Musselman Library Launches ‘Reading Without Walls’
By Katie Oglesby, Assistant News Editor
From Jan. 20 to Mar. 27, 2020, Musselman Library is hosting a three-part reading challenge entitled “Reading Without Walls” with the goal of broadening readers’ perspectives of the world. The challenge is located in the Browsing Room of the library.
The three challenges of “Reading Without Walls” are as follows: “read a book about a person/character from a different background or culture than yours, read a book on a topic you don’t know much about, [and] read a book in a format or genre that you don’t normally read for fun (graphic novel, audiobook, poetry, etc.).”
Students can put sticky notes with their book titles on three signs that correspond with each reading challenge in the Browsing Room. Assistant Dean and Director of Scholarly Communications at Musselman Library Janelle Wertzberger said that there are over 130 participants signed up, but that more can continue to join until the end of the program.
Wertzberger said that the program “encourages readers to come together to share their learning and their love of reading, thereby strengthening our campus reading community.”
On Jan. 30, the library hosted a Silent Reading Party at which 27 students attended; the group could not all fit inside the Browsing Room, where the event was scheduled to be held. There will be more events throughout the run of the program, including “Speed Dating with a Book” (Feb. 13) and “Let’s Talk About Books! A Reading Roundtable Discussion” (March 12). These next two are intended to be discussion-based, giving students a chance to talk about their favorite books with peers in a calm and open environment. These events give first-year students Chart Your Course (CYC) credit if they attend.
“[The Library staff] feel that [Reading Without Walls] aligns well with both library and campus-wide initiatives related to diversity and inclusion,” Wertzberger said. “In addition to supporting our diverse undergraduate curriculum, the Library collections support the extracurricular interests and lifelong learning of our students and employees. This program underscores that commitment.”
Participants can earn prizes from the library for just signing up, and then for completely the subsequent challenges. Those who complete all challenges will be entered into a drawing for a $20 gift card.
Overall, Reading Without Walls intends to encourage students to read outside of their comfort zones and delve into topics they otherwise might not have learned about. With more than 130 readers signed up to participate, it seems there could be a lot of learning.