All Hail National Library Week!

Darn that American Library Association and their need to make the focus of National Library Week as broad and all-encompassing as ever! This year’s theme for National Library Week (April 13-19) is: Lives change @ your library [sic]. Well, sure they do—libraries are the cornerstone of education and community.

We at Langsdale would like to join in celebrating patrons and their library experiences at this special time in April, but in order to make it meaningful, we’ve narrowed our focus to make this occasion something a little more manageable thematically. That’s why this Thursday, from 8-9 p.m., we’re hosting the Library Basement Reading Series: We Heal with Words. (Healing is life-changing, right?). Seven MFA students will share their original fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Join us and Kendral Dickerson, Sharea Harris, Amanda May, Jessica Welch, Nick Richard, Michelle Junot, Lisa Vanwormer, and emcee Ron Williams.

MFA student and Langsdale staffer Nick Richards will be reading a selection of his poetry Thursday night, although he insists his specialty is fiction writing. “This is my first year in the MFA Creative Writing and Publishing Arts program at UB, and I’m loving every minute of it,” exclaims Richard. “As far as my writing subjects go, I’m always obsessed with what I find is most important to me: family, faith, food…heck, anything.”

We also asked students and staff to tip us off to books that changed their lives, which we’ve put in a display by the circulation desk. Some Langsdale staffers wanted to elaborate on their choices: “I’d say a book that really changed my life would be Brave New World by Aldous Huxley,” says Nick Richard. “ It’s all about the importance of individuality, and it also does a great job stressing how society should never outgrow basic principles of morality.”

Siobhan Hagan, our new(ish) AV archivist in special collections loves Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Says Hagan: “I read it when I was 11, and the main character’s journey from a poor, gauche girl to a worldly, strong woman helped me through the awkwardness of my adolescence.”

Other transformative tomes include The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, described by technical services technician Jessica Reeves as “an encounter with one of the greatest Romantic writers of all time.” Circulation technician Erin Toepfner picked Emma Donoghue’s Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins, which she calls “a life changer … because it made me reconsider gender roles and recognize just how fluid gender identity can be. Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was picked by circulation technician Laura Melamed; she explains: “By reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I discovered brilliant satire could exist in books without pictures, and in science fiction, no less.” And, finally, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien was picked by our digital resources librarian, Bill Helman, who did not have much to say about this one, except that he really loves it.

Please drop by the Library Basement Reading, We Heal with Words, on Thursday April 17, 2014 from 8-9 p.m. The event will be held on Langsdale’s lower level and is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

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