Outside of the University College Advisement Center lives a little bookshelf that houses anything from novels to picture books to textbooks to grad school entry exam practice books.
This shelf, known as Nancy’s Lending Library, is meant for everyone’s enjoyment, according to Nancy Diodati-Miller, the woman who created it.
“I decided to start the Lending Library, because a lot of the books that I have at home are books that are left over from when I was an undergrad,” Diodati-Miller said. “I thought that maybe some of those books are still being used in some of the classes and possibly some of the students can use them.”
She wants students to know the University’s Advisement Center cares about their success, and that’s why she thinks having opportunities to use free books is important, Diodati-Miller said.
“It’s not all about just taking students’ money, taking their tuition and taking, taking, taking from them — it’s that we want to help them, that we want them to be successful, and sometimes a book makes a big difference,” she said. “It’s like, ‘Okay, I’ve got the help to pay for my class, but now how am I going to get my books?’ The Lottery doesn’t go as far as it used to anymore, so every penny counts nowadays.”
When it comes to the variety of novels and self-help books also available, “sometimes it’s about giving your mind a break from the textbooks too and reading something else and getting off your phone,” Diodati-Miller said.
The original idea for Nancy’s Lending Library involved a little bit more of a borrow-and-bring-back process, as the title suggests, Diodati-Miller said. But since then, the Lending Library has become more of an exchange, she said.
“What’s been happening is that somebody takes one book, and they bring back a book that they don’t want and then somebody else wants that book,” Diodati-Miller said. “So they haven’t necessarily been bringing back the same book, but different books.”
The shelf has been popular with the faculty and staff as well, she said. Connie Jefferson, a unit administrator at the Advisement Center, is one of such participants.
“When Nancy shared her idea with me, I told her how much I liked her plan,” Jefferson said, adding that Diodati-Miller allowed her to add some magazines to the Lending Library.
“I really like the community that’s evolved from (the Lending Library),” Diodati-Miller said. “I like the way the students will take the books, but then other people come and bring more, and it’s this constant flow and exchange of books. I think that’s my favorite part. I can see the shelf changing.”
Next to the bookshelf, there is a sitting area where people wait for advisement appointments and read. Diodati-Miller has noticed that waiting students sometimes bring their small children, which she sees as a great opportunity for children to read more, she said.
The Lending Library is primarily geared toward an adult audience, but Diodati-Miller said she is hopeful “people will think about some of the kids that come in. Maybe if they were sitting there reading a book, it wouldn’t be so boring for them to wait. A couple times, people have left a few little picture books for children, but they just haven’t lasted very long. A free book for a kid? Boy, that’s a treat.”
The bookshelf has lately been so full that nothing else fits, and Diodati-Miller is currently on the lookout for another bookshelf to add to the Lending Library, she said.
Those interested in donating books or a bookshelf to the Lending Library can stop by the University Advisement and Enrichment Center. The bookshelf is next to the University College Advisement Center on the first floor.
Ariel Lutnesky is a culture reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @ArielLutnesky.