Summer Reads (and Advice) from Learning Commons Librarians

students reading in the learning commons
Rebecca A. Eckland

Even though the spring semester is behind us and the long days of summer might be calling you to go outside, TMCC’s Learning Commons Librarians want to remind you that summer can also be a great time to catch up on books and other materials that aren’t necessarily required reading for classes in your certificate or degree program.

No matter your focus or ideal profession, a good book can be an easy—and cost-effective way—to take some much-needed time for yourself, to learn something new or even as a way to travel to a time and place that would otherwise be beyond your reach. 

So whether you’re taking classes or taking a break, the following resources, tips and suggestions can keep you reading—and studying—through the summer months. 

Summer Reads

Nothing quite says “summer” like taking a good book to the beach or to your favorite coffee shop or hangout. If it seems like there are too many good books out there to pick from, Learning Commons Librarian John Fitzsimmons has two suggestions for readers who are especially interested in discovering more about history. 

His first suggestion is China: 1949 Year of Revolution by author Graham Hutchings.  Published last year and featured in The Economist magazine “Books & Arts” Section.

“Hutchings describes in vivid detail the events that lead to the final collapse of the Republic of China under Chiang Kai-shek and Communist victory. Hutchings quotes many contemporary accounts of the events and really brings them to life. The tale of the struggles of both sides is fascinating,” he said. 

Fitzsimmons’s other recommendation is one he heard about recently in the news. “Zero Fail: the Rise and Fall of the Secret Service by Carol Leonnig tells the story of the Secret Service, with an interesting analysis of little-known and forgotten scandals plus notable successes of the past 60 years,” he said.

Fitzsimmons’ suggestions will have you traveling to times past and places far, and are sure to broaden your perspectives on history and culture.

Discover Your Own History

Did you know TMCC has a Genealogy Lab? If you’ve ever been curious about learning more about your history, this incredible resource offers you many resources and hands-on support to do exactly that. Learning Commons Librarian Suzanne Malek is our local genealogy expert. In addition to asking for her help on how to discover “the history of you,” she also offers one of her favorite selections from the Genealogy Library. 

A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors: How to find and record your unique heritage by Franklin Carter Smith. As noted by the publisher, “Tracing your African-American ancestry can be challenging. This guide helps overcome the obstacles and pitfalls of specialized research by offering a proven, three-part approach.”  If you're curious about your African-American lineage, this selection comes just in time for Juneteenth.

However, the Learning Commons’ Genealogy collection offers many books just like this one that can help you get to the bottom of your unique ancestry no matter the ethnicity, culture, county or country from which your family comes.

Learn Something New

If you are interested in health, your own or someone else's, or have a particular interest in diseases, Learning Commons Librarian Sherry McGee offers this suggestion as a one-stop-shop for learning all you need to know about pharmaceuticals, tests, and surgical procedures. 

The Medicine-Plus database was developed by the National Library of Medicine for the general public, and offers pre-and post-op recommendations, videos of specific surgical procedures, and also offers this content in multiple languages,” she said.  Additionally, the database is also a great source of information for your day-to-day health and wellness questions. 

If You Need Support

If you are taking classes this summer to keep on track with your academic goals, you’ll be happy to know that the Tutoring and Learning Center is offering in-person and online tutoring for both summer sessions.  Tutoring is an effective and efficient way to increase your comprehension of an academic subject (and your grade), and for TMCC students, it’s absolutely free.  All it takes is an email to schedule an appointment.

For more information about TMCC’s Learning Commons, contact the Circulation Desk at 775-674-7600.