Posted by Amy Schlumpf Manion on March 22, 2013
READ! In 1985, the American Library Association president decided that picturing celebrities with a simple message along with their favorite book would be a good way to inspire a love of reading in young people. In 2009, Phillips Library decided to do the same thing when they selected the first group of four campus “celebrities” as the models for their posters. Now in its fifth year, the READ poster unveiling event drew a crowd Thursday afternoon and everyone was anxious to see who would be added to the collection of posters that adorn the wall of the first floor of Phillips Library.
Each year, a Phillips Library committee selects one faculty member, two students and one other member from the AU community to appear on the posters as AU “celebrities.” The models get to select what book they would like to be pictured with and are honored at the unveiling ceremony with a framed copy of the poster that is theirs to keep.
For the second year in a row, Phillips Library ran a contest to help select the student models for the posters. This year, the contest was run through a Virtual Book Club on the library’s Facebook page. The Virtual Book Club was designed to be convenient for students with no face-to-face meetings and no assigned books to read by a deadline. Instead, participants got to offer responses to questions about books they’ve already read or about reading in general. The contest began January 15, 2013 and ran for a month with daily questions. More than 500 comments from 100 Facebook fans were recorded during that period. Due to its success, Phillips Library has continued posting questions about books and reading on its Facebook page on a weekly basis.
The first winner chosen from the Virtual Book Club was Rebecca Fleming, a junior nursing major from Sandwich, Ill. She answered every single question that was posted during the contest with thoughtful and detailed responses. In addition to her love of reading, she is active in the Sigma Delta Gamma sorority and a member of AU Students for Wellness. She chose to be photographed with the #1 New York Times bestselling young adult novel The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. “It is a little bit of everything all rolled into one: a comedy, a romance and a tragedy,” Fleming says about her book choice. “It was a page turner with a story that I’ll always remember, and for me it contains all the qualities of a perfect book.”
Senior communication major, Toussaint Egan from Montgomery, Ill., was the other winner chosen from the Virtual Book Club. Egan is an avid reader who had commented and posted about books he’s read on the Phillips Library Facebook page even before the Virtual Book Club was started. As a communication major, Egan is interested in other media besides books. He is a student DJ for the SpartanCast Student Radio Station and the Arts & Entertainment editor for The Spartan Chronicle, the AU online student newspaper. Egan chose to be pictured with Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang because he believes that the history of Hip-hop deserves to be studied and taught for the merits of its social, political and intercultural significance.
This year’s faculty poster features Dr. Donovan Gwinner, associate professor of English and the 2012 recipient of the Marcus and Mark H. Trumbo Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Gwinner selected Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko, a book that fundamentally altered the way he thinks about history and culture, particularly-in this case-the history of the European conquest of the Western Hemisphere and its indigenous peoples.
Lastly, Sammy Spartan, the school mascot who underwent a makeover this year, was the fourth READ poster honoree. Sammy’s unexpected appearance delighted the crowd gathered for the unveiling. His poster shows him victoriously holding Mascots: The History of Senior College & University Mascots/Nicknames by Roy E. Yarbrough.
To see all of the current and past READ posters, click here.