Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

TinyCat’s April Library of the Month: The Asian American Studies Program at Cornell University

To read more about TinyCat’s Library of the Month feature, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

In honor of School Library Month we’re featuring the Asian American Studies Program (AASP) at Cornell University, who’ve been with TinyCat since the beginning!

Program Manager of AASP Alexis Boyce was kind enough to answer my questions this month:

First, what is your library, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

Established in 1989, the Asian American Studies Resource Center at Cornell University serves both the campus and the surrounding Ithaca community. Library materials and media pertaining to Asian America are available for study, research, and viewing. The AASP collection includes over 1200 books, journals, periodicals, and music; over 300 films; and, thanks to TinyCat, is searchable online.

Tell us some interesting ways you support your community.

In addition to housing our online library catalogue, our website serves as a resource for students seeking internship and conference opportunities as well as those looking for courses or applying for a minor in Asian American Studies. Our study lounge is open five days a week and available for group study, organization meetings, film screenings, or just hanging out between classes, and many student groups and departments across campus use the space to advertise events, projects, and materials of interest.

The Resource Center is funded and managed by the Asian American Studies Program, which coordinates a wide range of programming throughout the year, but regularly hosts two weekly lunch series devoted to faculty, staff, and student presentations and discussions as well as a monthly Spam and Eggs Community Breakfast. All events are free and open to the public and take place in the Resource Center itself or across the hall in its conference room.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

The Resource Center employs a small group of student staff members, and each Monday, they choose a Book of the Week that reflects current events or what they are thinking about in general. The last selection was Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines by Warwick Anderson (image right). Students posted:

Colonial Pathologies details how Colonial doctors and scientists ‘began to focus on microbial pathogens as threats to the health of white colonists, they came to view the Filipino people as a contaminated race, and they launched public health initiatives to reform Filipinos’ personal hygiene practices and social conduct.’ Anderson’s work explains how race and medicine converged to form imperial policies that have had long-lasting effects on Filipino health practices.”

I love these posts for a lot of reasons. They encourage our student staff and their peers to independently engage with the library outside of their required reading and perhaps consider ideas they might not have otherwise encountered. The students also have a lot of fun with the accompanying pictures, usually pulling volunteers from whoever happens to be in the Resource Center at the time and having them strike a dramatic pose with that week’s selection. Posts go up on Facebook and Instagram, and always draw a lot of love from current students as well as alumni and faculty.

What’s a particular challenge you experience as a small library?

Our budget for new materials is relatively small, and we are located in an out-of-the-way part of campus, so people sometimes have some trouble finding us. But they are always delighted when they do.

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat? Anything you’d love to add?

I really appreciate the service that TinyCat provides because it makes us more accessible for people. I’d like to be able to offer electronic versions of books as well in the future.

Want to learn more about the Cornell Asian American Studies Program? Follow them on Facebook and Instagram, visit their website here, and be sure to explore their library on TinyCat.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Calling all TinyCat libraries: become TinyCat’s next Library of the Month—just send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat


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