Engagement #1: Locating Sites of Regional Literature
Over the next week your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to investigate some of your local resources available for ‘teaching local literature in a global age.’ Between now and next class meeting you will visit four sites—one virtual, the others a bit more substantial—to trace what sorts of texts and materials remain accessible for 21st century readers interested in pursuing local literature.
Here’s what you need to do:
1) Go to you school library with a copy of our list of suggested local literature. How many does your library have?
2) Then, try to find physical copy of at least one of the texts (likely the one you’ve selected for your dialogue journal or literature circle readings, but it need not be). If your school does not have a copy available, find out why. (You may need to talk with your school librarian or media specialist or other faculty). If your school does have a copy of the text, where is it located? How many copies of the text are available? What other texts are near this one? Who else is there when you are searching for your book? What are they doing? If they are reading or browsing books, try to find out what they are reading (you may be direct or discreet, but don’t be creepy by stalking other patrons). Make a note of all these things. AND if you find a copy of the text, sit down somewhere to examine the book and to read the first page or two. What is the most interesting, unusual, or compelling thing, passage, phrase, or word on the first page? Whether you find a copy of the text here or not, then….
3) Go to your local PUBLIC library to find a copy of the text in #2. Again, if your local library or branch does not have a copy of the text, find out why. Is this a text that you can request through MeLCat? If so, do so, if the library cannot provide a copy for you. If the library does have a copy, then obtain a copy. Note where the text is located within the library? What section is it in? How many copies are available? What other texts or materials are nearby? As above, also take note of other patrons, especially in the section where you find your text. AND if you find a copy of the text, sit down somewhere to examine the book and to read the first page or two. Upon this reading and in light of your past experiences with the text and/or trying to find the text, what is the most interesting, unusual, or compelling thing, passage, phrase, or word on the first page? Then…
4) Go to the nearest commercial bookstore in your community. Does this store carry a copy of your text? If not, why not? Can you order the book for delivery there? If so, what are the costs to you (time, money, resources) above the cost of the book? If the store does have a copy available, where is it located? How many copies do they have and in what condition are they? As above, notice the other patrons and their activity. If you prefer to have your own copy of the book (rather than the library versions), purchase the text. Again, sit down somewhere to examine the book and to read the first page or two. NOW, what is the most interesting, unusual, or compelling thing, passage, phrase, or word on the first page? If nothing changes with this reading, think about why that is and write about it.
5) Bring your field notes and all copies of the book you have managed to secure to class.