Spencer writes in the library, part 26: The Grand Rapids edition

Written by: Spencer Greenhalgh

Primary Source: Spencer Greenhalgh


This episode of Spencer Writes in the Library took place Monday, January 12th around 9:30am.

The Spot

Where am I working today?

I am in Grand Rapids, Michigan for a doctor’s appointment and thought that I might as well take advantage of a local library for this week’s post. There’s a little nook full of international books and biographies just off of the main lobby, so I’ve set up shop there for a few minutes before heading to the doctor’s office.

What’s a perk of this spot?

Fantastic view! Not just out the window, but this is a fancy library, the sort of thing that one expects a library to look like. Grand Rapids is an hour away from home, but I’m trying to come up with excuses to come back and work here.

What’s a problem with this spot?

Well, this nook is just right off of the main lobby, so there’s a fair amount of noise. I’m not wearing headphones, so that might be enough to solve the problem, but I could see this being problematic if and when the headphones weren’t enough.

What have I learned in this spot?


The Grand Rapids library has a great foreign language collection! One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to go through some of my modest collection of French literature, just to keep up with my French and to feel a little more cultured. If I lived in Grand Rapids, I would have a lot more books to choose from.

How would I rate this spot?

7 out of 5 dentists. (Why dentists?)

The Work

What am I working on today?

I’m in the middle of scheduling and carrying out some interviews with some of the students in the French immersion activity I supervised last semester. During the activity, we did a simulation/thought experiment to get us thinking about issues of government, society, and culture; I’m now interested in asking them about their decision-making during the activity. Did they see these hypothetical/imaginary decisions as ethically relevant? What motivated their final decisions?

What’s the highlight from today’s work?

Since this library jaunt was just a short one, I didn’t get anything exciting done. I did, however, manage to send off a few emails in the hopes of scheduling the last few interviews I need to carry out.

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Hi there! My name is Spencer Greenhalgh, and I am a student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology doctoral program at Michigan State University. I came to Michigan State University with a strong belief in the importance of an education grounded in the humanities. As an undergraduate, I studied French and political science and worked as a teaching assistant in both fields. After graduation, I taught French, debate, and keyboarding in a Utah private school before coming to MSU, where I plan to study how technology can be used to help students connect the humanities with their lives. I have a particular interest in the use of games and simulations to promote ethical reasoning and explore moral dilemmas, but am eager to study any technology that can help students see the relevance of studying language, culture, history, and government.