Through Aug. 13: After-hours creativity displayed at library

By Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries

PULLMAN, Wash. – It is part of human nature to collect things. Washington State University Libraries’ exhibit of personal employee collections includes such treasures as vintage purses, holiday Beanie Babies, 1940s-era menus, shot glasses and gaming miniatures.

“After Hours 3: Gathering Our Spare Time” will run in the Terrell Library atrium display case through Aug. 13. The annual “After Hours” exhibit shows the interests and creative works of library employees. Summer hours are 7:30 a.m.-8:45 p.m. Monday-Thursday; until 5:45 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-5:45 p.m. Saturday; and noon-8:45 p.m. Sunday.

Beanie Baby holidays

Social sciences reference and instruction librarian Lorena O’English has been a Beanie Babies collector since the 1990s. Initially, she wouldn’t buy one because there were too many to choose from.

“A friend watched me dither and later gave me a Thanksgiving turkey Beanie Baby, and I realized my problem was solved: I would focus on holiday Beanie Babies,” O’English said. “I display my Beanies in my kitchen window over the course of the year to help celebrate the holidays they symbolize.”

Menus from a foodie

Animal health sciences librarian Suzanne Fricke’s collection is actually from her parents: menus they acquired during the 1940s-50s in their cross-country travels.

Chicago-Room-menu-web“My dad became a foodie while serving on an aircraft carrier during World War II,” she said. “The part of my parents’ early life that I love is that when they were first married, they went on a travel-trailer trip around the United States.

“My dad met the inventor of the curly phone cord in Seattle and became one of his first salesmen,” she added. “He could walk into any restaurant, and managers were always excited to buy a few from him. I suppose it paid for dinner and gas to get to the next town.”

Stein and shot glass

Slovakian-stein-shot-glass-webRaise a glass to reference librarian Erin Hvizdak, whose collection of shot glasses tracks her excursions around the world, whether personally or through family and friends. Among her favorites is a miniature stein from Slovakia (she is of Slovakian descent.)

“Traveling, seeing new places, eating new food and meeting new people are things I love and try to do often,” she said. “I also have others buy them for me as a reminder of the huge world we live in.”

War-gaming by the brushstroke

Metadata librarian Greg Matthews started painting gaming miniatures in 1995. A popular hobby, painting miniatures is a great way to exercise the right brain and indulge in one’s fancy, he said.

“Playing games with painted miniatures is a blast, though I most enjoy the painting aspect of the war-gaming hobby,” he said. “In this exhibit, the fantasy pirate bearing a blunderbuss sitting in a wooden cart is one favorite.”

Liquid memories

Nancy Beebe with a pitcher.

Some of the pitchers in library and archives paraprofessional Nancy Beebe’s collection are family heirlooms, representing such countries as England and France.

“Pitchers were always used when I was growing up, and I still like to use them whenever I can instead of just putting an open bottle on the table,” she said. “I love the variety of shapes and sizes pitchers come in and consider them a link to the past or a happy memory.”

Hitting the town in style

Humanities librarian Gabriella Reznowski treasures her collection of vintage purses from the 1920s-60s. The purses belonged to her grandmother and great-aunts who were first-generation Czech immigrants to Canada.

“They would have been young adults during the Roaring Twenties, and these purses tell me that they truly lived their era,” she said. “I can imagine them placing a dollar or two and a pretty lipstick in these little bags for a fun night on the town. We have many old family photos that show that they loved to dress up and embraced their new culture while maintaining their Czech pride.”

Read profiles of the “After Hours” exhibitors and see more photos of their collections on the WSU Libraries’ Facebook page at


Wendy Blake, WSU Libraries, 509-335-2778,
Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries’ public relations, 509-335-6744,