Walking on Sunshine

photo of legs and red shoes walking Warmer weather, longer hours of daylight, beautiful flowering plants and leafing out trees—it’s the perfect time of year to get outside and go for a walk. And if you need a little additional incentive, May is National Walking Month!  Walking is a great form of exercise for most people—you don’t need any equipment beyond decent shoes, you don’t need to be a part of a team to participate, and you don’t need to be athletically gifted.  It’s just so easy—you just put on your shoes and walk out the door!

Walking has enormous physical and mental health benefits.  According to Harvard Health Publishing, walking provides some surprising benefits including counteracting the effects of weight-promoting genes, taming your sweet tooth, reducing the risk of developing breast cancer, easing joint pain, and boosting immune function.

Walking gets you outdoors where you can reconnect with nature, marvel at the antics of birds, squirrels and other critters, admire the blooms, and soak up a little vitamin D.  Walking is also a wonderful way to alleviate stress, which is particularly helpful as we head into finals.  So lace up those shoes and head out for a walk—you’ll enjoy every step!  And before you go, have a look at some of the library’s walking-related books on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

For more information on walking, see the following resources:

Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking

6 Unexpected Health Benefits of Walking: https://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/walking-benefits

Walking: https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/walking/index.htm

Excellence in Research Awards

Green check mark and the word excellentIf you are a student and have written and researched an excellent paper, consider submitting your paper for consideration for the Excellence in Research Award.  Faculty, please encourage your best student writers/researchers to apply.

Sponsored by the University Libraries, the Excellence in Research Award recognizes and rewards Willamette undergraduate students in any discipline who demonstrate outstanding research using library and information resources in writing a paper. Up to two awards of $500 each are available.

Student papers written in the sophomore or junior year as part of regular class work are eligible to be considered for this award. The paper must be 7 pages or more in length and written in the current academic year (fall 2022/spring 2023); a separate, one-page description of the research process is also required. The faculty mentor who worked with the student during the production of the paper is asked to submit a statement of support and a copy of the assignment.

Group papers and papers done as a senior project but in the junior year are excluded.  All documents need to be submitted by May 12, 2023 at 5:00 pm.

For complete details and instructions, see: https://library.willamette.edu/about/award/

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Head of an ostrich smilingAlthough we may not want to admit it, a whole lot of us spend a fair amount of time watching silly cat videos or sitcoms.  We love the bloopers at the end of movies or we pretend we’re reading the newspaper for the news but we’re really looking at the cartoons. Well, that’s okay because it turns out that laughter is a wonderful stress relief!  According to staff at the Mayo Clinic, laughter has lots of short-term benefits (soothes tension, stimulates heart, lungs, and muscles, etc.) as well as long-term benefits (improves immune system, relieves pain, helps lessen depression, etc.).  And now is the perfect time to smile, giggle, and laugh out loud because April is National Humor Month!  With the end of the semester looming, all of us could probably benefit from a good laugh so check out the humor-related books on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

For more information on National Humor Month and laughter see:

National Humor Month


Sophie Scott’s Ted Talk on Why We Laugh


Stress Relief from Laughter? It’s No Joke


Freedom to Read

Sunset with silhouette of a girl readingMarch is National Reading Month and thus an excellent time to celebrate the joys and wonders of reading.  Reading is a fundamental skill that enriches us in countless ways; for some of us, reading a great book is like welcoming a new friend into our lives.  The freedom to choose what you want to read is exciting and empowering and yet this freedom is being challenged at school and public libraries across the country in record numbers.  We all have things we have to read for work and/or school and those documents are important, instructive, and even life changing.  But there is something about choosing your own books that harkens back to our early days as a kid standing in front of the children’s section in our local library and reaching for that title that somehow spoke to us saying “Read me!”  So exercise your right to read whatever you want by picking up a book of your choice and reading a few minutes each day.  To start you out, have a look at the bookish suggestions on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. – Dr Seuss

There are many little ways to enlarge your world.  Love of books is the best of all. – Jacqueline Kennedy

For information about censorship see:  The American Library Association’s Fight Censorship site:  https://www.ala.org/advocacy/fight-censorship

Appreciating Art and Architecture

Art and architecture surround and impact us on a daily basis.  Paintings can make us stop and stare in wonder, sculptures can make us yearn to reach out and touch them, and buildings can inspire awe or makes us feel a sense of comfort and peace.  Human beings have been making art since the beginning of time; art is a reflection of our society and our culture.  Creating art stimulates the mind of the artist/architect while at the same inspiring the viewer in countless ways. museum architecture December is Art and Architecture Month and we’re celebrating by featuring a selection of recent art and architecture-related books from our collection on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

Architecture is a art when one consciously or unconsciously creates aesthetic emotion in the atmosphere and when this environment produces well being.—Luis Barragán

Good art is art that allows you to enter it from a variety of angles and to emerge with a variety of views.—Mary Schmich

Awesome Autumn

birds on water in autumnal landscape

It’s raining, the leaves are falling, and there is a nip in the air–hooray, it’s fall!  Time to uncover your coziest sweaters, discover your favorite hot beverage at the Bistro, and revel in all things pumpkin!  There’s something magical about grabbing your rain gear, tromping around among the colorful leaves, and listening to the geese fly overhead. Fall tourism or “leaf peeping” is big business in the New England states, but Oregon puts on some pretty impressive leaf shows as well. Fall bird migration is also in full swing so it is the perfect time to explore bird watching–take a walk at Minto Brown or visit nearby wildlife refuges like Ankeny or Basket Slough. And if you just feel like curling up in a comfy chair with a good book, check out the interesting selection of autumn-related print and e-books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

Wild is the music of the autumnal winds amongst the faded woods. –William Wordsworth

Celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month

pride flagsIn 1994, Rodney Wilson, a high school teacher in Missouri, decided that a month should be dedicated to celebrating and exploring gay and lesbian history. Along with other teachers and community leaders, they chose October to coincide with National Coming Out Day, which falls on October 11th. Several national organizations endorsed the idea and in 2006, Equality Forum, “a national and international LGBT civil rights organization with an educational focus,” took on the responsibility for coordinating the month-long celebration. LGBTQ+ History Month provides us with the opportunity to recognize and discover the vital role of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in American history. Thirty-one important lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals are highlighted and celebrated throughout the month; this year, Oregon’s Governor, Kate Brown, was chosen as one of these icons and her achievements will be honored on October 10th. In celebration of  LGBTQ+ History Month, checkout these recently published books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

For more information:

First, We Eat…

wooden bowl with potatoes and mushroomsWhat do potatoes, mushrooms, and rice have in common?  Besides being delicious (depending on who you talk to, of course) and nutritious, these three food sources share the same appreciation month.  That’s right–September is National Potato Month, National Mushroom Month, and National Rice Month.  Who knew?  And did you know that potatoes are grown in all 50 states?  And although often considered a vegetable, a mushroom is neither a plant nor animal.  In the world of biology, mushrooms make up their own kingdom–Fungi!  When it comes to rice, the average American eats 27 pounds of rice a year.  Rice constitutes 20% of the world’s dietary energy supply, edging out wheat at 19%.  Food scarcity is a growing concern worldwide so it seems appropriate to take a moment to think about the food we consume and appreciate the nutritional value in unassuming food sources such as potatoes, mushrooms, and rice.  Checkout related sources from our collection on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

Potatoes have much more staying power than caviar.
— Mark Helprin

To find out more, see the following websites:

Dog Days of Summer

puppy playing with a hose in the sun

We’ve all heard of the “dog days of summer” but what does that phrase really mean and where did it come from?  Many of us would define the term as referring to the hottest days of summer, but after just a little investigation, it is clear that there are a lot of different theories floating around about this phrase.  The Farmers’ Almanac is pretty specific; according to this source, the “dog days” run from July 3 through August 11 and they are typically the “hottest and most unbearable days of the season.”  The Almanac mentions that some think this term came about because these hot days aren’t “fit for a dog.” Other people speculate that the phrase comes from the notion that during the hot days of summer, dogs become less active and laze about in the sun or that the extreme heat during this part of the year causes some dogs to go mad.  But the term has more to do with the stars than dogs, according to the Oxford English Dictionary: “The hottest part of the summer, associated in ancient times with heliacal rising of the Dog Star in the Mediterranean area, and formerly considered to be the most unhealthy period of the year and a time of ill omen.”  Yikes!  And Merriam-Webster defines “dog days” as “the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere.”  In any event, the Hatfield Library would like to celebrate the “dog days of summer” by highlighting books related to our furry, four-legged, canine friends on our WU Reads Reading Guide. Head on over to the library and “fetch” one of these titles for your reading pleasure!

More information: