Books by Faculty

facbookpicsNext time you are in the library, stop by our new display of selected works written by our very own pioneers of knowledge.

The display is located in the stand alone shelf in the Main Reading Room.  Resources will be periodically switched out.

Check out a book written by your favorite professor today!

New Books! Pinterest! Say What?

Yep, that is right! McCain Library is now on Pinterest.  Go to to check out our new books and movie boards! As soon as we order a book or movie we pin it to our boards.  If you follow us you could be the first one to check out a hot new movie or book!  Yay you!

Each pin will let you click through to a description on Amazon.  Once you have decided it is something that interests you check SOPHIA, the library catalog to see where it is located in the library or pin it to your own boards to check out later.

Some books may still be on order.  If that is the case  we are sure you can sweet talk the Circulation Desk into placing it on hold for you so you are notified when it comes in.  (Of course, we want give everyone a chance at the new material so let’s just limit it to one hold at a time.)

Questions? Want to see it in action?  Check out this quick video!




Student Spotlight: Megan Cieri

Megan (left)

Megan (left)

Megan Cieri ’13

Major: English Literature-Creative Writing

Minor: History

Do you have any special areas of interest, academic or otherwise?

Animal behavior and southern history/ southern literature.

What are your favorite resources at McCain Library?

Ms. Magazine, Time magazine, and the browsing section

Do you enjoy reading? How would you describe yourself as a reader?

Yes, yes, YES! I am a reader who enjoys coming of age stories and stories that involve animals, especially if they are talking animals!

What kind of books to you like to read outside of your classwork?

I like to read books about families, about people going on adventures across a country. I like to read books about animals and books about the south. I also like to read biographies about interesting people in history (Jack London) and funny memoirs (by Tina Fey and Sloan Crowley)

What books do you recommend as must-reads?

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and Watership Down because they are fantastic books about animals.

What kind of movies do you enjoy watching?

I like watching movies about animals, of course. I also like wildlife documentaries and other types of documentaries.

Are there any movies you recommend?

Up, because it is an adventurous, touching story. Muppet Treasure Island, because it has such great writing and it’s a classic and I love muppets!

Do you have any memorable stories about reading that you can share?

A book that has remained close to my heart is Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH because it involved talking animals and suggested that animals are more intelligent than most people choose to believe.

Student Spotlight: Jenessa McElfresh

Jenessa McElfresh ’13


Major: History

Minor: English

Do you have any special areas of interest, academic or otherwise?

I’m very interested in women’s history at the turn of the 20th century and children’s literacy activism.

What are your favorite resources at McCain Library?

Is there anything more fun than going on Academic Search Complete, choosing all of the databases, and seeing what obscure journals might be writing on your topic? I don’t think so, either. Also, I seem to get a lot of my books from Stack 1 so it is a place with good vibes for me.

Do you enjoy reading? How would you describe yourself as a reader?

I do enjoy reading very much. I would describe my reading style as that of a hoarder. I have books everywhere – in bins, stacked up on things, on bookshelves, tucked into corners – and that’s just here at Agnes. I have a tendency to buy a slew of books, read the most interesting one, prop the rest up as display pieces, and then go buy more. It’s a problem and TLC should give me a show.

What kind of books to you like to read outside of your classwork?

I like a good eclectic mix. I have an odd love for romance novels and trashy celebrity memoirs (though Dolly Parton’s was a gem), but I also enjoy short story collections and poetry and non-trashy memoirs, as well as any of the just on the verge of tear-jerker books from the “Top 100 Books of the Year” lists.

What books do you recommend as must-reads?

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith – It’s charming and whimsical and not that hard to imagine yourself as a teenage living in a decrepit British castle with your eccentric yet genius family.

The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel – I find her writing to be subtle and nuanced and able to sort of shake you awake after just a few pages. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – Just for fun, and I felt a little bit smarter after reading it.

What kind of movies do you enjoy watching?

Basically, sappy girl movies. I find no shame in my collection of Nicholas Sparks movies and only a little bit of shame for my array of Twilight movies. I also end up watching a lot of my old favorite WB shows on dvd, so Dawson’s Creek and Everwood will never ever end for me. And movies like Anchorman and Zoolander that I quote like a 12 year old boy.

Are there any movies you recommend?

If you haven’t seen Bridesmaids, go watch it right now.

Do you have any memorable stories about reading that you can share?

My grandfather never graduated from high school and had difficulties learning to read as a child with dyslexia in the 1950s in rural Pennsylvania. Because of his experiences and struggles, he always made sure that I understood how important learning to read was as a young child and always ensured that I had enough reading material to keep my curiosity going. So, some of my best memories as a child involve me sitting on his knee, listening or reading a story with him…even when I had chicken pox.

Want to Do Your Best in College? Here’s a Tip.

Check out a copy of The A Game from McCain Library. The A Game: Nine Steps to Better Grades by Dr. Kenneth Sufka is a short (80 page), easy to skim guide to being successful in college. Simple points will reinforce habits and study skills that are expected by your college professors.

McCain Library has two copies of the book at the Circulation Desk. They may be borrowed for 3 days at a time. -Maybe a good way to spend an hour or two?!

And make time for this information session from the Office of Academic Advising:

“Raising Your GPA From the Dead” on Tuesday, January 29, 1:00 pm in Buttrick G-26.



Browsing Books Published in 2012

Perhaps you are trying to decide what Browsing Collection book to review to get your name entered into the McCain Library Tote Bag Drawing or you just need something fun to read over the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Here is a list of most of the books in the Browsing Collection that were published in 2012  (browse list in library catalog):

Dr. Rafael Ocasio’s New Book

Afro-Cuban Costumbrismo: From Plantations to the Slums

Stacks 2: PQ7382 .O26 2012 (try New Books Shelf first!)

Inspired by Cuban-American singer Celia Cruz, Dr. Rafael Ocasio diverged from the traditional tourist paths of Cuba and wandered into the Black neighborhoods of Havana in search of “real” Cuban music.  With a winning smile he easily made friends. They introduced him to music, food and to some extent the religious customs often hidden from mainstream Cuban society.  He even had his fortune told.  Fascinated, he wanted to learn more.

Not far into his research of 20th century Afro-Cuban culture, Dr. Ocasio discovered that very little scholarship on Afro-Cuban culture in the 19th century existed.  The more he dug the more he realized that heavy censorship prevented the Costumbristas, writers who capture and define regional customs, from accurately illustrating the experiences of Black slaves and freed Blacks.  Even without interference from the government, which wanted to protect the institution of slavery and control the Cuban image, few of the white male writers enchanted by the emerging Afro-Cuban culture could see beyond stereotypical images of Blacks in Cuba.

Rafael Ocasio’s latest book, Afro-Cuban Costumbrismo: From Plantations to the Slums, explores how Cuban Costumbristas reported on the African traditions in the Black slave and freed Black populations.  He highlights the common images that were used in literature and identifies the customs and characters that were left out of these portrayals of Cuban life.  Dr. Ocasio also examines how the African traditions shaped Cuban culture, especially in the musical and religious traditions of Cuba.

Students immersed in the process of researching their senior seminar topic or gathering information for their first college-level research paper may be impressed that this energetic professor spends much of his free time researching and writing.  Afro-Cuban Costumbrismo took Dr. Ocasio three years to research and write.  During the school year, he relied on texts obtainable through interlibrary loan and when classes were not in session, he traveled to libraries that possessed slave manuals, guides produced by the Catholic Church on how to evangelize to new Black slaves, and other 19th century writings about Cuba that were too fragile to travel through interlibrary loan.  Since few databases contained articles about the topics that interested Dr. Ocasio, he combed through the footnotes and the bibliographies of the works he did find so that he could discover other related sources.

Though Afro-Cuban Costumbrismo is fresh off the press, Dr. Ocasio already is on to his next work.  Collaborating with Calvin Burgamy for technical support, Dr. Ocasio is creating an iBook on Latin American cinema that will be used as a textbook for his course.  In addition, he is researching and compiling Puerto Rican folktales for an anthology.  To see the full scope of Dr. Rafael Ocasio’s work, check out the links below:

If you are ready to start learning about 19th century Afro-Cuban Culture, head the the New Books shelf in the Main Reading Room to be the first person to check out Afro-Cuban Costumbrismo: From Plantations to the Slum!