If you ask us, it’s always a good time to get lost in a good book but now that summer has arrived and we’re spending more time at home, it feels like a particularly opportune moment to plow through a reading list.
Some of our most passionate readers who work in the Library have shared the books they have recently read and would definitely recommend. Some of the picks are currently available in our collection and can be requested through the Contactless Book Pick Up Service for MRU students and employees. The rest are currently on order and will soon be available.
Let us know what you’re reading this summer!
*The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books by Edward Wilson-Lee
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
*So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD
“This is an engaging scientific work that explains why sleep is critical to our health and what happens when we don’t get enough of it”
*City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong
*The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry
*My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary by Joe Jackson
“An epic biography of the famous mystic, cousin of Crazy Horse, participant at the Battle of Little Bighorn and the Wounded Knee Massacre. Black Elk also toured Europe to enthralled fans and met Queen Victoria and, quite possibly, Jack the Ripper.”
*Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys: A Memoir by Viv Albertine
“Rock and roll plus fashion, sex and drugs”
Information Assistant – Scholarship
*The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
“So much in this book, the historical story of a female botanist in the 19th century, includes world travel, passion, rich characters, research and much more. Beautifully written.”
Public Service Assistant
*Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang, MD and Nate Pedersen
“This book is filled with the gross, gruesome, and ghastly and more than a few face-palm worthy moments. Funny and well researched it is a real trip through the ages of human folly.”
*The Eye of the World (First book of The Wheel of Time series) by Robert Jordan
“This book is pure escapism at its finest. The best part? The Eye of the World is the first book in a fifteen book series so it will keep you reading all summer!”
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
“It’s one of those books where you try and stop reading at the end of a chapter but you can’t keep yourself from turning the page.”
*Currently on order and will soon be available
The Mount Royal University Library stands in solidarity with the Black community and everyone who has stood up against anti-Black racism and police brutality in recent weeks. The killing of George Floyd and many others including Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour across the United States and Canada is a devastating reminder of the deadly impact of systemic white supremacy.
Libraries are sometimes imagined as places of neutrality: this narrative is false. Libraries, like universities, are part of the power structure that centres whiteness in our society and reinforces its privileges.
We have an obligation to dismantle oppressive narratives and structures and engage in actions that create change. We believe change will not happen with hopeful thoughts and vague aspirations. Protests from around the world have shown us that action is required and is something we are all capable of implementing in our personal and professional lives.
As a Library, we provide resources that inspire learners to seek answers and uplift voices determined to make a difference. A sincere quest to unravel long standing systemic oppression takes time but we have identified specific ways we can act today.
We Commit To:
- Intensifying efforts to acquire library materials that challenge anti-Black racism and systemic oppression, by immediately establishing a dedicated annual collections fund for this purpose, with a priority of purchasing materials written by Black authors.
- Improving findability of Library materials by updating existing descriptions, subject headings, and classifications referring to works by and about Black people. Outdated descriptive terms found in library metadata are a problematic inheritance from past generations, and must be changed.
- Reaching out to student advocacy groups on campus engaged in the Black Lives Matter movement and other anti-racist efforts to learn about their work and how the Library can support them.
- Ensuring training for Library employees in identifying and confronting racism and systemic oppression, and engaging in making meaningful change.
- Reviewing policies, procedures, and priorities across the Library to identify and change practices that may reinforce systemic racism or exclude marginalized members of the Library community.
- Advocating for and supporting institutional changes that have the power to actively contribute to the success, safety, and opportunities for current and future Black students, academics, and professionals at MRU.
Black Lives Matter.
You’ve officially made it to the end of the Winter 2020 semester and now you’re wondering how to return the items you borrowed from the Library. Campus access remains limited to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but we have important details to share about returning your equipment.
Drop off equipment to the RLLC west entrance (across from EA) on weekdays from *April 23 to April 29, 10am-2pm. Use your OneCard to enter the building and a security guard will record your return, which will be processed to your account within 72 hours.
Due dates have automatically been extended for main collection books. Students staying in town are encouraged to hang on to them for the time being. If you must return them immediately, please use the book return drop bins outside the RLLC west entrance or EA building.
*MRU Campus is closed for student access from April 23 to May 3 but you can still drop off equipment during this time.
Mount Royal researchers spent months examining Facebook comments, reactions and posts. This wasn’t their chosen method of procrastination, it was the subject of their recently published paper that challenges post-secondary institutions to understand the popular online platforms where undergraduate students engage with teaching and learning topics.
A Facebook page that solicits anonymous submissions about all things related to Mount Royal University was the subject of a full year investigation into the information behaviour of undergraduate students in need of academic help. Richard Hayman is an Associate Professor and Librarian at MRU Library, and Erika E. Smith is an Assistant Professor and Faculty Development Consultant with the Academic Development Centre. Both work under the same roof on campus, with each of their departments being in the Riddell Library and Learning Centre, and are co-authors on the publication Information behaviour of undergraduate students using Facebook Confessions for educational purposes along with recently graduated Psychology (Honours) alumna Hannah Storrs.
The trio used a mixed-method content analysis approach to track posts on MRU Confessions—a public Facebook page, geared toward students, that accepts anonymous posts through an online form before published by the page administrator. Using specialized mixed methods software to work with a large social media dataset, they analyzed over 2,700 confessions posted during the 2016/17 academic year and found that a notable portion of the posts, just over 26 per cent, were directly related to student’s learning experiences. The data revealed that students were venting about day-to-day issues related to their university student lives while also turning to each other to find and learn about specific on-campus resources.
“I think the most impactful confessions were the ones where the need for help was tangible,” explains Hayman who refers to a specific post where a first-year student confesses that they are overwhelmed and asks for advice on where to go for help.
“While our university offers many support services, the fact that students can’t easily find them means that we need to do better. We can make these services more accessible, and do more to identify and connect students in need so that they don’t have to turn to places like Facebook Confessions to get help,” adds Hayman.
Smith, whose research background includes digital literacies and social media, says there’s lots of research demonstrating how social media is used in formal learning, but considerably less research on social media as an informal learning environment.
“Our findings demonstrate that students actually do use these informal social media spaces to support their learning in meaningful ways, interacting to meet their own needs, or to assist others outside of their formal classes,” says Smith.
The authors emphasize that the takeaway from the study isn’t that post-secondary administrators should try to interact with students on these unaffiliated forums. Instead, they can be a way for colleges and universities to better understand the needs of their students.
“Students will always want their own spaces to interact outside of the formal learning environment. Our research provides administrators, librarians, educators, and staff with key insights into not only the types of help and information that students seek, but also when these common areas of need arise,” says Smith.
Storrs reviewed the Facebook posts as a co-author of the study while she was navigating post-secondary life and a member of the MRU Confessions page. As she reflects on the experience, Storrs recalls that many of the questions asked in confessions were ones that she also didn’t know the answers to.
Storrs graduated from MRU with a Bachelor of Arts degree this past year and entered this project with an impressive work history as a research assistant on several other projects. The alumna, who plans to apply to graduate school, says she recalls immediately knowing that this research would be of great interest to her when she went into the interview for the research assistant position with Smith.
“I found it fascinating and felt I would be able to learn a lot from this opportunity while also being able to bring my voice and experience to the table,” explains Storrs. “My previous research experience was really quantitative focused but this project allowed me to learn and develop my skills with qualitative analysis and mixed methods research.”
Hayman, Smith, and Storrs presented this scholarship at national and international conferences this past year, including the Canadian Association for Information Science (CAIS) where their research was awarded Best Practitioner Paper. The team plans to expand their data and weave in new observations, including the changing nature of social media that has led to a drop in activity on Facebook Confessions but has channeled similar activity to other forums like Instagram and Reddit.