May 17, 2022

At Arizona State University Library “Students Curate Collections that Inspire, Reveal”

From the ASU Library:

The book collections of two students at Arizona State University are currently featured at Noble Library, as part of an open stack community curation project called Required Reading.

ASU Library selected freshman Rachel Hagerman and sophomore Emerald Peist through a process in which students submitted essays describing more than a dozen books that are truly meaningful to them and may serve as either inspiration to or a challenge for their fellow students.


Among the 18 books Peist chose as having most influenced her personal development, more than half are novels examining social change that were penned and published in the 20th century – with the exception of “I Am Malala,” a 2013 memoir by the world’s youngest Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai.


With a collection strong in science fiction (Bradbury, Orwell, Huxley and Shelley), Hagerman wonders aloud, through the act of curation, about the significance of art, knowledge and one’s relationship to the world and with others in a society largely driven by progress.

Other selections from Hagerman, such as “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” explore the beauty and pain of ordinary human existence.


If books have the power to change minds and lives, then the ways in which we approach, select and share them matter greatly,” says Associate University Librarian for Collections and Strategy Lorrie McAllister.

At ASU Library, we are adopting new strategies when it comes to curating our print collections,” said McAllister. “Our overall goal is to build active, living, growing, inclusive collections that inspire, educate and foster inquiry for our ASU constituents and the surrounding community. One approach is to co-develop book stacks with students, such as this Required Reading project. It’s an opportunity for students to voice their interests, share meaningful works with others and help to build the Library’s collections for future Sun Devils.”

McAllister’s work in this area contributes to a three-year project aimed at reinventing ASU Library’s strategy and practice for open stack print collections, which was recently awarded a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Jim O’Donnell, University Librarian, adds, “Because ASU Library holds over 4 million books, we are experimenting with ways to develop ‘human scale’ book stacks and find moments to engage students, faculty and our communities with great works of literature, trusted disciplinary resources, reference materials and books read just for fun. We hope that these students’ selected books will catch the attention of passersby to ignite their own meaningful interactions with these works.”

Read the Complete Article

See Also: White Paper From Arizona St. University Libraries: “The Future of the Academic Library Print Collection: A Space for Engagement” (November 6, 2017)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.