GVSU Library Scholars Program Faculty Mentor: Mary Ruge


240 Mary Idema Pew Library
(616) 331-9145
[email protected]


Mary has been in libraries for over ten years, both public and academic, and is currently the library liaison for English, Writing, African/African-American Studies, and the Honors College here at GVSU. She is interested in how libraries hold space for the communities they serve in terms of access, inclusion, and promoting information literacy. Mary is also interested in comics scholarship, and social justice issues.

Scholarly or Creative Product Idea (available summer 2024):

1.) Homelessness and libraries, specifically public libraries drawing on my experience and connections to the public libraries in the Grand Rapids area. Partnering with KDL or GRPL, a student can research this issue from a number of different vantage points, including how library policies affect individuals experiencing homelessness, how these individuals access basic library services (if they are able to), or how the library could become a more effective resource for those experiencing homelessness. Some possible products could include a report that can be shared with stakeholder institutions including GRPL, KDL, and GVSU Libraries, a video (in the form of an explainer video, an animated video, documentary style, or other form), or an infographic (which can be a strictly digital object or can exist in digital and/or print form).

2.) In 2022, the Literacy Center of West Michigan estimated that 85,000 adults in Kent County read below a fourth-grade level (Flores, 2022). This information becomes even more devastating when one considers that many resources available to the community, including those pertinent to literacy, are often in written form and not entirely accessible to adults struggling with literacy. Partnering with GRPL or KDL, a student can use a more accessible medium like comics, to transfer information in a more meaningful way to people in the community that experience literacy issues. The student may choose, instead, to focus on making information about GVSU resources more accessible, and create a comic or zine that can relay important information about finding help with research and/or tutoring options.

Mary Ruge

Page last modified January 18, 2024