Use Your Resources!

Resources and databases are something of importance in many settings. Students use them everyday to conduct proper research and to make everything that they put into their assignments valid, and scholarly. From Google, to Wikipedia,  to library databases, people use resources everyday of their lives. By using the library databases, students learn how to go around fake sources that they could be finding on less reliable websites, and they also learn how to use the data that they find not only in their assignments but in their everyday lives. In Percival Everett’s novel, I am Not Sidney Poitier, the protagonist Not Sidney learns early on in life just how important these resources are to his education, but also his life.

As a student myself, learning how to use the library databases was significant to my career here at Geneseo. The Milne Library website offers much more than just resources, it offers students the tools to properly cite their work, and even a chance to chat with real librarians in order to find proper sources. The website itself offers a variety of ways to search for proper scholarly articles quickly and efficiently, which makes the heavy load that students already carry just a little bit lighter. These scholarly articles also add a new depth to the education that the student is receiving by doing their assignment. 

When we look into the life of Not Sidney in the novel, I am Not Sidney Poitier, by Percival Everett, we can also see the effects that library resources and familial resources had on his life. When he was young, Not Sidney’s mother had always told him to never stop reading, she had claimed that reading was the only way he was going to survive in this world. From there on, Not Sidney had taken that advice to heart and found comfort in his local library. Not Sidney “loved the smell of the books there” (16) and he “studied and studied, devouring all sorts of books”(16). In this library, Not Sidney had found a book by an Austrian psychiatrist. This book contained information on the use of Fesmerization, which is “a method of gaining control of a subject without the subjects awareness”(16). This information is something that Not Sidney had kept and used to his advantage throughout his whole life. He used it to his advantage on the playground the next day, by setting his new talent on a bully. By using this Fesmerization method, he was able to stand up to the bully on the playground and “beat him up fairly well”(17). This gave him a new kind of strength that he had never had before, and he barely had to lift a finger to do it.  His talent of Fesmerization carried well into his adult life, when Not Sidney had decided to use it on his new college roommate, who happened to be a part of a fraternity on campus. During a hazing event, Not Sidney had decided to Fesmerize his roommate and dismiss all the new fraternity pledges. When he gave his instructions, he had told his roommate to “start a recycling campaign on campus”(103) and to reject Not Sidney from his fraternity. In doing so, Not Sidney had effectively started a campus wide recycling project and had avoided joining an extremely toxic group of fraternity members. This Fesmerization trick had clearly helped Not Sidney overcome bullies throughout his life and even created a green community out of it. By using his resources and the knowledge he gained from them, he was able to overcome many obstacles that life had thrown at him. 

If Not Sidney had never been able to attain the book on Fesmerization, many parts of his life could have ended up differently. His access to this resource and many others had shaped the outcomes of different parts of his life. He was also pushed from a young age that using his resources was very important, and this push from his mother to never stop reading encouraged Not Sidney even further to use the resources at hand to his advantage. The resources and databases here at the Geneseo library are also crucial to the lives and grades of students. The availability of the resources makes students more eager to incorporate proper scholarly articles into their work and gain valuable knowledge from those articles. Without resources and databases, Not Sidney’s whole life could have been different, and many students here at Geneseo would be lacking in the education that they receive. Resources are crucial to all aspects of life, whether you are writing a paper or just trying to better your own education.

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