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ERIC Number: EJ859395
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep-1
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0363-0277
One Book, One Community: One Great Idea
Dempsey, Beth
Library Journal, v134 n14 p19-22 Sep 2009
In 1998, Nancy Pearl and Chris Higashi, librarians working in the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library (SPL), had a brainstorm. Challenged with a grant to develop new audiences for literature, they were intrigued with the power of books to unite diverse audiences. With that in mind, they expanded the book club concept to encompass the entire city, launching a book discussion that incorporated all the branches, bookstores, and even cultural organizations. At the center was a carefully chosen book--one they thought would inspire meaningful discussions and whose author could engage audiences--Russell Banks's "The Sweet Hereafter," a poignant story of a town's grief after a bus accident takes 14 children's lives. The library called on local book groups to include the book in their schedules and organized library events and readings. The programming was supported by library-created resources designed to help explore the book and its author. Finally, Banks was brought in for a series of events. When a bus crashed in Seattle shortly before Banks's arrival, the program gave the community a channel to express complex emotions. It was, of course, the first Seattle Reads, a programming "aha!" that has since been echoed more than a thousand times across the country, placing the library smack dab in the center of the communities where they're held. The idea captured the imagination of the Chicago Public Library (CPL), which launched One Book, One Chicago in 2001, with a citywide read of Harper Lee's classic "To Kill a Mockingbird." CPL's ambitious take swept the idea of community reads into the library programming spotlight and coined the famous "One Book" label. Today, One Book programs are held in libraries, colleges, bookstores, and cultural centers across North America, Australia, and the UK.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington