Posted in Student Spotlight

Student Spotlights: Kathryn Dean

Kathryn Dean

Kathryn Dean ’13

Major: English

Minor: History

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

I’m really interested in women’s history and women’s writing– that’s what I tend to focus on in my classes and where my interests tend to lie! Specifically, I love to look at formations of identity and spaces where women’s experiences can intersect.

What are your favorite resources at McCain Library?

Currently, I’m loving the Historical New York Times database– I’ve lost chunks of what could have been productive time looking through old headlines and articles. I’ve also been known to get sucked into the bound periodicals on the ground floor. (Pick up an old volume of TIME magazine sometime. So interesting.)

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

I love reading! As a reader, I’m a bit difficult, actually. It takes me a couple of tries to get into a fiction book unless it really captures me in the first few pages. I tend to be reading a lot of different things at one time, which can get tricky. I also like having something to eat or drink (or both), so I find myself reading in coffee shops a lot. And in the kitchen, which isn’t always ideal if you’re cooking. (Tip: watch your pasta. It will boil over. Dubliners can wait.)

It appears that my two adjectives would be fickle and hungry, which reflects very positively on me as a scholar.

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

I like all kinds, really. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of poetry and young adult novels. It’s a nice break from the more dense and lengthy reading I do for class. (But it’s not any less meaningful, of course!)

What books do you recommend as must-reads?

My old standbys: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (a delightfully funny play– do yourself a favor and increase your enjoyment of Hamlet); F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s short stories; Persuasion by Jane Austen (a slim and refreshingly lovely volume); Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (for those who like fairy tales with a new spin on them– this has been one of my favorite books for most of my life); anything by Virginia Woolf.

Books I’ve read lately: poetry by Natasha Trethewey, especially from her new volume Thrall; The Invention of Hugo Cabret (which I actually read for class! it’s such a cool and interesting way to tell a story); Adoption Papers by Jackie Kay (I read it in a poetry class while I was abroad last semester); The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

What kind of movies do you enjoy watching?

I generally love comedies and old movies. I’ve also been drawn to indie dramas in the past with mixed reactions.

Are there any movies you recommend?

Mel Brooks movies, especially Young Frankenstein— classic.
Roman Holiday– I watched this movie for the first time last semester right before I did some traveling and it’s lovely.
The Up Series is a series of documentary films that follows a group of children from when they’re seven years old– there’s one made every 7 years. The first film is sort of based around the proverb “Give me the child at seven, and I will give you the man.” The children from Seven Up are now in their 50s. It’s really interesting to see not only the way their lives turn out, but the way in which they start pushing back on the concept of the project.
The Women (1939) is based on the play by Clare Boothe Luce– it’s a really fast-paced, witty movie that is certainly a product of its time and really interesting for that reason! No men make an appearance on screen for the entire movie, which is pretty cool.

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

I started reading at an early age and have always been a voracious reader. But I think To Kill a Mockingbird was the first book that I really interacted with in a way that resembles the kind of literary analysis I do now as an English major– not only was I completely captivated by the story, but I was also analyzing it as a work of literature. I go back to it periodically and every time I’m shocked by how much I’ve grown. It’s a different book every few years

Is there anything else you would like to share?

My favorite places to sit in the library– because I’m sure you wanted to know– are on the patio on the first floor and the little hallway with the comfy chairs beside it. Lots of natural light! I also love my study carrel on the ground floor, but it’s mine, all mine. (Just kidding. Or AM I?)

Posted in Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: Maddye Mitchell

Maddye Mitchell

Maddye Mitchell ’13

Major: History

Minor: Psychology

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

I am interested in American history, women’s history, almost anything pertaining to Appalachia.

What are your favorite resources at McCain Library?

The librarians are by far the most valuable resource. They’ve helped me countless times when I was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. Other than that, America: History & Life is my jam!

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

Reading is definitely my favorite occupation. When I was a kid, I started school a year early because I begged my mom to let me go. I became obsessed with reading because I found that I really did not enjoy the company of my peers, who were all a bit older and way cooler than me (it showed). Reading gave me a reason to have more conversations with my teachers and librarians, who were the people I most wanted to be like. I think this is how I became so attached to history. My life revolved around “stories” – any stories, I did not have much of a discriminating taste when it came to selecting books – and the narrative is the basic essence of history.

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

I will read just about anything, but I rarely have the time. There are only a handful of books I can remember that I have not finished because I didn’t like them or found them uninteresting. Even books I don’t really enjoy I will attempt to finish so that I can have informed criticism. I like novels, such as the Millennium trilogy and The Hunger Games. I have a soft spot for historical fiction, so long as it is not completely outlandish and inaccurate. I will read any book on the topic of feminism or the Jazz Age.

What books do you recommend as must-reads?

Honorable mention: My favorite childhood books were the Madeline series. My sister named me after these books. I read Angela’s Ashes this summer and became enamored with the work of Frank McCourt. If you do not like this book, you are dead inside. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I got really into these stories as a kid, but they are enjoyable for people of all ages. The Hound of the Baskervilles contains my favorite phrase from all literature, which is a description of a man who is “as tenacious as a lobster”. To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic and also my favorite book. This might be because it was also my mother’s favorite book. I grew up aspiring to be Harper Lee. If you haven’t read Atonement by Ian McEwan, stop everything and go read it. This is another favorite. Yes, James McAvoy is sexy and awesome in the film version, but the book is even better. It was a highly emotional read for me. I don’t think any other book has made me feel such profound sadness and rage. I read just about every fiction/nonfiction book about the Holocaust in my preteen years. The Pianist, Night, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Devil’s Arithmetic, Maus, Number the Stars, Survival in Auschwitz, Sophie’s Choice, I Have Lived A Thousand Years, All But My Life, Escape from Sobibor, Five Chimneys, The Girl in the Red Coat, Rena’s Promise, Sala’s Gift…I devoured them. Highly recommended. Others that require no explanation but will make you a better person: The Harry Potter series, The Catcher in the Rye, All Quiet on the Western Front, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Gone With the Wind, Candide, Wuthering Heights, The Bell Jar, The Color Purple.

What kind of movies do you enjoy watching?

I am mostly torn between classic movies and 90s teen movies, which are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. I like anything that reminds me of the awesomeness of the 90s, like Cruel Intentions, 10 Things I Hate About You, Romeo + Juliet, Bring It On (technically from 2000, but close enough). Any movie with Meg Ryan, Julie Andrews, or Diane Keaton automatically gets top priority.

Are there any movies you recommend?

It Happened One Night. Claudette Colbert is so adorable and Clark Gable is so handsome. Ideal cute 1930s movie.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?, mostly because it is punctuated by the folksy Bluegrass music I grew up listening to.

The Sound of Music is my all-time favorite movie because Julie Andrews is the essence of a perfect human being. You cannot watch this movie and not smile.

You’ve Got Mail. Meg Ryan is my other example of a perfect person. This is my go-to feel good movie.

Gone With the Wind. Another classic. I fell in love the first time I watched it as a kid because I realized that Scarlett O’Hara was the sassiest bitch ever.

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

I used to have to walk a mile from the bus stop to my house in middle school, so I would read as a walked, lest I lose valuable Harry Potter time. I do not recommend this. I walked headfirst into a parked truck. Very embarrassing.

Posted in Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: Elle O’Brien

Elle O'Brien

Elle O’Brien ’13

Major: English

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

I’m really heavy into computational neuroscience, the intersection of mathematics with the biology of the nervous system. I’m also an avid musician with a growing penchant for Irish, bluegrass and early blues music.

What are your favorite resources at McCain Library?

I always stop by for one of the free papers.

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

I read regularly, on the train or before bed. I confess that it’s not totally natural to me and requires a fair amount of discipline. I like to read journal articles about unusual, generally controversial or fringe mathematical models before bed so that I can dream on them.

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

I suspect I am a bit unusual in my selection habits. I seldom take up a fiction book for fun. It’s not because my imagination is tired, it’s that I am so wildly in love with this reality I can’t stand to abandon it. My favorite topic is the birth of mathematical movements, such as chaos theory starting in the 1960s: who were the players, what were they up against, and what were their inspirations? This type of literature also tends to be a fantastic introduction to the feeling and intuition of theories without getting bogged down in details. I always leave with a new, creative framework for considering the natural world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I also enjoy books about strategy (I have an unexplained affinity for Gary Kasparov), linguistics and history.

What books do you recommend as must-reads?

The Mystery of the Aleph by Amir Aczel is a thrilling examination of the forces that changed how mathematicians conceptualize infinity. The reader uncovers the work and life of Georg Cantor, who is driven by mental illness as much as the pioneering spirit, and the ancient mysticism attached to numbers that that was to some degree formalized by his work.

What kind of movies do you enjoy watching?

Mel Brooks!

Are there any movies you recommend?

The History of the World, Part 1.

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

I was always a fast reader, and while I could tear through books in elementary school, I rarely got any joy out of it. I suppose I just didn’t get any thrill from escapism, and I relished feeling busy beside a textbook. I didn’t read much for fun in middle school or high school aside from philosophy, which I laboriously copied on a pad beside me to drill the logic in. One winter break from college, though, I finally came to enjoy a work of fiction. It was Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. I was captivated by the empathy I felt for the characters, for the thought and consideration the writer had put into their motivations. They were people I wanted to read. Not only did I finish the book, I actually read the rest of the series. After that, I suppose the whole “reading fiction for fun” business made sense to me.

Posted in Events & Exhibits, Student Spotlight

Future Library Superstar: Elaine Holliday ’10

Though Elaine Holliday ’10 worked in McCain Library for over 2 years at the Circulation Desk, it took several sessions with Gail Bell in the Career Planning Office at Agnes Scott College  to help Elaine realize that a career in libraries was a perfect match for her.  “I like to help people, ” she said, “and I also like to be the holder of knowledge.”

Though new to the idea of librarianship, Elaine showed clear signs of a librarian mind when she set out to research and apply for graduate programs.  “I looked for programs that were considered more ‘bang for your buck,'” she said, “and applied to University of South Carolina, University of Oklahoma, and University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Did you know that although there are 3 library programs in NC, 1 in SC, there are 8 in Hawaii?”

Elaine decided to attend University of South Carolina -Columbia and is currently working towards a Master’s of Library and Information Science. When her studies are complete, Elaine said she wants “to work in a small academic library, like McCain. Or in a larger academic library were I could specialize and be a cataloger or a science/technology reference librarian. Or in a special library, like a Medical Library.”

Already Elaine is embedded in the library culture, she has tales of “someone turning in a book to the library that wasn’t a library book” and adventures finding “really odd old documents.”

For students interested in pursuing an Masters in Library and Information Science, Elaine encourages them to consider online courses.  “All of my courses have been online,”  she said.  “Not all the courses offered are, but it was very doable to have mine be all online, and this seems to be not uncommon in library programs. Also, there really is a good bit of specialization amount libraries and that affects what courses you’d want to take. And different programs might have a stronger “department” or more courses for one type of librarian or another.”

Good luck Elaine! We hope you end up working with a population as wonderful as the one we encounter at McCain Library.

 

Posted in Events & Exhibits, Student Spotlight

Future Library Super Star: Morgan Briles ’14

IMG_3075 Morgan Briles ’14 is a History major currently studying abroad in Sweden but she already knows that a career in libraries at either a university or a high school is the right fit for her.

“It feels like the perfect job for me,” she said when questioned why she wants to become a librarian.  “It also seems like an intellectually stimulating job.”

Morgan is not certain yet where she will pursue a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, but since she has proven her ability to live in near arctic temperatures and since Casey Long will be her History Senior Seminar Library Mentor, we are certain that University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will definitely be considered.

Posted in Events & Exhibits, Student Spotlight

Future Library Superstars: Olivia Carlisle ’10

Just one aspect of digital preservation! Preserving the technology.
Just one aspect of digital preservation!
Image from flickr creative commons user Ryan Somma

Like many students with a wide range of interests Olivia Carlisle entered her senior year in 2009 not quite positive which direction she wanted to take her life.  Knowing she had a love of books, she decided to tested the waters by volunteering with McCain Library.  There she helped students with research questions at the Reference Desk and assisted in designing displays and research guides to promote library materials.  She was an invaluable resource and as a result of her tremendous service she was awarded the Marjo Dobbs Arseneau ’89 Memorial Librarianship Award to help her in pursuing a career in Library Science.

Olivia will graduate this May with a Masters of Library and Information Studies from University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  She is strongly interested in Digital Preservation and is currently volunteering at the National Archives and Records Administration in Atlanta.

When asked to name something about libraries that most people do not know, she said, “I think most people don’t realize how diverse the profession can be, there are so many options with what you can do, not only within the library system but in other professional fields also.”

Olivia graduated from Agnes Scott College with a degree in Economics and Organizational Management. She minored in History and Classical Civilization. Though she is traveling down a path that will utilize her history background, Olivia is correct in noting that the library science profession offers opportunities for individuals from a wide range of backgrounds.  Olivia’s understanding of business and economic concepts could one day lead her to become a corporate librarian working for companies like Coca-Cola, InterContinental Hotels Group, or McKinsey & Co Consulting.  She could also work in academia as a business librarian.  The options are endless!

Good luck Olivia!  We hope you come visit us soon!

Posted in Student Spotlight

Future Library Superstars: Jenessa McElfresh ’13

JenessaWhere are you going to graduate school and what is the official name of the degree you are seeking?

I plan on going to Kent State University to earn a Master’s of Library and Information Science degree.

Is there a specific type of librarian you want to  be?

I intend to specialize in digital archives and preservation.

Why do you want to be a librarian?

I want to be a librarian because I’m very interested in the intersections of history, information, and the increasing role of technology in managing historical information. Growing up, I was always interested in becoming a librarian but hesitant to voice my interests because of the old stigma of libraries as an outdated, non-advancing field. Luckily, over time I realized that the old stereotype is quite far from the truth and the field is constantly evolving and adapting to meet the needs of the contemporary era. Mostly, I want to be a librarian because it is a career that combines my academic and professional interests in a really vibrant and diverse field, giving me so many options for future jobs and opportunities.

What schools did you consider when selecting a program?

I initially considered and researched most of the ALA-accredited schools with an on-campus option. Then, using the ALA website’s awesome Google map of programs, I narrowed my search to certain geographic regions. Finally, my search narrowed even more looking for programs with strong digital and archives programs, in addition to digging through the course catalogs of all of the schools finding options that piqued my interest. Ultimately I applied to the University of Denver, the University of Hawaii, the University of Wisconsin, Kent State University, and Drexel University.

Posted in Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: Anna Cabe

Anna Cabe

Anna Cabe ’13

Major: English Literature-Creative Writing

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

My particular academic interests are English literature and ethnic studies, particularly Asian-American studies. In my own creative and academic work, I tend to explore the intersectionality of identities, especially race and gender. I’m also quite fond of history, art history, political science, women’s studies, religious studies, and much more, i.e, I’m a classic liberal arts student.

My true passion, though, is writing, in the nonfiction and fiction genres. Someday, I hope to publish a book and be a working writer.

What are your favorite resources at McCain Library?

I really love having free access to Project Muse and JSTOR for my research, but when I’m relaxing or need cultural context for various projects, I’m enraptured with the huge movie collection. Since coming to Agnes, I’ve really become more cinematically literate, and my taste in movies has become more cosmopolitan. Of course, in my rare moments of free time, you can always find me in the courtyard or the browsing section with a hardback!

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

Yes! I like to consider myself open-minded in my tastes, but I’ll admit that my busy schedule is forcing me to be more choosy. For instance, in the past, I used to unwind with cheesy romance novels and thrillers, but now, there’s too many bad books to wade through in both genres for me to risk picking one up without glowing recommendations.

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

I read a ton of fiction and nonfiction and some poetry. My favorite genres are YA, memoirs, fantasy, magical realism, and contemporary realistic literature. I’m also becoming really interested in long-form graphic works. I’m visually oriented so having pictures with text is very pleasing.

What books do you recommend as must-reads?

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It really changed my ideas of what “magic” in books could mean and how it can be deployed to make powerful cultural, social and political critiques. Anything by Toni Morrison is wonderful. I read The Bluest Eye too young but yet, it was also the right time, because it really was empowering to read something so brilliant by a woman of color. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter upends all expectations of traditional fairy tales. Ann Patchett‘s Bel Canto is about art and love and connection across unspeakable differences (as well as terrorists taking a bunch of people hostage after an operatic performance) and really profoundly shook my idea of what fiction can be. The Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin is just freaking awesome with masterful plotting and memorable characters. Also, Georgette Heyer is fantastic if you love Jane Austen and need more witty Regency dandies and sassy young ladies in your life without any sappy nonsense.

What kind of movies do you enjoy watching?

I have a fondness for films with fantastical and action elements and animated films. Thanks to my mother, I also love classic Hollywood, weepy melodramas, musicals, screwball comedies, and all. I’ve been exploring more indie and arthouse films, but I’ve realized I really like plots and fully developed characters and have little patience for whiny people doing nothing but talking. Also, I love foreign films because I find the alienating experience of not understanding the language but relying on subtitles to be strangely soothing.

Are there any movies you recommend?

I recently watched Vertigo and was really entranced by its exploration of the male gaze. Any movie by Charlie Kaufman is worth catching, especially Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, for depicting a complex relationship falling apart (and Jim Carrey can act!). The Princess Bride makes me happy with its endless quotability. The Lordof theRings is. Just. Awesome. And. Needs. To. Be. Watched. Spirited Away, though, is my favorite of all. It’s a truly Japanese film that’s also universal. The animation is stunning; its creativity is astonishing. Every time I watch it, I catch a new detail. Yet, all this careful nuance is packaged in a deceptively simple coming-of-age tale. It’s sheer perfection.

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

I clearly remember struggling with reading when I was a kid. My grandmother forced me to practice writing and letters with exercise books and flashcards, and I don’t think those helped me nurture a passion for reading. At all. However, when I was in kindergarten, I discovered I was one of the few kids who really struggled to read, and I think the shame spurred me to improve. Soon, I discovered that it was kind of fun, and once I hit Nancy Drew and The Babysitters’ Club, I was zipping forward.

Posted in Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Higgins

Elizabeth Higgins

Elizabeth Higgins ’14

Major: International Relations

Minor: Music, Public Health

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

I am also really interested in Environmental Biology and our Dance department is AWESOME.

What are your favorite resources at McCain Library?

The databases and journals are particularly helpful for me. The books as well, although once I start on a search I can’t stop checking out way too many books.

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

I LOVE READING. I’m that person whose bag is always way too heavy with books while I travel. But it also tough to balance academic and leisure reading during the year.

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

I love reading nonfiction, especially memoirs. But I also will always love a cute romance novel, poetry, travel books and fantasy!! I just love it all. 🙂

What books do you recommend as must-reads?

Room by Emma Donoghue, Seven Days in the Art Room by Sarah Thorton and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling, The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett & Siddhartha!

What kind of movies do you enjoy watching?

I love movies that make you think! Usually ideas that have to do with societal perceptions. I also love happy, romantic and travel movies!

Are there any movies you recommend?

Vicky Cristina Barcelona because Woody Allen is a genius, Pans Labyrinth, Happythankyoumoreplease, Blueberry Nights, Tiny Furniture, Up, Being John Malkovich, Sicko and Jeux D’enfants

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

The language I was taught to first read and write in was French. I came back to the United States during 5th grade. It was a struggle, I could barely get through a Dr. Seuss book, and now I can’t stop putting books down! They’ve helped me tremendously with my writing!

Posted in Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: Monica L. Gresham

Monica L. Gresham

Monica L. Gresham ’13

Major: Africana Studies

Minor: English

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

Diasporic peoples, social science, Literature, and universal unity

What are your favorite resources at McCain Library?

 I have always focused on books and databases, [and] some movies if assigned by the Professors. As of late, [my favorite resource] is my relationship with the Librarian. I have come to believe that is the most important resource available to an Agnes Scott student.

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

 My parents encouraged reading. Even after completing homework and chores, we always expected to read for an hour on our own. I usually skipped meals and read until I fell asleep. Reading was my escape from reality to a better life of resolved issues, triumphs, and good winning over evil. My tastes changed as I hit milstones of age, experiences, and maturity. I’ve always read on a much higher level than my age would denote. I read to see what writers really thought about race, society and religion. I read to exercise my imagination, spirituality and to challenge my constructed truths.

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

 I left my beloved fairy tales and Bible, as a child to explore dark fantasy, and fiction as well as non fiction stories of cultural/social oppression, history, and academia.

What books do you recommend as must-reads?

I am a firm believer in reading, it doesn’t matter what you read as long as you are simulating your mind and nurturing your humanity. As of late, I find enjoyment in narratives of history, mysticism, and triumphs over mental, physical, and economical circumstances. I don’t have a favorite book, I have several. A must read is any book that pushes one outside of societal constructed ideologies, allows one to see life through another person’s perspective and exposes truth beyond what one has been expected or trained to believe.

What kind of movies do you enjoy watching?

I’m a horror, comedy, psychological thriller, and foreign films fan. I especially love those with subtitles. I am fascinated with films that put a different spin on fairy tales and legends; showing something different or challenging constructed myths and pseduo-true accounts. I love truth, no matter how much it hurts; add a challenge to morality, humanity and breaking constructed barriers and you got me.

Are there any movies you recommend?

Imitation of Life  Though, I have issues with the constructed ideologies of cultural motherhood along with balancing careers and the settings that denote a social status within our multi- cultural society. It shows a blending of economical truths and celebrates the unity of strength, organization, and knowledge of the black and the white woman. There are many others I could name but I dont want to spoil it. That’s the important part of recommending; give a tease then lets talk.

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

I received my first Bible at 5 years of age. A children’s bible first, then as I advanced in my reading I was given adult versions. Through my experiences as a child, adolesent, and teenage years, I struggled off and on to understand the concepts in applying them to my reality. As an adult, the Songs of Solomon has become a favorite, along with Genesis.

Is there anything else  you would like to share?

Being a Senior, I hate that I waited until this year to realize the resources available at McCain. Being a student of Social Sciences with a specialty in the African Diaspora, I’ve spent countless dollars and time trying to find information that was right in my own backyard. I feel so cheated with a swift kick for I did it to myself. If there is anything that I would like to share it is this:

1. Always check your own backyard first.
2. Get to know that quiet person sitting at the resource desk with the yellow sign, “its ok to interrupt.”

A personal thank you to Ms. Casey Long for swinging the patio door open and showing me the manicured grounds.