Wednesday, June 3, 2020

One Book, One Community to choose book based on community survey

February 11, 2019
Photo by Photo Illustration by Matt Radick | The State News

For the first time, the One Book, One Community Committee is selecting a book for its annual program based off of community input through an online survey.

The three books the committee — made of a coalition of East Lansing and Michigan State community members — is considering are:

  • “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America” by Beth Macy;
  • “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Matthew Desmond; and 
  • “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row” by Anthony Ray Hinton.

“We’re excited to involve the community in the process of selecting this year’s book,” East Lansing Public Library Director Kristin Shelley said in a statement.

Incoming freshmen at MSU are required to read the selected book, and the author visits East Lansing in the fall for a public discussion of their book. The program’s goal is to encourage the East Lansing and MSU community to come together and explore the book's themes at events each fall. 

Janet Lillie, assistant vice president for community relations at MSU and a long-standing One Book, One Community committee member, said community input is crucial to fostering interest for the program both at the university and across the city.

"We thought it'd be a great way to give more interest in the program and allow the community—both campus and the local community—to help guide the decision," Lillie said. "We're excited to get the results and go from there."

Lillie has been a part of the program since its inception in 2001. She said participation and interest in One Book, One Community has extended beyond East Lansing and MSU over the years. 

"I think the thing that makes it so special is it is a book program that's actually connected with the university. If you look at most reading programs, they're either in the community or at a university, they're not combining the two," she said. "You have this opportunity for some real inter-generational conversations on the same topic and it allows for multiple viewpoints."

Residents submitted survey responses through Feb. 8. 

The 2019 book selection will be announced by the end of the spring semester, according to Lillie. 

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