Collection Features Voices from Portland’s Sustainable Economy

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By Laura Gleim, Institute for Sustainable Solutions

Wondering what New Seasons was like back in 2006 as it ramped up to take the Portland area by storm? Or how Hopworks Urban Brewery’s pubs can afford to have custom furniture made of old growth wood? Or why Portland Fashion Week staked its claim on eco-fashion? A new archive of candid audio interviews with local Portland entrepreneurs, innovators, and policy-makers has the answers.

With more than 140 interviews, and the intention to add more each year, the public online archive at Portland State University Library represents the hotbed that is Portland’s sustainable economy. The Sustainability History Project features candid interviews with experts in the building, farming, fashion, brewing, food, transportation, and—get this—human burial industries, among many others.

“It’s the only thing like it,” said Joshua Binus, a Portland State University Capstone instructor who launched the project in 2006 with his students.

“We wanted to get past the veneer of green marketing and see how people in the Northwest were actually incorporating sustainability strategies into their businesses and policies,” Binus said.

The archive offers a way for anyone to spend some quality time with people who have tried doing things a little differently—and have found success:

  • Christian Ettinger, founder of Hopworks Urban Brewery, speaks about the intrinsic marketing power of sustainably made products and the long-term payoff of using quality building materials in restaurants and brewpubs. Find out what prompted him to “feel like a Hare Krishna at the airport trying to tell people this.”
  • Alisa Kane spoke early in her tenure as city of Portland’s green building manager, touching on the opportunities for women in green building, the city’s moves toward composting, and her desire to address social equity as an aspect of sustainability not covered by LEED, saying “I hope we address social issues as a culture, not as a standard.”
  • Chris Cone, production designer for Portland Fashion Week, describes how Portland embraced the concept of sustainability to produce a week of shows dedicated to eco-fashion that drew audiences from around the world.
  • John Ashcraft, recycling supervisor at Free Geek, describes the global culture of electronics reuse and recycling that was incubated in Portland and talks about how the iPad age is going to change the face of e-waste. “Anyone who sees this much scrap electronics will think twice before they buy something new.”

There’s also a fairly extensive set of interviews from 2013 with people working to make our public schools healthier, happier places for Portland’s children. Like the founders of Schoolyard Farms—an urban farm at Candy Lane Elementary that runs a CSA and uses the proceeds to fund food education programs at the school. Or Kristine Garnero Obbink, a nutritionist with Portland Public Schools, who helped introduce salad bars in school cafeterias: “We knew if kids could help themselves to as much or as little fruits and vegetables as they wanted, then they tended to eat them,” she said.

More than 200 students at Portland State University have participated in the project over the past eight years. Binus says that for many students, the experience has been transformational.

“Students get to a point where they feel this doom and gloom about sustainability issues,” said Binus. “We used this project as a way to help them see past that. The interviews as a whole are pretty optimistic—they’re about solid business models that are alternatives to the status quo.”

Listen to interviews for yourself from the Sustainability History Project at the PSU Library Special Collections and University Archives website. It’s free and publically accessible.

PSU students interview local entrepreneurs and innovators on how they implement sustainability strategies in business, policy, and daily life.
PSU students interview local entrepreneurs and innovators on how they implement sustainability strategies in business, policy, and daily life.

Google Scholar Links to Library Down (Updated)

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UPDATE: Google has restored the missing links and fixed the reported problems. If you continue to have any problems accessing library content, please ask a librarian for help.


Google Scholar is usually a great way to access content at PSU Library. However, many of their links to library content are missing or broken. This problem seems to be happening with many libraries, not just PSU. Google is aware of the problem and working on a fix. Right now they estimate the links will be working again on Thursday, November 27.

In the meantime, you can search for eJournals by journal title on the Library website or ask a librarian for help. We are available on the second floor of the Library, by phone, by email, by text, and by chat.


Linda Absher Presents Sabbatical Research

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Humanities Librarian Linda Absher presented “Lumpia & Fried Chicken: Biracial/Bicultural Military Families in Solano County, California” at the Third Biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference held at DePaul University in Chicago on November 14th. This presentation was based on her sabbatical project collecting the stories and images from families made up of U.S. servicemen and their Asian immigrant wives making the shift from life in Asian countries with U.S. military presences to the American way of life in Solano County, California.

Thanksgiving Schedule & 24-Hour Library

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Thanksgiving Schedule

An autumn view from the Library’s 5th Floor.

The Library will be closed Thursday, November 27 and Friday, November 28 for the Thanksgiving holiday. We are open regular hours all other days.

  • Wednesday, November 26: 7:30am – Midnight
  • Thursday, November 27: Closed
  • Friday, November 28: Closed
  • Saturday, November 29: 10:00am – 7:00pm
  • Sunday, November 30: Noon – Midnight

Dead Week and Finals Week Schedule

The Library will be open 24 hours from Monday, December 1 at 7:30am through Thursday, December 11 at midnight.

See Library Hours for more information.

Korean National Library Database Now Available

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Portland State University has become the first institution in Oregon and 18th in the U.S. to have access to the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) National Assembly Library (NAL) database.

Portland State University students, faculty, staff, and visiting members of the general public now have online access, via two dedicated computer stations on the second floor of Portland State University Library, to the largest digital Korean language-based database. The NAL database has more than 3.5 million historical and contemporary documents and resources primarily published in Korea, including master and doctoral theses, periodicals, journals, multimedia resources, publicly available Korean government documents and white papers, and internet resources. Database users will need to be familiar with the Korean language, as the ROK NAL website and database are accessible mainly in Korean.

Since 2012, visiting librarians from the ROK NAL have worked closely with PSU faculty and administrators to implement access to the ROK NAL at PSU. An agreement signing ceremony was recently held at PSU Library, following two years of collaborative efforts between PSU and the ROK. Special thanks should be addressed to the following people:

At Portland State University

  • Marilyn Moody, Library Dean
  • Ron L. Witczak, Executive Director of Office of International Affairs
  • Dr. Sharon Carstens, Director of the Institute for Asian Studies
  • Katherine Morrow, Program Manager in the Institute for Asian Studies
  • Stacey Balenger, Contract Officer
  • Dr. Junghee Lee, Associate Professor at the School of Social Work
  • Dr. Junghee Lee, Professor of Asian Art History

At Republic of Korea National Assembly Library

  • Chang Hwa Hwang, Chief Librarian
  • Dr. Woo Jin Noh, General Director
  • Hak Myung Woo, Director
  • Jung Soon Hong, Director
  • JaeKoo Han, Program Manager

PSU Library and the ROK NAL share a mutual vision and understanding that access to information available in the NAL database provides a public service benefit to faculty, researchers, students, and members of the general public. Users with questions about the database should contact the PSU Library Reference Desk on the Library’s second floor.

The National Assembly Library of the Republic of Korea was established to collect a wealth of information from around the world and deliver it both to members of the Republic of Korea National Assembly and the general public. In doing so, the NAL helps promote parliamentary democracy and quality of life, preserves intellectual heritage, and transmits that heritage to the next generation. Through signed agreements between the ROK NAL and institutions around the world, the NAL database is available to those outside Korea.

Portland State University joins 17 institutions in the USA to have access to the ROK NAL, including 14 universities, the Library of Congress, and the Korean Cultural Service in New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.

Reducing Student Costs for Textbooks

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A new campus task force is strategizing ways to reduce the cost of textbooks and course materials for students. The committee of faculty, students and staff was appointed by Provost Sona Andrews; Bob Liebman, presiding officer of the PSU Faculty Senate; and Eric Noll, president of the Associated Students of PSU. “The cost of textbooks and course materials is a complex issue, but not one we should shy away from,” said Andrews. Marilyn Moody, dean of the Library, chairs the task force, which will submit its recommendations by the end of February 2015.

The cost of textbooks and other course materials is a major concern and financial barrier for students. The College Board estimates that undergraduate students paid an average of $1,207 for textbooks and supplies in 2013-14. The newly formed Task Force on Textbooks and Course Materials: Reducing Student Costs is charged with reviewing and making recommendations for PSU that will address these rising costs.

The task force will consider such topics as the use of open textbooks and open educational resources; textbook adoption strategies and policies; and the effective use of library online resources and services. The task force will also review successful initiatives and strategies used by other colleges and universities to reduce student course material costs.

“We know there are many questions as we open up the textbook/course-materials-cost can of worms,” wrote Andrews in a recent blog. “Can we really reduce costs when so much of the cost of published material is out of our hands? What role will faculty need to play? Will this be an effort to tell faculty what books/resources they can and cannot assign for their courses? Are open-source materials any good? What are the technical and policy barriers to reducing textbook cost?”

Task Force on Textbooks and Course Materials: Reducing Student Costs


Marilyn Moody, Dean of the Library

Shadi Alkhaledi
Kathleen Steppe
Chelsey Weinmann

Joel Bettridge, English
Karen Bjork, Library
Jill Emery, Library
Berrin Erdogan, School of Business Administration
Emily Ford, Library
Gerardo Lafferiere, Mathematics and Statistics
Kim Pendell, Library
Ralf Widenhorn, Physics

Vince Schreck, Academic Affairs

Stephanie Doig, Library

New Digital Collection: Sustainability History Project

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In recognition of Campus Sustainability Day on Wednesday, October 22, PSU Library University Archives is thrilled to announce our new digital collection, the Sustainability History Project.

This audio collection is part of an ongoing senior capstone project at Portland State University. Launched in 2006 by Peter Kopp and Joshua Binus, the Sustainability History Project collection now contains interviews with hundreds of Portland entrepreneurs, innovators, and decision-makers who are working to implement sustainability strategies in their business practices, institutional policies, and daily lives. Over the course of seven years, more than two hundred Portland State students researched and conducted these interviews. The range of topics includes education, reuse, agriculture, housing, food supply, green building, transportation, forestry, recycling, green burial, landscaping, reclamation, and policy making.

Each interview includes an audio recording, a brief biography of the interview subject, and a description of the scope of the discussion. Some interviews include additional materials, most commonly an interview index, available as a downloadable PDF, as well as, in some cases, photographs or related publications.

Through the digitization work of PSU Library University Archives, you can now listen to these interviews online.


Special Collections & University Archives Open House

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PSU Library Special Collections & University Archives is pleased to invite the PSU community, alumni, and the public to an Open House on Friday, October 24, from 2-5pm, in Library 180.

See highlights of PSU history and rare treasures from our collections, including Medieval manuscripts, our Galileo manuscript, and Salvador Dali’s illustrations for a 1969 edition of Alice in Wonderland.

This Open House is part of Portland State of Mind.

Below, on the left, an illustration by Salvador Dali in his 1969 edition of Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland. On the right, a woodcut from the Dialogo di Galileo Galilei manuscript. Both items are held by PSU Library Special Collections and will be on display at the Open House.
Dali specialcollections_Galileo_1