Each fall, as the Library prepares to host its annual scavenger hunt, we come out with a new delightfully ambiguous promotional button. To get students into the spirit of the event, the image for each has traditionally been one that is as much of a riddle as the clues themselves: a sleuthing sandpiper, a segmented snake, and so on. This year is no different. But for those of you who would prefer saving your mental energy for game day, here is a brief explanation of this year’s button theme.
In preparation for Banned Books Week, which just concluded, staff read some of their favorite banned books to show their support for the annual event. I chose my favorite banned title, The Catcher in the Rye. When I came to main character Holden’s explanation of the title, I was able to empathize with his dream of aspiring to be a protector of sorts. To him, it was the protector of innocence. For me, and for many of us here in the Library, it is the protector of information literacy.
In Holden’s vision of his ideal role, he guards the edge of a field of rye, where just beyond lies a treacherous cliff. Children innocently run through the field, unaware of the danger that awaits. He catches any who attempt to venture too far. In the Library, we spot those students struggling to find information they seek, and we serve to catch and redirect them when their aimless internet searches lead them to Wikipedia or Google as opposed to a peer reviewed journal in one of our valuable databases. Without a knowledgeable hand to guide them, students today might easily be lost in the sea of not-so-credible information that is easily accessed on the Web. Their innocence of the differences that set these sources apart is understandable. Information Literacy needs to be taught the same as any other skill. Fortunately, their campus has a great library filled with many experts in the field who are looking out for them and making sure they know all they need to know about research, citations, and credible sources.
The Central Park carousel is where we learn this revelation of Holden’s. A picture of a carousel horse adorns the book cover. A similar horse now also symbolizes this year’s scavenger hunt and is depicted on the complimentary buttons found at the Reference Desk in the Central Reading Room.
The scavenger hunt scheduled for October 22nd is a fun, casual introduction to the Library’s branches and services. Participants will solve a series of clues that lead them to a variety of important locations and require them to locate books, a DVD, CD, and other useful resources. There will be prizes for the winning team and for the runners up as our way of saying thank you for taking part in the event. Visit the official site to learn more. Pre-registration is required.
“. . . I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.”
-J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye