Guest Post: The Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

by Gary White, Penn State University Libraries, RUSA President

We at RUSA are extremely pleased and excited about two new awards sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation, the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. RUSA and Booklist are co-sponsoring and administering the awards. The first winners of these new annual literary prizes will be announced at the Awards Ceremony at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim.

The awards will be given to the author of the best book for adult readers in two categories—fiction and nonfiction— each year. Two additional authors will be shortlisted as finalists in each of the categories.  Winning authors will receive a $5,000 cash award, and finalists will each receive $1,500. The list of this year’s finalists were announced in May.  The awards are made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York on the occasion of the foundation’s centennial and in recognition of Andrew Carnegie, one of the greatest benefactors of libraries both in the United States and around the globe, who recognized libraries as indispensable to the progress of society.  The 50 titles under consideration for the prize are being drawn from the annual Booklist Editors’ Choice and RUSA CODES Notable Books lists.  Nancy Pearl is serving as the chair of the awards committee and will bring national recognition to this award.

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Recommended Reading for College-Bound and College Students

by Amelia Mowry and Emily Hamstra

Since the late 1960s, the University of Michigan Undergraduate Library has been publishing a list of recommended reading in a variety of disciplines. The list, entitled Read Read Read, was sent to admitted students to provide them with good books that would broaden their horizons and introduce them to college-level reading. We no longer send the list to incoming students, but we do provide a copy on our website.

This year Amelia Mowry, University Library Associate and School of Information student, updated the list to appeal to college-bound students and current undergraduate students. Amelia updated many of the titles on the list, and changed the format of the list from print to digital. The updated version of the list is a libguide. Creating the list as a libguide allowed us to easily make Read Read Read more visually appealing than the print version, and allowed us to link the titles to Worldcat so the books can be found in local libraries.
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The impact of books prizes and out of print books on collection development policy

by Carrie Dunham-LaGree

On Monday, I stumbled across an interesting post on The Guardian‘s book blog, “Third of Australia’s top prize-winning books out of print.” In it, Alison Flood pondered if the plight of novels who won Australia’s top book prize, the Miles Franklin Award, going out of print could happen to winners of the Booker Prize, Britain’s top book prize. She quickly discovered all of the Booker Prize winners are still in print, except for one that will be re-issued soon. As someone who reads more library books than books I purchase, I immediately thought of the implications for libraries. Instead of worrying if a title is in print, I worry if my library has a copy (and how long the wait is to get it.) The Booker Prize only dates back to 1969, while the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1918. I wondered: if I wanted to check out a copy of every Pulitzer winner, could I?

Even though the Pulitzer folks don’t necessarily hand out an award every year, in the interest of time, I decided to not check for every title. Instead, I opted to pick two titles from each decade of the prize: one that is not terribly well known and one that is well known. I searched the titles in WorldCat, an online union catalog that allows users to search library catalogs from around the world, to see three things: how many total copies were held by libraries, if Drake’s library has a copy, and if my local public library (DMPL) has a copy.  Here’s what I found:

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Undergraduate Library: A Day in the Life

I’m Emily Hamstra, Learning Librarian at the University of Michigan’s Shapiro Undergraduate Library. I support student learning and engagement through developing meaningful instruction sessions and collections. No day at the library is ever the same for me, so here is a snapshot of one day at the Undergraduate Library.

9-10:30am

The Librarians’ Forum meets monthly to discuss issues the latest issues facing University of Michigan librarians. Sometimes these meetings are focused on campus issues, sometimes they are focused on issues that affect the library profession as a whole. This month the meeting was about different publishing initiatives in the library and on campus. Representatives from Deep Blue (University of Michigan’s institutional repository), MPublishing (University of Michigan’s publishing department, a department of the library), Open.Michigan (open access educational resources created at the University of Michigan), and HathiTrust spoke about how they support the University of Michigan campus and scholarly publishing. There was a lively discussion and donuts.

10:30-noon

Once I’ve cleared out some email, I get started on an order for the Undergraduate Library’s leisure reading collection. I maintain a large leisure reading collection. All books from this collection are purchased through a local independent bookseller.

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