There’s one book on campus that people go absolutely bananas for.
“Primate Societies,” edited by Psychology Prof. Barbara Smuts, has been loaned 733 times over the last 10 years, making it the most checked-out book at the Shapiro Undergraduate Library, according to Senior Associate Librarian Laurie Alexander.
The book was first published in 1987, three years after Smuts started working at the University.
The 585-page book features 40 articles from leading primatologists about the fundamentals of the social systems and behavior of primates.
The book is organized into five different sections: The Evolution of Diversity, Socioecology, Group Life, Communication and Intelligence, and The Future.
Smuts said this wide range makes the book useful for students.
“I imagine many students take it out for reference work because it is extremely broad and covers the main aspects of behavior, ecology, learning, cognition, and captive research,” Smuts said.
She said the large amount of photographs in the book might be another attraction for students.
Although “Primate Societies” isn’t a required book for any University course, it’s recommended as a supplement for several anthropology and psychology courses.
The book is so popluar that it’s kept at the library’s front desk for easy access. Because of this, students and faculty aren’t allowed to check the book out for more than four hours.
Anthropology Prof. John Mitani, who teaches Primate Social Behavior in the fall, adds the book to his course syllabus as a suggested reference for the course term paper.
“It has been a standard reference in the study of primate behavior for years,” Mitani said.
“Animals are interesting, attractive, and intuitively appealing – especially primates, because they are our closest living relatives.”
The most heavily circulated book at the Hatcher Graduate Library is Steven J. Rosenstone’s “Mobilization, Participation and Democracy in America,” which
has been checked out 263 times over the last 10 years.