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“The Olin Pin” hopes to encourage more students to access library cookbooks

Peanut Butter Pie, Persimmon Pudding and Pomegranate Quinoa. What do these things have in common? These are three of the recipes available to students in the library’s newest publication, “The Olin Pin.”

The F.W. Olin Library recently released a zine titled “The Olin Pin,” a small compilation of recipes from the cookbook section handpicked by the librarians of Mills College. The librarians hope to use this cooking compilation to get more students interested in the wide variety of cookbooks the library has to offer.

The idea was spearheaded by Reference Librarian Lindsey Shively and Interlibrary Loan Specialist Corinna Burrell, both avid cooks aiming to promote the cookbooks section.

“We have an extremely impressive collection,” Shively said. “Of any library I’ve ever worked at, we have the best cookbook collection.”

The eight page zine features nine recipes, each chosen by eight members of the library staff from their favorite cookbooks. The librarians selected a variety of different dishes from Burrell’s pick of a classic apple crisp to Circulation Supervisor Elissa Papendick’s choice of “One-pot Kichadi.”

“I noted that my recipe could be made vegan,” Burrell said. “To be as inclusive as possible.”

In addition to “The Olin Pin,” the librarians have also filled the display case near the entrance with varying cookbooks from around the library. Among the diverse array of cookbooks on display are strange recipe collections like Elfris Puleston’s “Chefs Cooks and Cannibals,” and fun twists on classic cuisine like Allison Arevalo’s “Mac + Cheese Cookbook.”

When it came to naming the zine, “The Olin Pin” wasn’t the first title considered according to Shively and Burrell.

“I thought of ‘The Great Library Bake Off’ which was terribly obvious,” Burrell said. “I had a friend come up with ‘Punk-Ass Food Jockeys,’ which is a Parks and Recreation reference.”

The name “The Olin Pin” was eventually picked because of its creativity as well as its pun component.

According to Shively, one downside of “The Olin Pin” is that its recipes don’t work well with the limited budgets and pantries of the dorm residing students of Mills.

“We do have some cookbooks that are about cooking on campus,” Shively said. “But we weren’t trying to make it work with a microwave and hot water.”

Though “The Olin Pin” is a new and relatively unknown publication at Mills, it has already piqued the interest of some students, including first-year Sidney Jones.

“I would honestly love to have a chance to cook some of these recipes,” Jones said. “Unfortunately, it’s a little difficult to do in my budget right now. But I think it would be fun to get together with some other people and all buy ingredients and make the recipes together.”

Shively and Burrell have both stated that the future of “The Olin Pin” is unknown. According to them, the recipe book was just a unique way to encourage library patrons to visit the library for more than just research materials and it still hasn’t been decided if “The Olin Pin” will return for another volume.

“It was a fun project and I feel like it would be a nice thing to bring back in the future,” Burrell said. “And hopefully people will respond positively and hopefully people will find a recipe or two that they like out of it.”