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W&L’s Librarians Recommended Library Finds Washington and Lee’s library staff share their recommendations for your next trip to the University Library.

DSC09062-WP-1140x760 W&L’s Librarians Recommended Library Finds

In honor of Washington Break, a few members of Washington and Lee’s library staff have put together a list of their recommendations to bat the winter doldrums. All of these suggestions are available or soon to be available for checkout in Leyburn Library, the university’s main library on campus, and the Telford Science Library.

Leyburn and Telford libraries are open to W&L faculty, staff and students seven days a week, 24 hours a day while classes are in session.

K.T. Vaughan, Hal F. and Barbra Buckner Higginbotham University Librarian and professor

“Braiding Sweetgrass,” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

“In this book of essays, the botany professor and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation blends Western and Potawatomi ways of understanding and knowing the natural world together. There is something wonderfully comforting about Kimmerer’s voice in these essays. My favorites are the ones where she explores nature with her students, learning about, from and with them and the natural world.” Two copies available in Leyburn Library at E98.P5 K56, unlimited e-book access online; Rockbridge Regional Library has the audiobook via the Libby app

“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life,” by Barbara Kingsolver

“Kingsolver moved with her family to the Virginia mountains, not far from here, in the early 2000s. This book is a narrative set of essays tracking a year of their attempt to live locally, eating food grown on their own small farm or traded with neighbors. Unlike her more literary fiction, I found these essays funny, irreverent and touching. They deeply resonated with me, even though I’m proud when I manage one eggplant and an overwhelming quantity of chili peppers in a summer. If you’re a cook, check out the seasonal recipes at http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/.” Available in Telford Library at S521.5.A67 K56

PXL_20240211_2012275512-WP-987x768 W&L’s Librarians Recommended Library FindsNew game zone on Leyburn Library’s main floor

Amira Walker, research services librarian and assistant professor

“The Secret World of Arrietty”

“My daughters are big Miyazaki fans, and something about ‘The Secret World of Arrietty’ makes me feel so cozy and warm. The animation is beautiful, and the story is so whimsical. It’s one of the few ‘kid’ films I will sit down and watch with them from beginning to end.” Find the DVD at Leyburn. Call number: NC1766.J3 S43 2017

“The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires” by Grady Hendrix

 “Grady Hendrix is a master at blending horror and comedy. ‘The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires’ is told through the eyes of Patricia, a suburban housewife in Charleston, South Carolina, who joins a true crime book club. Even non-horror fans will appreciate a women’s book club battling stereotypes, the patriarchy, and … well, vampires … when their kids start mysteriously disappearing.” Coming soon to the Leyburn stacks. 

Steely Dan

“They’re one of my favorite bands to listen to, especially on road trips. It doesn’t matter what kind of mood I’m in, ‘Deacon Blues,’ ‘Reeling in the Years’ and ‘My Old School’ will cheer me right up.” Find the CD “A Decade of Steely Dan” at Leyburn. Call number: CDS 3472

Elizabeth Anne Teaff, associate university librarian for access and discovery and associate professor

“In Circling Flight” by Jane Harrington

“Over winter break, I spent a cozy weekend curled up with a novel from our very own Jane Harrington. ‘In Circling Flight’ is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains and was the winner of the 2019 Brighthorse Books Prize. The story centers around several friends and their relationship with each other and the land around them. Harrington teaches creative writing and literature at W&L and is a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA).” Available at Leyburn. Call number: PS3608.A78169 I5 2022

16-MARCH-SMALL-Leyburn_040414__015-1 W&L’s Librarians Recommended Library Finds

Visitors to Leyburn looking for destressing or study break activities can also take advantage of offerings developed in collaboration with the Library Student Advisory Board (LSAB). Created in 2019, LSAB is a student board dedicated to bringing the student perspective to auditing and improving library services, spaces, collections and programming. In addition to supporting technological and physical improvements in the library, such as testing new self-checkout software and generating new signage, LSAB also sponsors a study break event each term, where students can come by and grab snacks, chat and leave feedback and suggestions for the library; their most recent event was a Valentine’s Day-themed event where students could contribute to a display on books they love.

LSAB works closely with Emily Cook, research and instruction librarian for the humanities, and recently created a space on the library’s main floor for students, faculty, staff and other visitors to build Lego sets, play board games, solve puzzles, find the latest bestsellers and enjoy a well-stocked craft station. W&L’s Friends of the Library, which supports activities and initiatives that enhance the University Library’s collections and services, funded additional power outlets and furniture improvements to make the area more welcoming. Cook said LSAB also has input on the monthly book displays on the main floor, which center around campus initiatives such as Black History Month or other themes as determined by the library, to engage students more deeply during their time in Leyburn.

Follow W&L’s University Library on Instagram for updates on events, exhibits and new additions to the library’s offerings.