Section: Features

English department’s Book Swap fosters literary community

English department’s Book Swap fosters literary community

MAYA SHERLICK

Goodreads members rejoice! On Thursday, Oct. 12, the English Student Advisory Board made its debut at Lentz Hall with the first Book Swap of the school year. The instructions were simple: bring a book, take a book. Participants exchanged some of their most beloved titles and were encouraged to leave notes for their book’s next reader. To quote the event’s promotional email, it’s “circular fashion, but make it literary.”  

The Book Swap is part of a larger literary effort by the English Student Advisory Board to plan more English-themed events on campus. Spearheaded this past month by Associate Professor of English Pashmina Murthy, the board’s goal is to facilitate collaboration between students and the English department. Right now, the board is composed of six students from each class year who work together to plan events based on what interests English students on campus. 

The Book Swap worked to provide a sense of connection and literacy, which are key to the board’s mission of community involvement. “The Swap was just a new way to engage with literature, held in the spirit of fun,” student and board member Sophia Boyd ’26 wrote in an email to the Collegian. The result was an array of books donated by students and faculty alike, including many from Murthy’s own library, allowing readers to jumpstart their fall libraries. Student and board member Caeleigh Stamper ’26 described the titles as “a good mix of classics and recent popular fiction, so I think everyone could find something that appealed to them.” Participants were especially excited to see Virginia Woolf on the shelves. “I’m glad that there are likely other Woolf fans[…]on campus,” Boyd wrote. “It instilled in me a sense of community, camaraderie and sanity.” 

Those who missed the swap need not worry: The board intends to organize another Book Swap in the near future, which will be advertised through all-student emails. Other events — including read-a-thons, student readings and mixers with English majors, minors and faculty — will also be announced via the board’s Instagram, @kenyon_englishboard. In the meantime, stay well-read, and stay tuned. 

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