Reviving the shelfie

By Nancy Chick

A colleague recently sent me this query as she builds her professional library: “if you were to choose 13 essential titles [in the scholarship of teaching and learning], what would they be?” These kinds of requests are the stuff of dreams. Just over three years ago, I wrote “Shelfies: The Bibliophiles Selfie,” a blog post about the campaign to promote an alternative kind of “selfie”— just selected as the word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries— and included examples from friends, students, and colleagues. I think it’s time to revive that campaign.

The challenge is deciding which bookshelf to feature: my shelves of American literature, or literary studies, or gender studies, or Nordic crime novels, or Toni Morrison, or research on student learning, or cookbooks, or another. How on earth does a bibliophile choose one shelf? For inspiration, I flipped through my well-worn copy of My Ideal Bookshelf, a collection of drawings and brief descriptions of “the books that have made you who you are” (La Force, 2012, p. xiii) from the likes of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Judd Apatow, Rosanne Cash, Michael Chabon, Junot Diaz, Mira Nair, Ishmael Reed, and 93 others. My colleague made it easy for me in her specific request for essential books in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). Without further ado, here’s my current shelf of essential titles in SoTL.

My next task is to choose 13 from these 49. Oh dear.

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