Communities Read: One Book, One Michiana

In today’s guest post, Dawn Matthews from the St. Joseph County Public Library in South Bend, Indiana talks about the excitement and joy of being part of community read, and the reason they chose To Kill a Mockingbird for the first ever One Book, One Michiana program.

1b1mich_07I have always thought that books, reading, and libraries connect us in a “pay it forward” kind of way.  When you think about it, a good book isn’t half as good if you can’t share it with someone.  There is a primal need, in fact, of wanting to challenge and excite someone else with the discovery of a great author or book.  That is why, I believe, the whole One Book, One Community idea has taken off across the country.  It is an exciting event in which all residents are encouraged to read the same book at the same time and discuss it with friends and family, with a book club or at a program.

ToKillaMockingBirdFor our first title, we have selected To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Set in the South during the Great Depression, this coming-of-age novel is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America.  We chose it because it is filled with tenderness, humor, and heart wrenching moments that are thought provoking and discussable.  It is also perfectly fitting that this year is the 50th anniversary of this all American classic and Pulitzer prize winning book.

As we planned this event it was amazing how this book created enthusiasm and started to pull people together as ideas evolved and excitement grew surrounding the book.  Everyone we talked to had a unique way in which they wanted to participate and celebrate To Kill a Mockingbird.

Thank you to Better World Books for partnering with us and for donating 100 copies of To Kill a Mockingbird that are being read around the community at such places as the Center for the Homeless, The Robinson Center, and St. Margaret’s House.  I personally dropped off many of these books and I can’t tell you the smiles, joy, and gratitude I received for sharing this generous donation.

We also want to thank many of our other partners including Friends of the St. Joseph County Public Library, Center for History, Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, Indiana University South Bend, St. Joseph County Bar Association, South Bend Area Genealogical Society, Thyme of Grace, and WNIT Public Television.

One Book, One Michiana will take place from April 11 to May 9, 2010.  If you’re in the area, we invite you to read this story with us and find an interesting program to attend, so you can join in the synergy as we discuss what we love about this book.

One Book, One Michiana.  Read the book and “pay it forward.”

— Dawn Matthews, St. Joseph County Public Library


  1. Maria Betânia Ferreira says:

    I am not in the area but I am on the same planet and have loved what you wrote. I’ll order and read it to join you, head, heart and soul. Wish you the best!

    Maria Betânia Ferreira
    Grospierres, France

  2. Robinson Community Learning Center’s Senior Book Club is reading this… and they were kind enough to share a copy with me. I read it in about 3 days! Such a great book! 🙂

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