Back to School

The beginning of a new academic year is an exhilarating time for students and faculty alike. Whether you’re new or returning, walking onto campus at the beginning of a new school year can inspire a whole lot of different emotions—enthusiasm, excitement, and delight all mix together with a little trepidation, confusion, and worry. This time of year, spirits are high as the entire community anticipates gathering together in a common space for teaching, learning, research, growth, fun, camaraderie, and so much more. Although the start of the new school year can feel chaotic at times, it also offers new beginnings and all sorts of new possibilities. As we head into academic year 2023-24, why not explore the wonderful world of college through fictional accounts such as the ones listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide?

College is the reward for surviving high school.—Judd Aptow

Say It Loud, Say It Proud

gay pride paradePride Month is celebrated each year in June to honor the Stonewall Riots or Uprising that took place in 1969 in New York City to protest the police raid of a gay club called the Stonewall Inn. This spontaneous protest is acknowledged by many as the catalyst for the gay rights movement.  According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Gay Pride or LGBTQ+ Pride Month “commemorates years of struggle for civil rights and the ongoing pursuit of equal justice under the law for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, as well as the accomplishments of LGBTQ individuals.”  All across the nation and the world, celebrations take place to honor the fight for equal rights and the many contributions of the LGBTQ+ community; events include pride parades, picnics, parties, concerts, workshops, and more. During this month, memorials are also held in remembrance of those who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.  Given the current political and societal battles over a variety of LGBTQ+ issues and rights, it seems that it is more important than ever to recognize Pride Month.  So join us in celebration and check out recent LGBTQ+ sources from our collection on our WU Reads Reading Guide.


Wallenfeldt, Jeff. “Why Is Pride Month Celebrated in June?”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 27 May. 2022, Accessed 26 May 2023.

For more information, see:

Human Rights Campaign–Celebrate Pride with Us

Library of Congress–LGBTQ Pride Month

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:

6 Unexpected Health Benefits of Walking:


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:

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: