An early adopter of a One Book program, the idea took root in Eastern Connecticut when Steven Slosberg wrote a column for The Day on November 18, 2001 entitled “What the Area Needs is One Good Read.” The Groton Public Library was already involved with a project for school aged children called “One Book, Many Families, One Groton” and was eager to expand to a wider audience.
On January 15, 2002, with the help of Eastern Connecticut Libraries, a meeting was held at the Library with a group of enthusiastic supporters and the One Book, One Region program was born. The initiative was recognized by The New York Times in Alan Bisbort’s March 31, 2002 article, “Everyone on the Same Page.”
Since 2002, a committee of librarians, educators and interested community members has gathered to choose the “one book” for all in eastern Connecticut to read. The goals of the project are:
- To bring the community together to discuss ideas.
- To broaden appreciation of reading.
- To break down barriers between people.
We want people to read our chosen book, share it with others and through related programming, learn more about a topic they may not have explored on their own.
Over the eighteen-year history of One Book, One Region, thousands of residents have joined together to read and discuss a good book and, in the process, talked about tolerance, bullying, freedom of speech, civil liberties, literacy, the Holocaust, immigration, and child trafficking. We’ve also initiated conversations about addiction, justice, human rights, and compassion.
The program has grown over the years and, in 2016, joined forces with Connecticut College where the chosen book is read by all first-year students. The book selection process remains unchanged, starting with a committee of book lovers who guide the choice. The committee includes librarians from across the region, representatives from area schools and colleges and interested community members. Our guidelines are simple. The book must be available in paperback, have a living author who will join us for a public event in September, offer good programming and discussion possibilities, and be appropriate for both high school students and adults.
Our chosen books have included both fiction and nonfiction and have introduced our readers to well-known authors, unknown authors and first-time authors. Book discussions are offered throughout the region and many libraries offer related programming ranging from kite-making workshops and poetry walks to presentations on criminal justice and health care in Haiti.
The most important element of the program, however, is our readers and supporters who join with us every year connecting public libraries with high school and college students, book clubs and interested readers around the region – all through the power of reading one book.
Watch videos of past years’ author events on Groton Municipal Television (YouTube).