Help Marywood Cast a Vote for The Great American Read

Sponsored by PBS, the Public Broadcasting System, the Great American Reads (GAR) is an 8-part video series celebrating the power and joy of reading.  One hundred (100) books were selected from thousands of books, to reveal our nation’s diversity and our shared human experience.

The launch of GAR occurred with the premier broadcast on May 22nd and starting September 11, will continue each Tuesday night until October 23rd. Each broadcast will showcase a theme such as “Who am I?” “Other Worlds,” and “the Grand Finale,” when America’s favorite novel is revealed.

The top 100 books were chosen by conducting a demographically and statistically representative survey asking people to name their most-loved book.  Some criteria for these 100 books included: the book must be a fiction book, each author was limited to just one title, and books were published in English.  The list is broad with books as far back as the 1600s and as recent as 2016. Lots of choices rose to the surface including: young adult, science fiction/fantasy, romance, historic fiction, and the classics.

Libraries throughout the nation are conducting programs to celebrate Great American Reads and Marywood is one of many.  The local Scranton Public Library is having a Trivia Contest while many libraries are having ongoing book discussions.

We invite you to vote for Marywood’s most loved novel.

Since nation-wide voting has been ongoing since the May launch, the list we are going with is the updated PBS list of the top 40 titles. Click on each title to learn more about it.

To cast a vote on behalf of Marywood, submit your vote before October, 22nd. and watch the Library & Learning Commons’ Facebook page for our final vote. PBS will announce the nationwide winner on Tuesday, Oct 23rd.

To see the entire 100 Books list, learn more about this event, and vote for your personal favorites (you can vote once a day!) visit the PBS site. You can vote for and root for your favorite books on your social media accounts with their book hashtags list!

…So, how many of America’s favorite books have you read? Let us know!

Download a printable Checklist. 

The Great American Reads airs Tuesdays on PBS @7pm.

Thanks for participating!


Fall Election Political Display

In the Marketplace: Politics on Display

by Maura O’Neill & Margaret Mary Makowski, Library Circulation

fall 2016 marketplace political resources display

Courtesy of library work study students Margaret Makowski (left) and Maura O’Neill (right).

The 2016 presidential campaign has been rife with controversy, as both candidates have been the subject and cause of intense vitriol from all ends of the political spectrum. Donald Trump, a businessman and ex-reality TV star turned strongly opinionated politician, and Hillary Clinton, a controversial yet historic woman candidate with a background in politics, have been clashing on nearly every key issue this election. When two candidates have opinions that are such polar opposites, it can be difficult for impartial voters to decide where they stand on certain issues and which candidate they support. To make this decision easier, we created a display of politically themed books, CDs, and DVDs that will give unsure voters the tools they need to make an informed decision this November.


The first category will give readers a general background in American politics, with books such as Primary Politics by Elaine C. Kamarck that describe how the U.S election system actually works. Once you’ve got a decent background in politics, you can begin to understand some of our nation’s past presidents and elections by reading historical political books such as Franklin D. Roosevelt: The War Years 1939-1945 by Roger Daniels and The Stronghold by Thomas F. Schaller.

After reading about political history, you can move on to learning about some of the struggles for human rights that have been an integral part of our nation’s history. Books such as Give Us the Ballot by Ari Berman, Forcing the Spring by Jo Becker, and After Roe by Mary Ziegler will give you insight into a wide array of human rights struggles.

Next, you can read books like Controlling the Message by Victoria A. Farrar-Myers and Justin S. Vaughn to learn how the media influences political elections, and you can read books like Prop Art by Gary Yanker to understand what messages political art is able to convey.

One of the biggest issues in recent U.S. politics has been health care reform; you can read books such as Health Care Policy and Practice by Cynthia Moniz and Stephen Gorin to get informed on this topic.

If you’re reading this blog as a student or faculty member, you are probably interested in the topic of education. Check out Degrees of Inequality by Suzanne Mettler about the political and economic factors that influence the education system.

Another one of the biggest issues this election has been immigration and racism. A Nation of Nations by Tom Gjelten and The Criminalization of Immigration by Samantha Hauptman explain immigration and its controversies, while race issues in America are explored in Who We Be by Jeff Chang. Intertwined with racial issues is the debate on America’s prison system and the mass incarceration of minorities in private prisons, which is explored in books like A Country Called Prison by Mary D. Looman and John D. Carl.

With the rise of terrorist groups like ISIS, religion has been an issue at the forefront of this election. You can read American Islam by Paul M. Barrett, Beyond Religious Freedom by Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, and other books to learn more about religious issues in America. The debate about religion has been catalyzed by increasing global violence. We chose books like What Changed When Everything Changed by Joseph Margulies and Citizen-Protectors by Jennifer Carlson to help readers explore violence, war, and gun control.

Another major issue in contemporary politics is our treatment of the environment, which is described in books such as Corporate America and Environmental Policy by Sheldon Kamieniecki.

Now that you’ve read up on politics, history, and the major issues the candidates are debating, you can finally begin to research the candidates themselves. Read up on both Trump and Hillary with The Art of the Deal by the Donald himself, A Woman in Charge by Carl Bernstein, and other books in the display.

Once you learn who the candidates are, you can follow their progress and opinions using some of the electronic resources listed below, which will give you up to date information on the 2016 presidential election.

so, what essential election reading would you recommend? visit us on facebook and LET US KNOW!

Rescued Books & Book Sale Treasures

by Annette Fisher, Information Literacy Librarian

Think for a moment:

What book(s) would I take with me if I only had five minutes to evacuate my surroundings or home?

Nicolas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie

Nicolas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie

On June 23, 1972, I made that decision when the Susquehanna River decided to make landfall in my house.  As the dirty water lapped the steps, all I could do was think and grab.  During those frantic moments of getting 9 people into an old red station wagon, I just knew I had to grab the latest book I took from the Wyoming Free Library, Nicholas and Alexandra, the massive tome by Robert K. Massie. I let my parents worry about grabbing the 18-month old and the 3-year old; I couldn’t get an overdue fine at the library—that would be mortifying!

After all, becoming a librarian was on my short list of college majors. Obeying the borrowing policy, I did return the Massie book one dry day. The librarian was surprised the book made its way home, something about the staff thinking the book went with the flood waters along with refrigerators and dryers.  So, I lost all my earthly possessions to the Agnes Flood but I would not surrender the Romanovs to Agnes.


The Prophet by Kahlil Gabrin

The Prophet by Kahlil Gabrin

44 years later I ask myself the same question.  Definitely not Nicholas and Alexandra (although I spied a copy at the book sale).  I don’t own that book and it would be bad karma.  My choice(s) now would be Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.  For sentimental reasons I would grab my children’s “Write and illustrate your Own Book” books –these treasures aren’t found on Amazon—they are upstairs in the bookcase near the ski boots.

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke


Now, let’s hear your 5 minutes to flee, disaster-scenario book picks…

And…did you find any treasures at the Learning Commons Book Sale?

Gao Ranhui - Misty Mountains

The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Review by Sue Jenkins, Clinical Assistant Professor of Art, Marywood University

The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Paperback: 237 pages
Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam;
2nd Edition (March 4, 2002)
Language: English ISBN-10: 1585421464
ISBN-13: 978-1585421466
Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.4 x 0.7 inches

The first time I heard about The Artist’s Way was through a friend who was in the early planning stages of starting a new business. She described the book to me as “this amazing workbook” that helps you “find your creativity.” About a week later, another friend, an actor, said she was thinking about reading The Artist’s Way, as she had an idea for a screenplay but was feeling too stuck to write it and had heard the book might be helpful. Strangely—unless it was synchronicity at work, as The Artist’s Way calls it, or maybe coincidence, luck, or answered prayers—the book came up in conversation several more times with different people over the next few months. Clearly, the book was on my radar for a reason. Then, the holidays came and a friend gave me a copy of the book for Christmas.

The Artist’s Way bills itself as a 12-week self-study guide that helps readers uncover/rediscover their creativity. The author, Julia Cameron, is a playwright, poet, and writer, who originally wrote the book as a way to document the lessons, tools, and courses of actions she discovered that helped her unblock her own creativity and stay unstuck while she pursued her passions. The book has a down-to-earth style and the writing is refreshingly frank. Reading feels more like talking to a good friend than anything else.

One of the first things the book asks readers to do is to make a commitment to the 12 weeks. Not just the casual thought-promise, but an actual written contract that you make with yourself and then sign. Readers willing to sign often have a better chance of completing the book, but nothing in the book including the contract is a requirement. Everything is a suggestion, and it is up to you whether you choose to take them. For instance, one of the tasks you agree to participate in for the duration of the course is what Cameron calls “morning pages.” These consist of three pages written in long hand on paper, not typed into the computer, to help you get the junk out of your head and clear a path for your creativity to flow. You are also asked to treat yourself to a weekly “artist’s date” where you go, by yourself, on an adventure of some kind, to help you fill your “creative well” which you can draw from later. Another important task is reading a chapter each week and answering, as honestly as you can, a series of questions designed to help you discover your beliefs about important issues in each chapter like safety, identity, power, integrity, possibility, and abundance.

As for my own experience, I learned quite a bit about myself after reading The Artist’s Way. Not only did the readings, weekly questions, morning pages, and artist dates provide me with a better understanding of who I was and what my dreams were, but I also discovered that I had everything I needed (including courage) to pursue to my goals.

The Artist’s Way can be read by individuals or by groups. At the back of the book, Cameron talks about Creative Clusters* comprised of several individuals who gather to support each other while working through the book. There would be no official leaders but there could be facilitators who also participate. She hoped these groups would sprout up all over the country and across the world, and they did. Each cluster would be a group effort, membership would be free, and anyone could join. Cameron’s only caveat was that when people met each week, they would agree to assemble into groups of four members to discuss their experiences. Making a commitment to a group also helps make the members accountable to the duration of the course, so they are less likely to drop out, which often happens when people work through the book alone.

Today I can happily say that I’ve worked through The Artist’s Way six separate times, four times alone and twice with a group, and each time I discover something new. In fact, I’m a huge advocate for the book and tell all my students about it at the start of each new semester. Of course, no book is perfect, and I do have some criticisms about the writing and the process. For example, to do the book thoroughly, one must make a time commitment of roughly thirty minutes per day for writing, an hour a week for reading, plus another hour or two per week for artist dates. Those who don’t have the time to do it all simply won’t get as much out of the book. Even so, I wish there was some kind of note to the reader that they can, and should, still complete the course even if they fall short of doing all the recommended tasks along the way. Too many people tend to drop out for fear that they should only do it if they can do it perfectly. In my view, some is always better than none. Another thing I find curious is that the author calls the writing exercises “morning pages” as if the time of day is critical to the success of this technique. In my experience, doing the writing daily, regardless of the time of day, is what is most important.

Simply put, The Artist’s Way is perfect for anyone who wants to live a more creativity-filled life. This includes designers, painters, sculptors, jewelers, illustrators, printmakers, ceramicists, photographers, crafters, art therapists, teachers, parents, writers, musicians, singers, chefs, bakers, carpenters, athletes, architects, mathematicians, philosophers, historians, scientists, and everyone else who wants to engage their creativity in a more meaningful way.

To get started on your creativity journey, pick up a used copy of this book in paperback for about $10 from To learn more about The Artist’s Way, check out Julia Cameron’s website at

*If you are interested in joining an Artist’s Way Creative Cluster on campus at Marywood, please contact Sue Jenkins at

FEATURED IMAGE : Gao Ranhui – Misty Mountains – Walters

Graphic Artists Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines

Review by Sue Jenkins, Clinical Assistant Professor of Art, Marywood University

Graphic Artists Guild Pricing & Ethical Guidelines

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Graphic Artists Guild; 14th Edition (September 30, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0932102166
ISBN-13: 978-0932102164
Size: 10.8 x 8.4 x 1.2 inches

One of the first things I did when I started working professionally as a graphic designer was join the Graphic Artists Guild and get a copy of their Handbook on Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. Warmly dubbed “the PEGs” by many Guild Members, this book is a lifesaver for anyone who plans to freelance, open their own design studio, or build up their existing business. Inside you will find tons of useful facts to help you setup your business and start working with clients.

The Graphic Artists Guild ( is a non-profit advocate, community, and organization dedicated to aiding its members in achieving their professional goals, and ensuring fair pay, suitable working conditions, and copyright protection. Annual membership dues for full-time students carrying 12 credit hours or more are just $75, while the dues for Standard Associate and Professional members are $170 and $200 respectively. All memberships include:

  • a free copy of the PEGs, valued at $25.00
  • a subscription to Guild News, the Guild’s bimonthly newsletter
  • access to free webinars, valued at $45 each
  • professional discounts on art supplies, rental cars, and trade magazine subscriptions
  • free space to post sample images and a web link on the Guild’s Member Portfolio page
  • access to companies offering reasonably priced insurance plans to artists and freelancers
  • advocacy as well as support via the Grievance Committee
  • teleclasses and other opportunities for professional development, networking, and events

The Handbook on Pricing and Ethical Guidelines was first published in 1973 and is currently in its 14th edition. Chapters include job descriptions and salary information, pricing guides for buyers and sellers, business forms and model contracts, details about licensing and royalties, an extensive glossary of industry terms, and facts on copyright, trademarks, and fair business practices. You will also find sections on professional and technology issues as well as details on trade customs for graphic designers, illustrators, web designers, digital graphic artists, cartoonists, animators, and surface designers.

If you are currently studying to become a professional graphic designer, web designer, illustrator, animator, or graphic artist, I highly recommend becoming a member of the Graphic Artists Guild, which comes with a free copy of the book. If you cannot afford membership, consider buying a new or used copy of the PEGs (used books can be found for around $20 from most retailers including so that you have all the facts you need to get your career off the ground and take it to the next level.

Marywood Bibliophiles: Show Your Shelf!

Ahem. Hello! You there, under that pile of books. 

Do you:

  • Keep an office or dorm room “library” or personal book collection?
  • Have your own organization system?
  • Have an epic collection on a particular subject that is the envy of your peers?
  • Or, maybe you keep a few treasured companions on an esteemed shelf for inspiration that no one is allowed to touch, especially your roommate or significant other?

Is this your office, apartment, or dorm room?

Is this your office, apartment, or dorm room?

We suspect there are many of you that do–and we’d love to hear about what takes up space on YOUR shelves.

“Sharing your shelf is sharing yourself – showcasing the building blocks that have crafted your knowledge, personality, and identity.”

-Peter Knox. The Guardian, “What Does Your Bookshelf Say About You?”

The Learning Commons Blog is scoping out Marywood’s faculty and student libraries to share and celebrate on the blog. We’re exploring the questions:

What does your library say about you? Is it descriptive or  aspirational? Is it the library of a former self, an alter-ego or autobiographical? What insights would it provide a stranger about you? What % have you read? How do you organize and collect books? And more!

Submit a photograph or a manifesto of your collection to: with the subject: “Show My Shelf!” We’ll contact you with a few questions and highlight it on our blog!

If your library is notorious, we might come knocking anyway. 

Instagram: #marywoodlearningcommons #showyourshelf

Say a little, say a lot–or let your shelves speak for themselves!