Librarying with the cunning use of stick figures.

Collection development

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Alternatively titled: “Why I just put two comedic memoirs in the Select Cart.”

The college where I work is a rural college serving a minority student population. For many of these students, they are the first in their families to go to college. They have already taken a big leap of faith, and for that I admire them.

At the same time, the community around the college is not exactly one that fosters a desire to be intellectual (this is, after all, the self-proclaimed “Lowrider Capital of the World” – and I am apparently such a square that I had to look up the spelling for “lowrider” to make sure that it was indeed all one word). I feel like the library should be filling this need, at least a little. And, that is why I am ordering Bossypants by Tina Fey and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling for our shelves.

I listened to both of these books recently from Audible, originally because I love both of these writers and am kind of a sucker for books read by the author, unless that author is Stephen King (Bah Habah, anyone?). What I found, instead of a couple of books designed purely to incite laughter based on the author’s willingness to be self-deprecating (although there is plenty of that and it is hilarious), is a trend in memoirs that really encourages young people to go for what they want, work hard for it, and surround themselves with people who will inspire them instead of holding them back.

I feel like this is a message that a lot of our students could use. It’s not within the purview of our collection development policy to start acquiring all popular literature. That’s not what I am aiming to do here. It is within my purview, however, to encourage an active learning environment, and I think that title selections like Bossypants facilitate that goal. These are real people’s stories about hard work and success with some humor to make it easily digestible. If books like these can convince students that there’s a reason to slog through the pre-reqs for a reward on the other side, then the materials that I am ordering are still promoting learning and academic success. And, that is the whole reason we are here.


Written by Jessica Jones

November 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm

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