On Building a Better Library

From a young age, I have loved books. Books to read, books to study, books to discuss, books to analyse; BOOKS!

Books in New Zealand are expensive. Something I could have bought for 9.99 in the States costs at least 29.99 here. As a result, I have stopped purchasing books, and started utilising the library. I have access to both the city library (where I get my leisure reading, both fiction and non), and the University library (where I get my academic and scholarly reading). Finding texts I need for my research, however, is often difficult.

Walk into a library (or book store) and you can find hundreds of books on dieting, weight loss, and the destructive nature of obesity (responsible for global warming, rising health costs, poor academic achievement of Western youth, the death of kittens, and the break up of the Beatles). What is harder to find are texts that are critical of the dominant discourse about fatness.

I’ve been thinking about what books are available at libraries, and to whom certain books are marketed within the library. What books get placed in prominent places? What books are highlighted by staff? Which ones make the end caps and the front table? I do not have the information to address these questions, nor was I able to find an extensive list of what fat friendly books my libraries carry. There is definitely not a ‘Fat Studies’ section, sitting side by side with ‘Queer Studies’, ‘Women’s Studies’ and ‘Ethnic Studies’.

***Luckily, I know a fatlicious librarian, and she has done a bit of investigating. Check out what Kath at Fat Heffalump found!

So I decided to challenge myself for the month of June.  I called it, ‘Build a Better Library’, and the challenge was to submit a request for a new Fat Studies text to my University library every day. I tracked my progress on Tumblr, and while I did not actually make a new submission every day, I did make 30 submissions in the 30 days of June.

Build a Better Library Challenge 2011