Book Image
Book Image
Author
Book
Author Visit
Discussions
Special Events
Community Events
Learn More
Links
EspaƱol
Sponsors & Partners
Kalamazoo Public LIbrary - link
Kalamzoo Community Foundation - link
Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library - link
Fahrenheit 451 - 2003 Reading Together BookNickel and Dimed - 2004 Reading Together Book
Reading Together Headline  McBride Visits Kalamazoo in March

What if the entire community read  the same book, at the same time?

"It was an honor to meet a community that reveres writing, cherishes the craft, and truly works to bring an entire community together around a creative project. Thank you deeply for your hospitality warmth and good spirit.
- James McBride

A letter of thanks...

The Kalamazoo Public Library would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to the Kalamazoo community for its enthusiastic support of this year’s county-wide Reading Together program.  In this third year of Reading Together, we have seen greater-than-ever participation from diverse segments of our local population and from a huge number of local organizations and community groups.  Neighborhood associations, churches and synagogues, local businesses, schools and colleges, governmental agencies, book clubs, civic groups, and libraries of all sizes joined together to create amazing opportunities for people from all walks of life to come together to discuss James McBride’s The Color of Water.

Reading Together would not be possible without the financial sponsorship of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s Better Together Initiative, whose aim is to strengthen bonds between citizens that can enrich our lives and improve our community.  We at the Kalamazoo Public Library are extremely grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Community Foundation over the past three years to create our community reading program, which is notable around the nation for its clear focus on bringing people together across the boundaries that separate them. 

This year marks the first time that Reading Together has been able to host the author of the selected book.  James McBride’s two-day visit was made possible by the generous support of a number of local organizations, including:  the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, Kalamazoo College, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, the Kalamazoo Public Library, the Portage District Library, and the Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library, in addition to support from almost every public and academic library in the county.  We are also grateful to the Douglass Community Association, Fresh Fire AME Church, Kalamazoo Public Schools’ Chenery Auditorium, and First Baptist Church for providing excellent venues for his public appearances.

McBride’s visit to Kalamazoo County kicked off six weeks of book discussions and public events.  Over 100 events were linked to this year’s Reading Together programming, and we are grateful for the enthusiasm and hard work of many local partners, including, among many others, Better Tomorrows and Davenport University, the Portage District Library, WMU’s Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations, the YWCA, the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society, the Fetzer Institute, and ISAAC and Galilee Baptist Church.  Appreciation is also due to WMU’s Waldo Library, the Comstock Township Library, Friendship Village, First United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, all of whom hosted public events. 

One notable example of the collaboration that marked this year’s Reading Together program was the “Many Paths, One People” community-wide march on April 9.  Co-sponsored by Great Lakes PeaceJam, the Walking Together initiative, and Reading Together, this celebration of everyone’s place in the human family was headlined by visiting Nobel Peace Prize winner Máiread Corrigan Maguire, who led the 500 marchers with Mayor Robert Jones and State Representative Sandy Lipsey.

I would be remiss if I did not lift up the hard work and dedication of two Reading Together committees.  Last October, thirty community leaders gathered for several hours of lively discussion and debate, as the selection committee confronted the challenging task of choosing from a list of over 60 titles that had been submitted for consideration as this year’s Reading Together book.  Since the completion of that selection process, a steering committee comprised of educators, religious leaders, librarians, heads of civic and community organizations, and representatives of local businesses and governments has met monthly to create and implement programming that has brought local experts to the table to share their insights into the issues—racial and religious identity, family resiliency, personal challenges, family violence, family history, the power of love and forgiveness—that spring from James McBride’s memoir.  For the work of both of these committees, I would like to express my deepest gratitude.

Finally, we invite county residents to submit their suggestions for future community reading selections to readingtogether@kpl.gov.  Thank you, Kalamazoo.

 

Joan C. Hawxhurst
Reading Together Coordinator
Kalamazoo Public Library

 

"This is a great program, the best community-building program that's ever come to Kalamazoo. I love how it gives everyone, and I mean everyone, in the community the opportunity to get involved." 
- patron comment

 

Book Cover Image
Book Cover Image
Book Cover Image
Photo of James McBride
Book Cover Image
2005 Events
February
S M T W T F S
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
15
16
21
22
24
25
26
March
S M T W T F S
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
18
25
26
27
April
S M T W T F S
2
3
8
10
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30