Reading recommendations from my graduate coursework

For some reason I am chomping at the bit to read Dr. Wayne Wiegand’s new book on U.S. libraries in the late 19th through early-to-mid-20th century. I still feel fairly new to the scholarship on libraries, but Dr. Wiegand’s reputation for deep thoughts is all I need for inspiration. Plus, he was an advisor of and supporter of Dr. Christine Pawley’s work, and her contributions to the field are just the bee’s knees as far as I’m concerned.

So I thought I’d do a short post about my favorite 10 readings from my MLIS program thus far. I have plenty of material to choose from–with 10 courses under my belt and umpteen articles, there is certainly a cream rising to the top of the crop.

Dare I try to rank these in order and play favorites? Nope. The editor in me must go alphabetical by last name. Thus I give you the following, my favorites from the past year and a half of grad school:

Matthew Battles, Library: An Unquiet History
Lovely poetic loveliness
Course: Cultural Foundations
Instructor: Dr. Jennifer Burek Pierce

Roger Chartier, On the Edge of the Cliff: History, Languages, and Practices (selected readings)
Can be a bit obtuse for an American reader. The 2 Amazon reviews are telling in that one review gives it 5 stars and the other only 1. Recommended for those who believe empiricism is possible in the humanities. Introduced me to the field of historiography. (How did I not come across that term as a journalism student?)

Mark Dressman, Literacy in the Library (“Books that are True; Stories that are Made Up: School Libraries and the Politics of Reading”)
Library history meets literacy history! How can I not geek out about this??
Course: Literacy & Learning
Instructor: Dr. Jim Elmborg

James Elmborg, “Libraries as the Spaces Between Us: Recognizing and Valuing the Third Space”
Great blending of Pratt’s “contact zone” concept with the idea of libraries as spaces where individuals and communities undergo growth
Course: Digital Environments

Anna Everett & S. Craig Watkins, “The Power of Play: The Portrayal and Performance of Race in Video Games” from The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning [PDF, see p. 141]
A powerful take on immersive gaming in “authentic” worlds
Course: Digital Environments
Instructor: Dr. Andre Brock

Bonnie Nardi & Justin Harris, “Strangers and Friends: Collaborative Play in World of Warcraft” [PDF]
Have to add this reading because I found myself highlighting a full page of text about how gamers teach each other through websites, forums, videos, etc. This was an area I wanted to research in depth, particularly while thinking of the game Minecraft. Peer-to-peer learning through virtual media just fascinates me.
Course: Digital Environments

Christine Pawley, “Information Literacy: A Contradictory Coupling”
Great metaphors about what is lost in a one-size-fits-all idea of teaching and learning models
Course: Literacy & Learning

Christine Pawley, Reading on the Middle Border (Chapter 3–”A benefit and a blessing: The Sage Library”)
Fantastic example of finely detailed qualitative meets quantitative research. I believe we talked about this in our content analysis section.
Course: Research Methods
Instructor: Dr. Jennifer Burek Pierce

Mary Louise Pratt, “Arts of the Contact Zone”
Stories so well woven together! Best impressions are made when you’re so into the reading that you don’t notice it changing you.
Course: Literacy & Learning

Sherry Turkle, Alone Together
Discusses the psychological perils of living online alone. Mediated environments (as in, the media is an interlocutor) affecting relationships and the wholeness of human beings.
Course: Research Methods (self-chosen text)

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