For the third time in the last six years, the One Book, One Community countywide reading initiative is bringing together students and community members to share a common reading experience.
“We try to pick a book that we feel the community can come together around, a book that appeals to a wide age range, a book that has themes that a lot of people would be interested in talking about,” Medina Library Readers Advisory Librarian Mary Olson said Monday.
The Medina County District Library partnered with United Way of Medina County and Wadsworth Public Library for the biennial reading program.
“The Seventh Most Important Thing” by Ohio author Shelley Pearsall is this year’s reading selection.
The story involves a boy named Arthur who makes a poor decision and faces some unique repercussions for his actions, Olson said.
“It is about art, it is about junk, it is about choices, it is about contributing to the world,” she said. (It is) kind of a redemption story, too.”
United Way of Medina County CEO Cheryl Parzych said a committee with representatives from both the Medina County District Library and Wadsworth Public Library selected the book.
“It is a very engaged and active committee,” she said. “They are all fighting for their favorite books and they kind of try to find something that has sort of a common theme to it that everyone could relate to in someway whether you are a student or an adult.”
Parzych said this year will be the second time the United Way of Medina County has been involved, and the organization raised about $12,000 to purchase nearly 3,000 books for either sixth- or seventh grade-students.
“The committee itself contacts the schools and asks whether or not they want to participate,” she said. “Then we figure out, well how many books is that?”
Olson said committee members spend hundreds of hours working to select a book, and aspects taken into consideration included author availability, how the book has been received and if it would appeal to a wide range of readers.
“We could immediately start seeing all kinds of programs that would relate to the themes of the book for different ages,” Olson said.
Olson said while the book is written for students with a middle-school reading level, readers of all ages are reading the book and participating in a series of events at all district library locations and Wadsworth Public Library.
The activities will culminate in an author visit 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at Medina Performing Arts Center, 851 Weymouth Road and a community wrap-up celebration 6-8 p.m. Sept. 28 at Medina Library, 132 Broad St.
A complete list of events can be found at the libraries’s websites.
Wadsworth Library Deputy Director Nicole Moore was unavailable for comment Monday.