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May 2013

Congratulations to Our Graduating Seniors!

Each year, we ask our graduating work-study students to select their favorite children’s book to be added to the Library’s collection. Each book contains a bookplate with the student’s name and class along with a brief statement thanking them for their service to the Library.

We're going to miss you all!

From L to R: Selsebil Slijivo, Linette Carvalho, Ally Harrison, Mario Figueroa (not pictured: Kailah Simon)

Our seniors this year chose the following titles:
Selsebil – Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss
Linette – Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
Ally Harrison – McDuff and the Baby by Rosemary Wells
Mario Figueroa – If You Made a Million by David M. Schwartz
Kailah Simon – Luna by Julie Anne Peters

Best of luck to you all and visit us (and your books) soon!

Healthcare is a Human Right

By Maric Kramer, eLearning and Reference Librarian

This spring, I was approached by graduate students doing a year-long participatory action research project about human rights as they relate to disparities in healthcare.  And let me tell you, this is the kind of thing a librarian dreams about!


This is the icon chosen by the Integrative Project Group

These social work students had done extensive work with the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in Worcester to find out where gaps in healthcare coverage existed, to collect and analyze data, and to create an action plan to create education and awareness about healthcare disparities. They had delved deeply into the scholarly research on their topic, important policy papers, and weeded through a multiplicity of government forms. They had planned to present their findings to both student and professional audiences at Wheelock College, but were looking for another way for their hard work to live on and be useful to social workers and social work students.

They approached the Library because they thought we could help. Together, we created a resource guide that would live on the Wheelock College Library website, and provide links to scholarly research, current events, and government and advocacy information, in addition to the professional development materials they had created. Our hope is that this will be a useful resource for Wheelock students studying medical social work and related fields, and for the broader Massachusetts community. Check out these Wheelock students’ excellent work here:

Many thanks to Elizabeth Blumin, Jonna Green, Andrea Mellonakos, Caitlyn Neithercut, Bethany Spheekas, and Heather Strauch for sharing their wonderful work with the Library.  And many congratulations to them on their attainment of the Master’s of Social Work degree on May 17, 2013!  Their work on this project clearly shows that healthcare is a human right, and we at the Library wish them all the best in their future careers.

Can we help you to build something to for your Wheelock course or project? If so, please get in touch with a librarian! We would be happy to help.

Beach Reading: YA Style

In a few weeks the solstice will be upon us and this means two things.  One, you should really beef up on the sunscreen.  Those UV rays are killer (I refer back to my post about YA apocalyptic fiction).  Secondly, you should acquire a number of books meant to be read with your feet buried in the sand, your ears tuned only to surf, and a florescent drink with an umbrella as your companion.

To this latter end, I give you here my top ten young adult fiction beach reads, in no particular order.  Because that is what summer means:  freedom (except from the SPF 45.  Seriously.  I mean it.  Do you know how many people die from cancer in YA Fiction?)  Also necessary to note:  many of these books have little to do with summer and none of these books contain vampires, as real vampires can’t go out in the sun.  Real vampires don’t sparkle.

YA beach reads 110.  Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen tells the tale of a girl, a bike, and a boardwalk.  While nearly anything written by Sarah Dessen automatically qualifies as a good book to read in a deck chair, this is particularly appropriate.  I would tell you if there is a troubled heroine and brooding attractive boy involved, but I wouldn’t want to spoil almost every plot Dessen’s written.

9.  It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han starts with a girl falling for a boy, a boy being a complete jerk, and a new boy coming along.  But!  It’s set in summer!  At a beach house!  Read with a pint of ice cream nearby, as you will need to pause and indulge your empathy for protagonist Belly.  It’s at least a fitting match.

8.  The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (series) by Anne Brashares is to reading what cotton candy is to the tongue.  Light, airy, nostalgic, and sweet.  I love every one of these books.  The last book in the series, set in the summer the girls are nearing thirty, gives something that few of these series do—closure.

YA beach reads 27.  Dairy Queen (series) by Catherine Gilbert Murdock has little to do with summer.  Actually, its action centers on the school year specifically.  However, its heroine D.J. Schwenk is a jock, a farmer, and a deeply interesting character.  Gilbert Murdock is the sister of Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat, Pray, Love fame.  Read this instead of that.

6.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene is the book I pretend I wrote.  It is as heart-breaking as it is funny.  It’s good to read at the beach because you will likely be wearing sunglasses; no one will see you weep for the beauty of humanity contained in this book.  Note:  wear waterproof sunscreen while reading this. (Available at Wheelock – J G817f)

5.  Summer Sisters by Judy Bloom isn’t exactly YA, but it’s by Judy Freaking Bloom.  It should be sewn into the lining of beach bags, to be discovered whilst one is digging through them to find lip balm.  It tells the story of two girls whose friendships weathers high and low tides.  There are men there to foil the girls, but ultimately this is about women, and what it is to grow up together.

YA beach reads 34.  Blackwood by Gwenda Bond tells the story of the lost colony of Roanoke and the way in which two teenagers may hold the key to bringing back the colonists.  This is for summer enthusiasts who are disenfranchised by the proliferation of Sophia Kinsella books at the beach.  Not that there is anything wrong with Shopaholic mind you, just that maybe Becky Bloomwood would be improved if some supernatural, existential crisis befell her.

3.  I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak:  oh hey, speaking of existential crises!  If you are like me this friend of mine, perhaps you have one or two of these.  A week.  Or you are seeking a warm weather read to help you cope with the possibilities abounding in verdant nature around you.  This book is laugh out loud funny, and will make you feel better about life for a number of reasons.

2.  Nation by Terry Pratchett is unique in that it is a stand-alone book, not associated with his Discworld or other universes.  It involves a girl, a boy, a shipwreck, and a plot questioning the nature of belief and the status of humanity that is as bright and wondrous as the Milky Way in the sky.

1.  13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson is a book that part adventure, part love story, all summer.  I also recommend Vacations from Hell, a book in which Johnson has a short story, and her Devilish because the devil works at a high school.  If you think it’s hot as hell,  why read for the occasion?  If you want something more refreshing, read 13 Little Blue Envelopes.  It’ll be like a cool glass of water for your soul.

Then + Now: 200 The Riverway

Hope this puts on smile on your face today. Good luck with finals!

Smile Lucy!

Let’s judge that book cover!

The inspiration for this post comes from my (mostly) weekly update of the new books panel of this Library blog (yes, this is the place where you can find out about new books!). The Library gets a lot of new stuff every week, and I go ahead and select about 10 books, give or take, to be featured. It’s not a difficult process: I mostly choose the ones that have covers that catch my eye.

Cover of Goblin Secrets

New book at the Library (J AL28g). The cover reminds me of one of my favorite books/movies, Howl’s Moving Castle.

In the Library’s case, the books have already been carefully selected so I don’t have to think about content when judging which ones get featured. However, I find myself doing this outside of the Wheelock, gravitating and picking up books with interesting and/or attractive covers and ignoring the plain, generic ones.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think everyone does this to some extent.

Cover harry potter book 1

A little sad that the Harry Potter series will be getting new covers in the US. I’m so attached to this one!

I don’t believe it is necessarily a horrible thing to judge books by their covers and to place so much importance on covers. Entire marketing departments, artists, models, and sometimes, even authors, have worked hard on them (at least, I like to think so). And a cover is often the first piece of information we get about a book and the first image around which we build our vision of the book’s world and characters. Sometimes, it is the only piece of information that we remember about a book or the only image we associate with the book.  For those of us into specific genres of fiction, the cover is a great indicator as to whether the book is a mystery, romance, science-fiction, or fantasy.  Thousands of titles are published each week so it is easy and fast to choose based on instant reactions to the aesthetics.

Wuthering Heights cover

I wonder if Emily Bronte was rolling in her grave when she saw this. Book (with different cover) also available at the Library

Due to all of this, even when we are not judging the book itself by its cover, we can and do judge the intent behind the cover.  Sometimes tacky, sloppy, or blatantly misleading covers can be a source of ire, snarky remarks, and spirited discussions.  Would Twilight fans pick up Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights if it has a Twlight-esque cover with a reminder that it’s Bella and Edward’s favorite book (Yes)and should we care if it’s getting readers to explore the English lit classic?  Have you noticed the racism in YA covers and why do publishers think we’re not going to notice if the cover features a white female when the story’s main character is black?  Where does the UK’s recent 50th anniversary edition of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar land in the kitten-to-suicide scale?  And would E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Gray  have done so well if it had a less tame, less genre-ambiguous cover?

What are your thoughts about book covers?  Have you discovered a good read or a new favorite author after choosing a book based on its cover art?

The Bell Jar

Isn’t this a story of a young woman’s descent into clinical depression? This book (with a different cover) is also available at the Library.