Started a couple of decades ago to support an assignment in Madison College’s College Reading Strategies class, the Madison College Libraries Wisconsin Author Collection has now surpassed a thousand titles and is one of the finest collection of books written by Wisconsinites you’ll find in any library.
The collection contains both fiction and non-fiction titles, covering a wide variety of topics. The authors come from diverse backgrounds, ages, and Wisconsin locations.
The growth of the Wisconsin Author Collection in recent years has been helped substantially from a financial gift made possible by the Longbrake Family Foundation in memory of Dr. J Robert Curtis. Curtis was a longtime veterinarian in the Portage area who passed away in 2012 at the age of 97. One of his passions in life was reading, and he dedicated much of his life to improving libraries throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Some of the recent books in the collection showcase the strength of the diversity’s collection.
“Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke” by Andrew Maraniss, about the first openly gay major league baseball player who was also credited with inventing the idea of the high five.
“Somos Latinas: Voices of Wisconsin Latina Activists” by Andrea Teresa Arenas and Eloisa Gomez features 25 Wisconsin Latina activists of change. “Make Way for Liberty: Wisconsin African Americans in the Civil War” by Jeff Kannel highlights stories of those that served that were previously unknown.
“Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement” by Monica White offers the history of renowned activist Fannie Lou Hamer who in 1967 created a farm cooperative for African Americans in the Mississippi Delta.
While many of the books cover heavy themes, there are plenty of lighter titles in the collection as well, including mysteries, horror, celebrity biographies, and more. If you were a fan of the Milwaukee Bucks winning the NBA championship this last year, you might want to check out “From Coin Toss to Championship” by Rick Schabowski, a history of the Bucks first NBA championship back in 1971.
The Wisconsin Book Festival takes place this year from October 21-24. As in past years, many of the books featured at the festival end up in our Wisconsin Author Collection. Among some of the books and authors featured this year that you’ll find in our collection shortly include Ordinary girls by Jaquira Diaz, Shape by Jordan Ellenberg, Godspeed by Nickolas Butler, and Shoulder season by Christina Clancy.
]To find out more about the Wisconsin Author Collection and to do a tailored search of it, check out our library guide at https://libguides.madisoncollege.edu/collegereading.
It’s a great collection, and while it’s intended to support the students that take College Reading Strategies at Madison College, it’s open to anyone to check out. Take advantage!