuals within it

In 2010, The Oral History Program marked the 40th anniversary of the Sterling Hall bombing with a booth in Memorial Library where Wisconsinites could share their memories of the traumatic day and its aftermath. Excerpts of these interviews are available to anyone online: http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/UW/UW-idx?type=browse&scope=UW.SterlingBomb

Troy is a multi-tasker: along with the UW Archives Oral History Program, he leads the campus and community LGBT Oral History Project. He also uses his experience and expertise to train folks at oral history workshops held throughout the state as part of history and library conferences, and leads annual Wisconsin Oral History Day colloquiums—held in Madison, Eau Claire, and Milwaukee.

If you’re looking for a living, breathing example of the Wisconsin Idea in action, Troy’s your man!




Professor Richard Davidson on Changing Your Brain

That Professor Richard Davidson found time to write a book at all is a feat in itself: his titles at UW-Madison include the William James & Vilas Professor of Psychology, Director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, Founder and Chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, and Director of the Laboratory for Effective Neuroscience. But with the help of science journalist Sharon Begley, “The Emotional Life of Your Brain” was published this month by Penguin to rave reviews. In it, Davidson explores the six emotional ‘styles’ that make up each individual’s personality, and explores ways we can change our brains and how they (and we) meet life’s challenges. This concept of neuroplasticity holds hope not only for self-help, but for the treatment of mental illnesses from depression to autism to attention deficit disorder.

Davidson is also an editor of “The Mind’s Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation,” as well as the author of scores of scientific articles.

Check out his website for more about the book and for video of Davidson speaking about his research:


Technician Michael Anderle (left with eyeglasses) and co-principal investigators Richard J. Davidson (center wearing jacket) and Antoine Lutz (right) prepare Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard for a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) test at the MRI facility in the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (photo by Jeff Miller and courtesy of UW Communications).


UW Digital Collections Center

Want something beautiful? Rare? Fascinating? Chances are the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center has something to delight your aesthetic and intellectual senses.

Founded in 2000, the UWDCC is driven by the principle that the boundaries of the University are the boundaries of the State. Since then, they have created and offered access to digital resources to support the teaching, research, and curiosity of Wisconsinites far and wide.

The UWDCC provides access to rare and fragile materials of broad research value, as well as lesson plans for educators. They also work with individuals throughout the UW System and Wisconsin Public Libraries to preserve unique pieces that document the history of the University of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin as a whole.  And it’s not just text. The Digital Collections Center offers thousands of striking images and even sound recordings.

Most importantly, these resources are free and publicly accessible online! The UWDCC strongly encourages Wisconsinites to poke around, explore, share, teach, and of course, enjoy.


Pat Tuchscherer, coordinator of reformatting for the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center (UWDCC), works in a darkened room in Memorial Library, scanning books from the Kohler Art Library to be made available online. The digital resources include books, journal series and manuscript collections; photographic images; maps; fine art prints; posters; audio; and video. (Photo courtesy of UW Communications)