Library Staff Picks

Our Library has just created a new “Staff Picks” section, where our staff’s favorite books are wrapped in yellow covers each with their recommendation reasons. Come check out these books and you might find a kindred spirit!

Our librarian Jennifer Anne Wood Stubbs talks about coming up with book recommendations in this short interview.

Library: As a librarian, you must have been frequently asked to recommend books to others.

Jennifer: Yes. And do you know what question a librarian dreads most? I don’t either, but personally, I find this one the hardest to answer: “What’s a good book? I just want something different.”



: That’s a tricky question, isn’t it?

J: Indeed. But please don’t get me wrong, I love working on answering this question. It will be a fascinating conversation about what you read recently, what you are looking for, what you are hoping to avoid, how much time you have, etc.

Libraries are all about conversations. I was raised to never interrupt a person reading because it is tantamount to interrupting two people in close conversation. You are reading what the author thought and said on paper. Hopefully, your brain is questioning and composing responses. But I digress. This interview is about the library staffs’ favorite books in Shanghai.


L: I really like your idea of reading as having a conversation. So in recommending these books, you are also inviting others to such a conversation, right?

J: Yes. When rushed, I will turn to my favorite books. So, I asked my coworkers in the library. Each book has a sleeve explaining why s/he hopes you will read the same book.

Some books will help you in your major. Some books will help you discover who you are and what matters to you. Some books are soul-soothers, a balm in the midst of a crazy semester. My favorite doesn’t have to become your favorite. Books can be mirrors and windows. Some will help you see who you are inside (or out). Some will show you the behind-the-scenes all-access experience of a world completely new to you.  

L: It would be amazing to find a kindred soul who loves the same book.

J: Definitely, So if you check out a yellow-wrapped book, I hope you’ll write about it, perhaps in a comment below, or in a note folded into the book, or email the library. You can draw or write about what you didn’t like or what you did, or what the book made you think about.

Come see our “Staff Picks” section today, and feel free to talk to us about any of these books!