Hello, my name is Alissa Renales. My pronouns are they/them theirs. I am a Graduate Student in the School of Communications and Information and I will be graduating in December. My concentration is in Archives and Preservation. This summer I was lucky enough to be involved with the Summer Tales Book Club, the Rutgers University Library New Brunswick book club and non-credit course. Our team consisted of librarians Judit Ward, Stephanie Bartz, Becky Diamond, Megan Lotts, and Meredith Parker. In addition to librarians students also contributed; Nick Allred (PhD candidate from the English Department) and School of Communication and Information Masters Students Harmony Birch and I.
This experience has taught me the importance of using diverse forms of content to create engagement and reinforced the importance of fostering partnerships. Summer Tales was made possible through the joint planning of the Rutgers University Libraries and the Rutgers Division of Continuing Studies. This partnership allowed students to engage with literary texts, participate in librarian- and student worker-led events, follow social media posts across Twitter and Facebook, contribute to Canvas discussions, and participate in two author talks.
A few months ago I began contributing posts to the Library of Science and Medicine’s blog, Speaking of STEM. I was very happy to be able to continue writing thoughtful short form pieces for the Books We Read blog. Summer Tales saw contributions from all team members across a variety of subjects: for example, translation and language preservation, art history, food, and trauma within the LGBTQIA+ community. As someone determined to work in a Special Collections and Academic setting, with a foot in both worlds, I appreciated this opportunity to focus on a topic too long for a social media post and not fully developed enough to be peer-reviewed. Blogs have become key parts of museums, special libraries, and academic departments. They also seek to engage with the increasingly vocal curiosities of patrons who wish to learn more about the collections and the work done to support and research them. Moving forward in my career I will look back fondly on Summer Tales as an exciting time to explore creative thinking and research in the service of knowledge.