2024 Reading Challenge Update: May Winner and What You Read This Month!

Happy summer! As May turns into June, it’s time to announce the winner of the May Reading Challenge prize drawing. Congratulations to Sreeja Vepa, whose name was drawn this month! Sreeja has won a $25 digital gift card to More Than Words, a Boston-based nonprofit bookstore run by youth ages 16-24 who are involved in the court and foster care systems.

And congratulations to everyone who read a book and told us about it this month. Remember, there are still many more chances to win, so if you haven’t won yet, keep reading!

What You Read This Month

The theme for May was “a comic book or graphic novel.” Here are some of the words-with-pictures that the Northeastern community enjoyed in May:

College of book covers

Rat Queens, Volume One: Sass and Sorcery, Kurtis J. Wiebe & Roc Upchurch
Find it at Snell | Find it at F. W. Olin
“It’s a fantasy graphic novel with female lead characters, which I like, and it is funny and adventurous, too.” — Charishma

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel
Find it at Snell | Find it at F. W. Olin
“I’d been wanting to check this out ever since I read Fun Home a few years ago. Really enjoyed it!” — Jodi

Heartstopper, Volume 1, Alice Oseman
Find it at F. W. Olin | Read the e-book
“A super sweet romance between two British schoolboys. I loved the romantic artwork. I haven’t watched the show yet, but I can definitely recommend the books!” — Brooke

“This was really cute and I would have really enjoyed it when I was younger.” — Emma

Chivalry, Neil Gaiman & Colleen Doran
Read the e-book
“The lady is very British, holding on to someone else’s cultural treasure because it looks nice on the mantle.” — Anaya

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Alison Bechdel
Find it at Snell | Find it at F. W. Olin | Read the e-book
“It’s clear why this is an award-winning book! The quote ‘or maybe I’m trying to render my senseless personal [experience] meaningful by linking it…to a more coherent narrative’ seems to speak to the genres of autobiography and memoir in general and to the relationship between the form and content in graphic novels in particular.” — Melissa

Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh
Find it at Snell | Find it at F. W. Olin
“Super deep and thoughtful look into very difficult feelings.” — Michal

And What to Read Next Month

June’s theme is “a book that inspired a film or television series,” so check out your Netflix queue or your local box office for inspiration! Here are some recommendations from the library:

Red, White & Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston
Find it at Snell | Find it at F. W. Olin | Read the e-book | Listen to the audiobook
A great read for Pride Month as well as the Reading Challenge! Red, White & Royal Blue was a bestseller on its release in 2019, and the 2023 screen adaptation only bolstered that popularity. Casey McQuiston presents a classic rivals-to-lovers story between the son of the President of the United States and a British prince who, after accidentally causing a scandal, realize that they might not hate each other as much as they thought.

The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu
Find it at Snell | Find it at F. W. Olin | Listen to the audiobook
The first in Cixin Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past series, The Three-Body Problem won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel and the 2018 Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society. Now a Netflix series, the sci-fi epic has captured a new audience with its twisting, nonlinear storyline and complex characters.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, David Grann
Find it at the School of Law Library (Boston) | Find it at F. W. Olin | Listen to the audiobook
Before it was a three-hour Martin Scorsese epic, Killers of the Flower Moon was a book by David Grann. Grann worked with living members of the Osage tribe as well as historical records. The book presents a startling account of the brutal murders and subjugation of the Osage people, even as the tribe became one of the wealthiest communities in North America.

Dune, Frank Herbert
Find it at F. W. Olin | Read the e-book
Frank Herbert’s landmark 1965 science fiction epic has been given new life by Denis Villeneuve’s two-part (so far) film adaptation, but the story of a flawed hero attempting to reclaim power over a hostile planet has resonated with generations of sci-fi readers. While the size of the book may be intimidating, it’s rich with detail that didn’t make it into the film.

Need more reading recommendations? Check out our suggested e-books and audiobooks for June! If you’re in Boston, you can stop by the Snell Library lobby in person on June 17 and 18 for Reading Challenge stickers, bookmarks, comics and graphic novels to check out, and friendly librarians who love talking about books!

And when you finish your next book, make sure to tell us about it for a chance to win the May prize drawing! (For more chances to win, make sure you submit your reading to the Massachusetts Center for the Book, as well as the Northeastern University Library.)

Interlibrary Loan in the Time of COVID-19

When Snell Library shuttered its physical doors on Tuesday, March 17, staff were able to rely on robust online services and resources already utilized for our rapidly growing online programming and global campuses and communities, while also confronted with how to adapt those services that are more traditionally in-person and associated with the library as a physical place.

This is especially true in the Resource Sharing (Interlibrary Loan) department. While a sizeable portion of our services are already offered electronically, the building closure, and the closures of most of our partner institutions across the globe, has disrupted access to physical resources such as books and media, as well as the ability to scan physical items only available in print (such as chapters from older books and articles from older volumes of journals). Fortunately, the foundation of Resource Sharing is cooperative and symbiotic by nature, and the community has responded quickly and collaboratively.

Institutions across the country are halting fees associated with interlibrary loan (ILL) requests, and informal requests are being filled more efficiently via listservs. Service providers such as OCLC and Atlas Systems (WorldCat/WorldShare and ILLiad, respectively) have worked around the clock to implement new procedures to adjust due dates, adapt expectations, and simplify workflows for library staff members and patrons newly working from home. RapidILL quickly established a COVID-19 lending pod of willing member institutions; Northeastern is one of 174 participating libraries who are providing article and chapter requests to over 150 non-Rapid institutions across the world, free-of-charge. And perhaps the most promising development is the long-due approach to lending ebooks via interlibrary loan.

Like the music, film, and television industries, book publishers and providers have been slow to the idea sharing ebooks. Public libraries have had success with ebook lending using platforms like Overdrive and Hoopla, while academic libraries buy access directly from vendors such as Ebsco and ProQuest.

The main hurdles in ebook lending via ILL, however, come down to licensing and platform capability: libraries’ licensing for ebook access are typically limited to institutional affiliates and not licensed to share outside the institution. And one of ILL’s most-used management softwares, ILLiad, was not designed to handle either large file sizes, or DRM-protected content. While libraries are fierce advocates for freely sharing licensed (and purchased!) content, the owners of said content have generally offered a collective shrug or cited the potential of lost revenue.

There is no time like the present. Prior to and in response to COVID-19, both the Internet Archive and HathiTrust have been proponents of both Controlled Digital Lending and Fair Use copyright laws in the sharing of full ebooks, and consortia and institutions across the world are continuing to negotiate ILL permissions into their licensing. Through the impressive negotiating of Virginia’s Viva Consortium and OCLC’s compilation of a pilot group of lending institutions who are able to loan ebooks, however limited or specific their offerings, the Northeastern University Library has already had success borrowing full ebooks in ILL. While limited to specific institutions, through specific licensing agreements, and even down to specific books, the tide is changing as the sharing of ebooks through interlibrary loan becomes a reality.

The Resource Sharing department encourages our patrons to continue to submit any desired requests, and we will try our hardest to acquire and fulfill them. Please keep the following in mind:

  • Until the library reopens, physical loans are still prohibited. Due dates for existing ILL loans have been extended and accrued fines will be cleared. Please hold on to them until further notice.
  • Full book requests are possible, but they must exist as ebooks; this may limit access to older or rarer texts. We cannot guarantee fulfillment (and at this point, chances are low) but are willing to try and are hoping the possibilities will continue to expand.
  • We ask that you please consider the ethical implications of requesting articles and book chapters that are only available in print, and so require on-site scanning by our lending partners. We are willing to try, but appreciate your patience and willingness to wait when possible.
  • The physical processing of items (both loans and returns) will be following the guidelines currently being developed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

For more information about accessing resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our resilience page.

Please feel free to contact us at and stay safe and healthy!

Important Temporary Access to Digitized Versions of the Library’s Print Collections Available

The Northeastern University Library is a member of the HathiTrust Digital Library, a major international repository for the digital preservation of digitized versions of print library materials. Normally, there is no access to content which is still under copyright. During the current crisis, as many libraries have closed, HathiTrust took an important step and temporarily opened up copyrighted material in their digital library to member institutions with copies of those items in their physical collections. This means that any books available through HathiTrust which are also in Northeastern’s collections will be available to you while the library is closed. HathiTrust’s online collection contains approximately half of the Northeastern Library’s book collections.

We are working to add this temporary access to Scholar OneSearch. In the meantime, to take advantage of this resource:

  • Visit ​​ and click the yellow “LOG IN” button.
  • Select “Northeastern University” and log in using your NU credentials.
  • Use the site to locate the item you wish to view.
  • Click on the Temporary Access link at the bottom of the record, if present, to Check Out the item through the Emergency Temporary Access Service.
  • You will have 60 minutes of access to the book during any session. If you remain active in the book at the end of the session, access time will automatically be extended, unless someone else has requested to read the book.
  • You will not be able to download the whole book, although you can download individual pages. You are mainly able to read it online in an active session while using HathiTrust. This is to protect the author’s rights.
  • You will be able to search within the full text of the book.

If you have questions about using this temporary service, please contact

Favat Collection Name Expanded to Reflect Changing Focus

portrait of Dr. Favat

F. André Favat

In 1977, Northeastern University established an endowed fund to support the Library in the memory of F. André Favat, an associate professor of English education in the Department of Instruction. Dr. Favat had died the previous year at age 38. At the time of his death, Dr. Favat was also director of the National Council of Teachers of English and president of the Massachusetts Council of Teachers of English. The fund is designated for the purchase and preservation of books, primarily children’s literature and books on education.

Dr. Favat’s experience in curriculum development and the teaching of future educators led to the naming of the curriculum center at Northeastern as the Favat Center for Curriculum Materials and Children’s Literature.  This center moved into Snell Library when the building opened in 1990. At a time when teacher education was a popular program of study at Northeastern, the Favat collection was used primarily by student teachers as well as students in a regularly offered children’s literature course. Longtime Library staff also recall parents browsing the collection for their kids, and children from Northeastern’s Call Childcare Center being brought for visits!

However, for some time now, the collection has included a significant number of young adult (YA) titles as well as books for younger readers. As the collection became used less for teaching purposes, we observed that it was being used more by our students, faculty, and staff for recreational reading. YA literature has become extremely popular reading material for adult readers as well as teens, as any Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen fan would tell you. So, we decided to expand the collection name to the Favat Children’s & Young Adult Collection, in order to more accurately convey to our users what kind of books they might find there.

The historical children’s and young adult collection that now makes up a significant portion of the Favat Children’s & Young Adult Collection comes from the original curriculum center. The more current additions to the collection represent the best in children’s and YA literature through collection of the major American award-winning titles as well as a popular YA literature collection strong in fantasy, science fiction and modern young adult literature. The Favat Collection currently contains 10,226 titles—over the past five years, an average of 130 titles per year are added. It is managed by Janet Morrow, our Head of Resource and Discovery Services. Thank you to Janet for providing information about the Favat Collection, past and present, for this post!

Materials in the Favat Collection are located on the third floor of Snell Library. Some new materials may be shelved temporarily in The Hub on the first floor. The Archives and Special Collections also hold the papers of Dr. Favat.

Religion, Sex, and Politics: Taboo Subjects at the Hub

After displays about spaceships and dragons, Club Snell is tackling more serious and intriguing topics. “Religion, Sex, and Politics” takes on the difficult and often taboo subjects. We have material types ranging from books, graphic novels, memoirs, movies, to ebooks. So whether you’re looking for a light read or material for a paper, we have you covered!

Subjects range from anything like LBGTQ+ rights to Native American Memoirs. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone. In particular, we are highlighting our e-book Too Hot to Handle: A global history of sex education by Jonathan Zimmerman, the movie Loving, and the book The African Union: Autocracy, Diplomacy, and Peacebuilding in Africa.

We even have the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Did you know that Jedism is considered a legitimate religion by the United States? Watch the movie and look for parallels with current world religions like you can find in the e-book Exploring Spiritualties in World Religions. If there’s tough questions or topics you’ve been wanting to read about, feel free to explore them at the Hub’s new display, “Religion, Sex, and Politics”