Elbin Library launches new Letter to the Author project this semester

West Liberty University library shelves.

Along with all the improvements our campus’s library has seen this semester, the Paul N. Elbin Library is excited to announce the launching of a new venture to add to the list of activities they’ll be offering this fall — Letter to the Author Project.

Announced on Sept. 13 in an email to all WLU students from Dr. Angela Rehbein, chair of the department of english and modern languages and associate professor of english, the Letter to the Author Project aims to have students write to the author of their favorite book, explaining how the piece affected them in some way. Explaining the effectiveness of a piece could be done “by giving them a new way of looking at the world, helping them learn something about themselves, or shedding light on diverse experiences,” as stated in Rehbein’s email, and those are just to name a few.

The letters will be judged by various faculty members of WLU’s English department, with the designated winner ultimately receiving a cash prize of $100. The winner will also have the opportunity for their letter to be preserved in the Elbin Library in the front page of the book they wrote about, “thereby allowing the winner to share their insights with future readers,” as Rehbein put it.

To get the ball rolling, the library’s staff asked the campus community to nominate some of their favorite books through a provided Google form by Friday, Sept. 17. Further details about the project have yet to be announced but will most likely be constructed around the results collected from the form provided.

Library staff member, Leah Reuschel, shared that she was excited to see the library expanding its sphere of influence and engagement across the campus; “Especially as a freshman who’s completely new to West Liberty, and as someone who just started working in the library, it’s really encouraging to see this level of outreach from our campus. I knew about the initiative a little sooner than everyone else, but I was still really excited to share some of my favorite titles with the library, like The Hobbit, The Golden Compass, and Ender’s Game, so hopefully they make the cut.”

Holly Tucker, a sophomore clinical psychology major here at West Liberty, added on to Reuschel’s comment by sharing how interesting the prospect is for being able to contribute to the library’s history. “Obviously this is the first time this project is happening, so whether they continue to do this or not, the people who participate will be remembered, especially the winner, of course. Along with that, I think there’s something really interesting about the letter being preserved within the respective book; it’s almost like a time capsule, something that students will be able to see and hopefully be influenced by for as long as the book’s available and being read,” said Tucker.

Information on the competition is still being released, but whether you sent in your favorite book titles or not, it’s always fun to share your favorite pieces, and how they left you upon finishing the last page.

For more information regarding this article, please email Creed Kidney at [email protected].

For more information about the new project or to share insight on a favorite book you’d like to see included, students are encouraged to email Stacie Groch, head of library operations, at [email protected]