Penn State

Courtney L. Young - associate librarian and associate professor of women's studies, Penn State Beaver

Book Title: Mules and Dragons: Popular Culture Images in the Selected Writings of African-American and Chinese-American Women Writers

Author: Mary E. Young

Book Description:

This book on many levels represents my path to academic librarianship. As soon as I could read I fell in love. My parents constantly read for both scholarly pursuits and pleasure. They would indulge my curiosity for reading and information by reading and discussing with me historical events and ideologies related to those grown-up books. As I got older, I went from a passive listener to an active learner. My mother, while completing her dissertation in American Studies at St. Louis University, capitalized on my interest and frequently took me to both the university and public library to do research. In these libraries I learned the tricks of the trade, searching magazines and newspapers on microfilm and microfiche or identifying books using the text-based online catalog. When it was time for me to get my first job as a teenager, my mother took me to St. Louis Public Library where I was employed as a shelver. This allowed her to spend even more time in her favorite place, the library. As an undergraduate I worked at my college library, during which time I decided after graduation to pursue a master's degree in library science and become an academic librarian.

Mules and Dragons, both in dissertation and book form, was my hands-on introduction to the concepts of primary and secondary sources. I learned the importance of developing a research strategy. I gained an understanding of the concept and importance of interdisciplinary research. Black studies and women's studies became the center of my scholarship, and I brought it to those for whom it was at the margins. I developed a passion for intellectual curiosity and academia. I learned not only to think, but to think independently and ask questions. Most importantly, I forged a scholarly bond with my mother. Dr. Mary E. Young loved research, writing, and libraries. It is with pride that on the event of my tenure and promotion I select her book that she dedicated to me.


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