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Common Book

Posted By Christina Steffy, Director, PA College of Health Sciences, 7179476142,, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Library Type


Cost and Funding

$0-$1,000. Free for the library unless you decide to purchase some copies of the book, host speakers with fees, or want to provide food and drinks at any events. For the inaugural year, we have spent less than $500 and will have a budget of $1,000 for future years as we decide what events to host. This is a campus wide initiative, though, so our Learning Commons is able to tie this to other events on campus with other departments covering the expenses.


2017 is the College’s inaugural common book program. The purpose of a Common Book is to build bridges between experiences we share no matter what our field of scholarship or course of study. Those interested in participating will all read the same book and engage in meaningful dialogue around the themes and content of that book. This program gets people reading and thinking critically about topics in health care and, through discussion, helps people verbalize their thoughts to become more effective communicators. Various programs and events related to the common book’s themes take place on campus. We encourage people to read the entire book prior to engaging in any of the discussions that take place on campus. The chosen book is announced in May so students, faculty, and staff have time to read the book over the summer and can come to campus in the fall ready to discuss. Because we have people starting in the spring semester, too, students who are accepted in the fall are made aware of the book so they have time to read it prior to any spring events. Alumni are also made aware of the book so they can participate in a student/alumni discussion during the College’s homecoming. Scheduled discussions and events are advertised so people know when and where they will occur. Some classes are integrating the common book into their work and have assignments related to the book as well. Books are selected with a small volunteer committee representative of a variety of faculty disciplines across campus. The book must be related in some way to the National Library of Medicine exhibit the Learning Commons is hosting that year, it must be relatively new, and we try to keep the cost as low as possible (under $25) so the book is affordable if our students choose to buy it. Participants can acquire the book via our school’s bookstore or through any other outlet they choose, including libraries, and they are given all of the information they need to purchase the book. We also have a limited number of copies available for circulation in the Learning Commons. Key stakeholders in the College are provided free copies of the book to encourage more people to participate; these copies are able to be obtained free of charge from the publisher. Departments can then decide whether to purchase books for their faculty members so the book can be integrated into courses.

Tags:  Adults  Basic 

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