October 2001

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The North Coast Reads

Libraries throughout the North Coast region surrounding Cleveland will sponsor North Coast Neighbors Share a Book beginning in January and culminating with National Library Week, April 14-20, 2022. Patterned after similar programs in Seattle, Chicago and other major cities, adults and teens throughout the North Coast region will be asked to read the same book at the same time. They will then gather in various forums, like libraries, coffeehouses, bookstores, or online to share their ideas. Some of the discussions may be formal panel discussions, while others will be less formal, as neighbors or groups of employees gather to discuss the book and the social issues it raises. The Steering Committee welcomes other tie-ins to the book discussion, like theatre performances, essays, film presentations, etc.

The book that has been chosen is To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. The book, filled with important themes like civil rights, social justice, and legal ethics welcomes broad participation. It won a Pulitzer Prize in 1961. Libraries and bookstores are being asked to order ample copies of the book in preparation for the January start-up date.

Anyone reading the book will be encouraged to wear an identifying lapel pin to spark impromptu book discussions in supermarket lines, waiting rooms, or any other gathering places. Posters, window decals, and bookmarks are also being created to enhance the visibility of the program.

CAMLS members giving seed money for the project will receive supporting materials and books. Foundation funding is also being sought to cover the expenses related to the program.

The heart of this project is that it will build community and spark important dialogue through sharing a story. Member libraries are encouraged to think creatively and openly to build participation within their own communities. Template letters that may be sent to local businesses and groups will be available for download from the CAMLS website. In addition, more global partnerships and tie-ins are being pursued with businesses, nonprofits, and educational and art institutions.

The Steering Committee for this project has met as a group twice, with a third meeting scheduled for October 30. Subcommittees on Publicity, Partnerships, Finance, and Program Development have been working on the details of the program. Coordinated by CAMLS and its member libraries, the steering committee has also attracted members from the National Conference for Community and Justice and Fox 8's Morning Program. If you are interested in becoming part of the planning process, contact CAMLS Executive Director .

Copyright 2001 Cleveland Area Metropolitan Library System