Subject of the Month

A monthly display featuring resources on specific thematic subjects.


Book, Star, Open Book, Magic, Read

Royalty free image from Pixabay

All the Subject of the Month Guides from 2018.

Why Have a Subject of the Month Guide?

For years, the display in the Purdy/Kresge Library highlighted books from the print collections on a unique topic every month.  However, the WSU Library System has a rich collection of eBooks, Online Journals, and Databases, too.  In addition, there is an electronic universe of high-quality, freely available online resources that includes websites, videos, and blogs.  This Research Guide for the Subject of the Month was developed in an effort to gather these resources together and make them available to a wider audience -- reaching students, faculty, and the online community at large.

Wayne State University Sesquicentennial

WSU Logo with 150 years in the heart of Detroit

On May 18, in 1868, Wayne State University was officially founded as the Detroit Medical College. The first academic term began on Nov. 3, 1868.  On April 22, 1956, the Michigan Legislature adopted Act 183 “to establish and regulate a state institution of higher learning to be known as Wayne State University.” 

Photo of Detroit Medical College with the WSU Seal, Making History Since 1868


Throughout 2018, the WSU Libraries invite you to join us as we celebrate our University's rich history and sesquicentennial. The official celebration period will run from Jan. 1, 2018 to Nov. 1, 2018.  In addition to the Subject of the Month displays, please check the University Calendar for Special Events and Exhibits.

Royalty free image from Pixabay

Interested in other Subject of the Month Guides throughout the years?

Check them out!

2012                                               2018

2013                                               2019

2014                                               2020

2015                                                      2021

2016                                                       2022



January-June 2018

WSU Press photo of the exterior of the building

Selector: Richard Buboltz and Rachael Clark

Learn how the WSU Press promotes the written word, uncommon voices and the arts and culture scene in our community in this month's Subject of the Month.

For me, the value of university presses is immense. Among their many important contributions is their support of the so-called ‘long tail’ of the publishing industry — books that do not necessarily attract a wide audience, but nevertheless have importance for our culture or society. But university presses are also able to meld popularity with intellectual rigor.

~ John MacCormack, author of 9 Algorithms That Changed the Future

Check it out here!

Alpha Kappa Alpha group photo, 1947

Selectors: Alison Stankrauff and Alison Greenlee

Wayne State University created the Center for Black Studies after a student demonstration in 1970. It gained department status in 1989 following another student rally. In 2015, the name changed from the Department of Africana Studies to the Department of African American Studies. Learn about the student activism that led to the establishment of Black studies at Wayne State.

Alpha Kappa Alpha, 1947
A photograph of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority from the 1947 Wayne University yearbook. AKA started in 1908 with the mission to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards and promote unity and friendship among college women of color.

Check it out here!

Scales representing gender equality and diverse crowd

Selectors: Alison Stankrauff and Alison Greenlee

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Check it out here!

Sign for April 2018 Subject of the Month featuring a photo of a NASA space shuttle

Selector: Jim Van Loon

The Subject of the Month for April features not one but two topics to appeal to your inner rocket scientist:

  •  Astronomy: a course of study currently offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and
  • Aeronautical Engineering: studies of which were offered by the College of Engineering until the early 1960s

Check it out here!

Photo of McGregor Hall and Reflecting Pond, WSU, by Yamasaki

Selector: Clayton Hayes

Did you know that Wayne State students used to register for classes in an old car dealership? That our first student center was a repurposed apartment hotel? That the first building constructed specifically for Wayne State wasn't built until 1948, and was designed by an Armenian immigrant?

Did you know that one of the sculptors whose work is installed on campus also designed a set of doors for the Vatican? That the "Fantastic Four" were originally part of Detroit's old city hall? That a chair of the Art and Art History Department founded one of Cass Corridor's most well-known cooperative galleries?

This subject of the month encourages you to explore the history of Wayne State University through its architecture and public art, and to discover the answer to the question: How did this campus end up looking the way it did, anyway?

Check it out here!

Warrior LGBTQ Pride photo of a fruit cart

Selectors: Alison Greenlee and Karen Liston


Check it out here!

July-December 2018

Motown photo of the Supremes

Selector: Serena Vaquilar

Motown is a record company, a musical style, and a corporate conglomerate with several subsidiary labels. The company was founded in Detroit Michigan, in 1959 by Berry Gordy Jr. A black entrepreneur and songwriter, Gordy built a successful, independent company that became a formidable phenomenon in the music business. Motown racked up an enviable number of releases that posted on both pop and rhythm and blues (R&B) charts.

Motown derived its name from a popular slang contraction of motortown, a nickname for Detroit. Detroit, which was known for its automobile production.

Check it out here!

Herd of Elephants in Sri Lanka

Elephant Transit Home, Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy of Alison Stankrauff

Selectors: Rachael Clark and Richard Buboltz

“But perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that there are no walls between humans and the elephants except those we put up ourselves, and that until we allow not only elephants, but all living creatures their place in the sun, we can never be whole ourselves.”

― Lawrence Anthony, The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

Check it out here!

Stacks of Books

Selector: Monique Oldfield and Mike Hawthorne


Check it out here!

Selector: Ella Hu

"The Wayne State University School of Medicine has a storied history that reaches back nearly 150 years. We are the home of many medical firsts, including the world’s first open-heart surgery and the discovery of AZT, the first drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of AIDS."  -- Jack D. Sobel, M.D.  Dean Wayne State University School of Medicine

Check it out here!


Logo for the Race Card Project

Selector: Diversity and Inclusion Council

The Race Card Project aims to hear, experience, and collect the real discussions about race, culture and identity on campus. Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community are invited to express their thoughts about race, cultural identity, or an evolving America in six words. 

Check it out here!

cover image for the Faygo Book

Selectors: Richard Buboltz and Rachael Clark

Detroit has a long history as a center of innovation and entrepreneurship.  In addition to being the Automotive Capital of the World, Detroit is home to iconic brands such as: Vernor's, Sander's, Stroh's, Carhartt, and Faygo, as well as icons of the future, Thirdman Records and Shinola.

There is no better place in the world to be an entrepreneur, no better place in the world to be someone who wants to try something new, than here in Detroit.” — Ted Balowski of Hatch Detroit

Check it out here!