Once a month, we bring you an update from a few Hackers on things we’ve been reading, enjoying, and learning that month, whether that’s fiction, non-fiction, an interesting article, or a series of social media posts. We hope you’ll join along with us and share your most interesting reads in the comments!
Enhancing Library and Information Research Skills: A Guide for Academic Librarians by Lili Luo, Kristine R. Brancolini, and Marie R. Kennedy
I realize I have a bit of a conflict of interest in writing about this book – I just finished taking Dr. Luo’s course in Applied Research Methods this Fall – although I did purposefully wait until final grades had been submitted just to be on the safe side. This was our assigned textbook for the course, but I recommend it because it often did not read like a textbook. It felt accessible and more like having a conversation with working librarian-researchers. I was introduced to the idea of journal clubs through this book, and appreciated how often the authors recognized that being a new librarian is hard and occasionally isolating, but also that they backed it up with concrete tips for how to find future collaborators, how to carve out time to keep up with literature in the field, and how to get started getting published or chosen to present. I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in conducting original research and presenting and/or publishing, individually or collaboratively, in the future (not necessarily just in academic fields, although it is geared toward that).
S. by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
Conceived by J. J. Abrams (yes, the director/producer of Star Trek and Star Wars fame) and written by Doug Dorst, S. is the ultimate novel for library book lovers. My classmates in a Rare Books and Special Collections course last fall recommended it, and I knew I had to dedicate some of my winter break to sink my teeth into it because S. is not only almost 500 pages long, but also contains a story within a story. The physical book is an ex-library copy of a fictional novel called Ship of Theseus by a fictional writer, V. M. Straka—a reference to the Western thought experiment that questions if the ship is fundamentally the same ship if you replace all parts of it over time. The second story comes in the form of annotations and inserts into the book by a grad student, Eric, and college senior, Jen, who attempt to solve the many mysteries of the Ship of Theseus and the author’s identity. Though I’ve not yet completed the book, it’s been a joy to read the handwritten notes and the tangible letters, newspaper clippings, postcards, etc. that are all stuffed inside so far.