Wright State Common Text: Librarian Q&A

This week we sat down with First Year Experience Librarian, Maureen Barry to learn more about her service on the Common Text Committee.

51uCwKqGtSLRecently announced,
The 2015-16 Common Text: 

The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway

Learn more about this title.

What is the Wright State Common Text?

The “common text” as it is known at Wright State, is an essential piece of the First-Year Experience at Wright State University. It was developed:

  • To expose first-year students to our academic atmosphere from the time they arrive on campus for Orientation (which is when the book is distributed).
  • To provide a common academic experience for all first-year students by giving them the opportunity to engage with peers in intellectual discussions both inside and outside the classroom.
  • To communicate the expectation that first-year students will begin to read actively and critically, make judgments about the validity of what you read and be able to discuss challenging, sometimes conflicting, ideas.

Students will also be provided with a series of interconnected academic and beyond-the-classroom activities that will challenge their critical thinking and evaluation of the text through Learning Communities and in many of your CORE courses.

Who serves on the Common Text Selection Committee?

Roughly 20 committee members that make up different constituencies on campus including academic departments, service-learning, Honors Program, University Libraries, Office of Disability Services, and others.

 How many books did you have to (get to) read as part of the committee? Which were your other favorites?

 During each selection process, I typically read 5-8 books.  We start with about 20-25 contenders and narrow it down from there.  Many of the titles are suggested by members of the University community or members of our committee.  The committee narrows down to our top 3 or 4 titles, and then each summer we ask the University Community to read those titles and provide feedback via a survey.  We take that feedback into consideration before we rank the top three.  Then we supply our recommendation and ranking to Dr. Sudkamp, Vice President for Curriculum and Instruction, who makes the final decision.

I also enjoyed The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.

 Tell us about this year’s common text. What do you think were the major factors that made it this year’s pick?

For 2015-2016, the common text will be The Cellist of Sarajevo.  This is a very timely choice because it ties in very nicely with the fact that the Dayton Community (and the global community) will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords, which ended the conflict portrayed in the novel.  The Cellist also plays with narrative perspectives and explores issues of identity during times of crisis.

 What do you feel is the University Libraries role in the Common Text selection process and supporting Common Text events?

The University Libraries usually has one, if not two, representatives on the committee.  Libraries, including OhioLINK and SearchOhio libraries, support the committee by providing copies of the books we need to read – we request the titles so the University doesn’t have to purchase them.  We also put the final 3-4 finalists on (7-day) reserve in the library so that the Wright State community can read the finalists and weigh in via a survey to provide their feedback.  We also provide reviews about the books we’re considering for the committee.

The library representative(s) on the committee also provide a lot of administrative support and help with planning programming related to the common text.  I’m one of the Co-Chairs of the committee, along with Catherine Queener from First Year Programs and Carolyn Stoermer, who represents the faculty.  So, I help manage communication both within the committee and with marketing and outreach on behalf of the committee.

 What would you like first year students to consider about the Common Text before they start, as they read, and after they’ve finished reading?

Before they start, I would hope the students would keep an open mind, even if it isn’t a book they would choose to read on their own.  Many of us on the committee are reading titles we wouldn’t choose for ourselves, either!  We’re looking for books with interdisciplinary themes and messages for consideration.  So we hope that during and after, they are able to have thoughtful discussions about those themes represented in the book with their classmates and instructors.

Click here to learn more about Wright State Common Text. (Check back with the Common Text Committee later this year for a list of 2015-16 events.)

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This One’s for the Birds

Think spring, listen to this male White-crowned Sparrow sing!

This and many other audio, video and images of the over 700 species of birds of the U.S. (including Hawaii) and Canada are available in our new subscription database: The Birds of North America Online The original comprehensive printed collection, which consisted of 18 volumes (18,000 pages), was the product of 10 years of collaborative effort between the American Ornithologists Union, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the Academy of Natural Sciences.

whitecrownedsparrowWhite-crowned Sparrow |Zonotrichia leucophrys | Order PASSERIFORMES – Family EMBERIZIDAE. White-crowned Sparrow, Keene State WMA. Keene NH. Oct 2008. Retrieved from: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/183/galleries/photos

 Looking for a habitat distribution map? What about a graph of seasonal population changes? Find basically everything you ever wanted to know about birds, including images of plumages and behaviors.

Want to learn about our other biological science resources? Check out our LibGuide: http://guides.libraries.wright.edu/bio

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3… 2… 1… Charge!

Battery dying on your cell phone while studying?  Forget your charger at home and need a boost?  Don’t worry – the Libraries have you covered.

Check out our Charging Stations:
ChargeAll-CS4-Main-ImageFeaturing Lightning, MicroUSB and Apple 30pin adaptors – compatible with most smartphones and tablets. Find them on the first floor in the Group Study Room next to Starbucks, on the second floor near the Information Desk and around the corner in the Media Room across from STAC.

If these locations don’t work for you, you can also check out a personal charger, specific to your device, at the Circulation Desk on the 1st floor. We have chargers for a variety of devices including iPhone and Android phones and tablets, plus Nook ereaders. Most chargers can be plugged into any outlet or computer USB port.

Please remember to keep an eye on your devices at all times. The Libraries are not responsible for loss, damage or theft.

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Attention Inventors – Get Your Patent and Trademark Info Here!

Have a business idea or invention you’d like to see on the market? Getting a patent is the first step for many inventors, but the process is more complicated than you might think.  Wright State University Libraries are your local Patent & Trademark Resource Center, and Ran Raider, Government and Legal Information Coordinator, is your go-to guy for patent research and information.

Ran has given presentations for the Dayton Entrepreneur Center, SCORE Executive Board and the Dayton Daily Metro Libraries Lunch and Learn series, among others.  Thanks to Ran’s efforts and University Libraries resources, last year over 800 patrons received assistance with patent, trademark, copyright, or intellectual property research.


Ran recently visited Wright State University Lake Campus to talk about patent and trademark resources, where he was interviewed by a Lima News reporter. Ran wants people to know how complicated, expensive and time-consuming it can be to get a patent… but, he’s here to help!   Read the full interview here:  http://www.limaohio.com/news/business-news/151830687/Patents-workshop-illustrates-difficulties-of-process

For more information about Patent and Trademark Resources, or to contact Ran, please visit: http://guides.libraries.wright.edu/ptrc

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