Talk to the Animals

child feeding an alpacaDid you know that the oldest zoo in the United States (in operation since 1874) is the Philadelphia Zoo?  And one of the biggest aquariums in the U.S. is located right here on the West Coast at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  The Oregon Zoo, situated on 64 acres in Portland, features over 2,500 animals and attracts more than 1.5 million visitors a year.  Zoos and aquariums have been around for centuries, and they have often been the center of controversies.  Some of the common and well-founded criticisms revolve around treatment of animals, space concerns, etc.  But at their best, zoos and aquariums prioritize animal welfare, conservation, research, and education.  June is National Zoo and Aquarium Month and we’re celebrating by featuring a diverse assortment of zoo and aquarium-related titles from our collection on our WU Reads Reading Guide.


For more information on zoos and aquariums see:

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (

Oregon Zoo (

May Flowers

pink dogwood bloomsAs the old saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers,” and that is certainly true all around the great Northwest!  Flowers, blossoms, and blooms are everywhere this time of year, delighting our eyes and our noses (unless we suffer from allergies).  From lilac bushes to dogwood trees, “everything’s coming up roses” right now.  Speaking of roses, they are just starting to open up in all their classic beauty and will brighten our lives all summer long.  And we can’t forget the delicate beauty of native plants such as trillium and camas.  So as the academic year winds down, remember to get outside, enjoy the glorious colors of the flowers that surround us, and “take time to smell the roses!”  And while you’re at it, why not check out the WU Reads Reading Guide for an interesting selection of flower-related books available from the University Libraries?


“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” — Cicero

The Power of Poetry

wall with graffiti about poetryIn April 1996, the Academy of American Poets founded National Poetry Month to remind us all “that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters.”  One of the primary goals of the month is to “highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets.” Over the years, Poetry Month has become a huge literary observance with readers, students, teachers, librarians, booksellers, publishers, and, of course, poets from around the country participating in this month-long celebration in a whole host of different ways.  Many special activities, readings, and virtual events are scheduled to occur during April in honor of poetry. For instance, on April 29, poetry lovers are encouraged to participate in “Poem in Your Pocket Day.” On this day, select a poem, carry it with you, and share it with others wherever you go, including on social media using the hashtag #PocketPoem. Poetry can expose us to the beauty, anger, pain, and joy all around us; it makes us think, wonder, cry, rage, and chuckle.  Join us this month in celebrating the magic of poetry and poets!

To find out more about National Poetry Month, go to  And check out the WU Reads Reading Guide for an interesting selection of recent books of poetry available in our collection.

If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. –Emily Dickinson

Food for Thought

fruits and vegetablesThe Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics invites us all to join them in celebrating National Nutrition Month. “During the month of March, everyone is invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.”  This annual campaign features a different theme every year; this year’s theme is “Celebrate a World of Flavors” and highlights flavors from different cultures around the globe as a “tasty way to nourish ourselves and appreciate our diversity.”  What we eat can impact us in so many ways–hence the expression, “You are what you eat!” Studies show that there is a definite relationship between what we eat and the functioning of our brains so as members of the Willamette and higher education communities, it makes sense for us all to be striving towards healthy eating.  So help yourself to some leafy greens, grab an apple, and check out these nutrition-related titles listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

“Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health.” – Julia Child


A Stitch in Time

photo of embroidery

The art of embroidery has been around for centuries and spans most cultures around the world. Taking needle and thread to fabric or other materials to create beautiful scenes or patterns, embroidery is both challenging and gratifying.  The variety of stitches, techniques, and colors, adds to the complexity and richness of embroidery.  Through the ages, embroidery has been used to decorate ceremonial attire, religious objects, household objects, book bindings, wall hangings, pillow cases, denim work shirts, and much more. Machine embroidery emerged during the Industrial Revolution and now embroidery appears on items such as polo shirts and baseball hats.  Hand embroidery remains a vital part of society and like sourdough bread baking, stitching has become increasingly popular during the pandemic. February is designated as National Embroidery Month; join us in celebration by checking out one of these embroidery-related titles from our collection listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that – one stitch at a time taken patiently and the pattern will come out all right like the embroidery.

—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Winter Chill

feet with cozy socks, books, and cup of coffeeIt is generally true that winter is a pretty chilly time of the year in the Pacific Northwest so it is the perfect time for all of us to work on our ability to chill out! Campus life is hectic with teaching, learning, working on papers and projects, studying, participating in sports, clubs, music groups, internships and so much more. Then you add into the mix all the events going on in the world and our minds are whirling! We all need a reprieve from the hustle and bustle surrounding us and as the semester rushes to a close, maybe we should spend part of winter break in the pursuit of, well, nothing!  Or at the very least, let’s all just spend some time taking it easy, playing, goofing off, relaxing, and rejuvenating!  Winter break provides the ideal opportunity for all of us to explore the lost art of leisure. So check out one of the leisure-related books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide, fix yourself a soothing cup of tea, put your feet up, and chill!

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

totem poleNovember is National Native American Heritage Month (also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month) and as such, it is the perfect time to reflect on the rich and varied traditions, languages, and contributions of the indigenous peoples of North America. As of 2020, over seven million Native Americans and Native Alaskans live in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes, representing hundreds of different cultures. Native peoples many achievements in the areas of art, literature, music, dance, sports, cuisine, farming, and more are impressive but it is also important to recognize and acknowledge the struggles and hardships experienced by Native Americans both in the past and the present. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, check out a selection of the Hatfield Library’s recent materials by or about Native Americans (including books by Joy Harjo, the first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate) on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

For more information, see American Indian and Alaska Native Data Links:


Fa-boo-lous October

Tree with jack o'lanterns, owls, and batsIt’s that spooky, creepy, scary, time of the year filled with bats, black cats, ghouls, pumpkins, and all sorts of autumnal fun!  Yes, it’s time to carve jack-o’-lanterns, roast pumpkin seeds, and stock up on Halloween candy.  The weather is getting cooler and the days are getting shorter, so grab your coziest sweater, your favorite hot beverage, and settle down in your comfiest chair with a good Halloween-related read!  Have a look at a great selection of titles available from the Hatfield Library and listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

Fun fact:  According to, the top Halloween candy in the U.S. is Reese’s Cups.  In Oregon, the top candy is M&M’s!

The Campus Novel

aerial photo of campus buildings in the fallAs we head into a new academic year, what better way to get prepared than by reading a campus novel?  A campus novel or academic novel is a genre of fiction where the main action occurs on or around a college campus or in an academic setting.  One of the earliest examples of this is The Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy, which offers a satiric look at the faculty and administration at a small, liberal arts college.  A subgenre is the campus murder mystery such as Donna Tartt’s fascinating novel, The Secret History.  Exploring the wonderful world of college through fictional accounts written by talented novelists is a pleasure not to be missed, so grab one of the books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide, and get ready to be entertained, intrigued, annoyed, frightened and much more!

Beauty and the Beach

The ocean, rocks, waves, sky, cloudsSummer is here and for many of us summer brings to mind sand, sun, water—the beach!  Oh, the beach with the seagulls crying, the waves crashing, the sun sparkling on the water, the scent of the salty air, the feel of the sand beneath our feet…  Walking along the beach has a way of soothing us and at the same time, making us feel more alive.  After a wonderful walk on the beach, finding a comfortable seat on a driftwood log, pulling a book from your backpack, and settling down to read is a moment of pure joy!  So, head to the shore, enjoy the magic of the ocean, walk barefoot in the waves, then find that perfect spot, and check out one of the following beach-related books (both print and electronic) available through the Hatfield Library and listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and brings eternal joy to the soul. — Robert Wyland

If there’s heaven for me, I’m sure it has a beach attached to it. — Jimmy Buffett