MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries’ Madlyn L. Hanes Library at Penn State Harrisburg will welcome author–illustrator Laura Gao to campus for a speaking and book signing event 5 p.m. Thursday, April 6, at 210 Capital Union Building on the Penn State Harrisburg campus.
Space is limited and pre-registration is required to attend. Students, staff and faculty may secure a ticket online.
Students attending the event will receive a free copy of Gao's graphic memoir, “Messy Roots, A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese-American,” as long as supplies last. “Messy Roots” tells the story of Gao’s childhood, moving from Wuhan, China, to Texas and discovering her queer identity.
“Students can have transformative experiences when they connect over a shared experience like reading a book,” said Emily Mross, Hanes Library business librarian and library outreach coordinator who is organizing the event aided by Penn State Harrisburg student and University Libraries Bednar Intern April Demsko. Mross added, “At Hanes Library, we want to help students start important conversations through literature and discovery. Our campus community will have a unique opportunity to discuss the book with the author in addition to their peers.”
Gao's comic, “The Wuhan I Know,” went viral in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in response to racism and xenophobia targeting Asian Americans. Gao noted on her website, “After the comic went viral on Twitter, I received a letter from an Asian mother who told me her daughter loved it and wanted to read more stories about girls like her. As I began writing ‘Messy Roots’, I realized I wasn’t only writing to her, but to my younger self.”
With a more than 330 titles related to graphic memoirs available in the University Libraries’ catalog, including 70 available online, plus more than 940 online library databases including the Underground and Independent Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels: Volumes I & II and the Chinese Graphic Novel Digital Library, the University Libraries provides extensive resources and support for in-person, online and remote users. Librarians offer individual research assistance by appointment and through the Ask a Librarian service.
The Madlyn L. Hanes Library is a three-story, 115,000-square-foot, technologically advanced academic research library that includes 300,000 volumes and 1.3 million microforms. The Hanes Library also offers a wide array of course-integrated instruction, research workshops and library tours.
This event is supported by a grant from the Penn State Bookstores, operated by Barnes & Noble College, to the Hanes Library. For more information or for questions regarding the event, please contact Emily Mross, business librarian and library outreach coordinator, at [email protected].