Read This Book! A Case Study of Library Outreach and Integration in the New Student Reading Project at Cornell University
Freshman reading programs are not new; universities around the nation employ the common reading project as a means of providing their students with a shared experience as they begin their academic careers. Cornell University inaugurated their New Student Reading Project in 2001 with Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. At that time, the library’s involvement in the program was minimal – librarians compiled a list of related library materials into a website for students and faculty to browse for additional resources. However, as the program evolved, the library’s role became much more integral culminating in library staff developing the program publicity and website as well as a librarian-lead blog discussion of the book in 2007. This paper will summarize the library’s involvement in the evolution of the New Student Reading Project at Cornell University as well as discuss the successes and pitfalls of the program. It will also discuss future trends in new student reading programs and pleasure reading in the academic environment.
Keywords: Freshman, Reading Programs, Community Read, Library 2.0, Libraries, Blog
Special Projects Librarian, Department of Collections
Reference and Instruction Librarian, Department of Collections, Reference, Instruction and Outreach, Cornell University Library