Page Turning Events and the Life of TC Books

| November 30, 2016

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

-Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut

From the Services desk, circulating books reflect course curriculum, patron inquiries mirror educational research, and the book drop holds charming lost causes of leisure reading. It has been a bustling semester for students at Teachers College, and it has been an exciting time to meet the new cohort of future educators from the library’s view of the world. Among the various resources available at the Teachers College, our Reserves section is a site for the most prominent reads in nonfiction education literature. Books gain a little bit of life, history, and personality as they pass from patron hand to patron hand, and they certainly swell in meaning when their authors come to the college to speak on their behalf. September was a particularly expressive month for some of the most esteemed education philosophers, whom we were able to meet beyond their textual existence in our library collection.

The Teacher as Activist series invited Lisa Delpit, author of one of our most frequently circulated Reserve books, Other People’s Children, and Teachers College’s own Christopher Emdin. Emdin is an Associate Professor of Science and Technology at Teachers College, and author of For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood. Delpit’s work has had resounding influence with other educational literatures on our shelves, and Chris Emdin has been the prominent voice on teaching hip-hop education in the classroom.

This recorded discussion was a manifold of performers and commentary from education activists. The conversation opened with two musical acts from The Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S., and poet Clifton Johnson. The highly acclaimed Lisa Delpit and charismatic Emdin fell seamlessly into dialogue based on their experiences navigating fundamental issues in education. One of the most inspiring points that Emdin made was that young students in the public school system are not receiving early affirmation of their intelligence; something fundamental to the life-long success of a developing student. The two posed questions about the quality of pedagogy in schools and the impact that refocusing the core of teaching would have on school efficacy. 

Additionally, September hosted a book talk with Ansley Erickson, Assistant Professor of History and Education and Columbia University affiliated faculty member at the Institute for Urban and Minority Education. She is the author of Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits, a history of desegregation in Nashville, Tennessee, recently published in 2016. Her presentation outlined the insidious nature of inequalities in educational structures that have historically manifested in and are continuing to perpetuate through the metropolis. Her panel of respondents included Carla Shedd, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Columbia, Jeanne Theoharis, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, and Jose Vilson, Eighth Grade Math Teacher and author of This is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education. This conversation extended into the state of education in New York City, shed light on higher education concerns shared by Professors Shedd and Theoharis, and was rounded out by Vilson’s experiences from the classroom. This panel of speakers made up an informative and robust book talk that concluded with ideas for proaction.

As the Fall term comes to an end, I hope old and new students can find the time to enjoy some of these inspirational and distinguished events. It can be a challenge to take a break and float up for air when you are inundated in research. It is crucial to be reinvigorated by the reminder that you are a member of a thriving community of impassioned educators doing similar work.

Happy Holidays, TC!