Spanish Lit Class 385 in Woodruff Library


Fernando Valverde, a Visiting Instructor in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, is teaching a class using the Spanish language literature collection found on the 5th floor of Robert W. Woodruff Library.     The class spends one session each week working in the book stacks and students write weekly assignments about one of the books they find in the collection.  Professor Valverde worked with Phil MacLeod Emory’s Librarian for Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American & Caribbean Studies on the organization and logistics for the class.

Professor Valverde describes his course as “a review of the great books in the history of literature in Spanish.  It takes full advantage of the collections in Woodruff Library and the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library. Students handle and learn about the most important works in the collection, actively participating in a course that takes place within the walls of the Library.  My course has two primary goals: first, to encourage students to understand the power of the library –that it is not just a repository, but rather it is a dynamic and creative space in which authors, texts, readers and audience come together; and second, to make visible the often-invisible connections between the library collections and the Spanish-speaking world.”

Phil MacLeod, Emory’s Librarian for Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American & Caribbean Studies, said about the course. “This is the first class of its kind that I know of to be offered at Emory.  I’m so excited to see this incredible group of students actively working in the book stacks and really gaining an appreciation for this collection.  Fernando invited me to speak to a session of his class—it was a great experience being able to discuss my job and to talk about all the work that goes into developing and maintaining Emory’s Spanish language literature collection.”

The students in Professor Valverde’s course have offered enthusiastic comments about the class and Woodruff Library’s Spanish language literature collection.

Paola Correia
“As a senior in the College double majoring in Political Science and Spanish & Portuguese, I could not be more delighted to explore the greatest works in the Spanish language available on the 5th floor of Woodruff Library. Some of the best experiences in the class have been discussing the political radicalization of an author or learning more about the literary tradition of countries typically on the periphery of Spanish literature. The amazing novels, poetry and class discussion transcends the confines of the stacks and deepens my insight of the Hispanophone world.”

Brian Choi “Spanish 385 Books in the Library has given me a great opportunity to take advantage of the extensive library system we have here at Emory. From not really knowing how to navigate through the stacks, I am now competent enough to even guide others in their search of the desired book (I actually had the pleasure to help someone out just the other day), and also to walk around the stacks and discover distinguished authors within the field of Hispanic Literature. I think that this class served many as a good platform on which one could learn basic library usage etiquettes, such as not putting the books back into the stack once taken out, and become familiarized with the Library of Congress classification system. That being said, I think that the Spanish literature collection on the 5th floor is fantastic; it is not only very well-organized, but it also contains many books that are actually required for a good number of my Spanish classes. I am so grateful to say that, for this semester, I have not yet had to buy a book because I can just take them out from the collection that Phil has so carefully curated. Thank you, Phil!”  

Zach Denton “This class has allowed me to explore Emory’s libraries for the first time. As a senior, I always relied on online databases to complete my assignments, completely unaware of the significant volumes that I’ve worked beside for years. I’ve already learned about entire genres and movements and am looking forward to learning more through these bookshelves.”

Amber González“Woodruff Library in Spanish is like no other class I have taken at Emory before. I love being hands on in the library instead of a traditional classroom setting. I have learned about a wide variety of Latin American authors and books that I have never known before. I have also learned to appreciate the collection that Emory has to offer, and I feel that it is underappreciated by so many people. This class opens the doors to explore more about Spanish literature than in any other classroom. I am genuinely excited to come to class because I do not know what to expect.“

Claudia Michaels “I love this Spanish class because I love exploring all the Spanish language books that Woodruff library has to offer.  The collection is enormous and full of interesting finds, both old and new, classic and contemporary.  Professor Valverde is extremely knowledgeable about Latin American and Spanish literature and always has a story to tell about the books or authors we encounter, which makes the class all the more engaging.  I look forward to this class every week!”

Salik Naqvi “The Spanish course about books at Emory’s library has proven to be a fantastic opportunity for Emory students. Woodruff Library certainly has an impressive selection of books for Spanish students, rivaling even places like the University of Salamanca in Spain” (where Emory offers both semester & summer programs). “This course has been influential because it has shown me the importance of having hardcover books from around the world – the works I have discovered as a result have changed my attitudes about literature and impacted my interest in learning.” Without a doubt, Emory must do everything in its power to not only to preserve, but also expand the selection of these priceless books.”

Gabrielle Smithson “Professor Valverde’s course, Spanish Literature in Woodruff Library, has given us the amazing opportunity to explore the library’s collection of Spanish books. In other Spanish courses that I have taken at Emory, I’ve read the work of various famous authors.  However, until taking this course, I never realized that the library holds the original text of many of these authors.  The library has a fantastic collection of Spanish heritage books that is an extremely valuable resource. I get excited when I see an old book by an author I’ve previously studied. I love peeking into that book and flipping through the pages to see the familiar text. I’m very grateful that this course has given me the opportunity to rediscover the joy that print books bring.”


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