Library series gets community 'On the Same Page'
This fall, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System is hosting the second installment of On the Same Page, its communitywide reading and program series. This year’s series features Jacqueline Woodson’s autobiography of poems, Brown Girl Dreaming. The series, which started in September and runs through November, includes book discussions, arts and crafts programs, and movie nights.
The library first started On the Same Page programming in 2014, centered on the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
"We chose a book that would be meaningful to people in our particular community,” said Sam Lapides, who led the charge in 2014, and helped choose Alexie’s book.
This year, the library let the community choose the book. In November 2015, the library shared a poll online, and Brown Girl Dreaming, winner of the 2014 National Book Award and 2015 Newbury Honor, was selected. Author Woodson was born in Ohio, and grew up in both the South and the North during the turbulent civil rights era.
Beth Hatch, special projects manager, is coordinating efforts for this year’s series. “Woodson captures her devotion to family and the joy of finding her writer’s voice through a series of poignant poems,” said Hatch. “She addresses family history, divorce, race, the North and South, and the joys of learning to read and write poetry. The book serves as a great springboard for programs and discussions of how these topics fit in our lives today.”
The series kicked off on Sept. 26 with a free film screening of the documentary “Romeo is Bleeding,” about how poet Donte Clark transcended violence in his hometown of Richmond, Calif., by writing poetry about his experiences and inspiring an urban adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Among many upcoming programs is a presentation by the Cleveland Association of Black Storytellers, Look Back and Wonder, on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. at the Lee Road Library. This presentation is a series of powerful personal narratives of African-American women from the past 100 years.
In addition to the many programs, the Lee Road Library’s art gallery is home to an interactive display throughout October called “Dream Space: Poetry, Place and Person,” also inspired by Brown Girl Dreaming. Visitors are invited to enter the gallery and add their own personal narrative to the collage of poetry, read other’s contributions and, using an interactive touch screen, listen to quotes from the book read by the author.
Check out a copy of Brown Girl Dreaming at the Lee Road, Coventry Village or Noble Neighborhood libraries, and learn more about On the Same Page programs at www.heightslibrary.org.
Julia Murphy is the marketing and volunteer coordinator for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.