A community program that encourages residents of all ages within Centre County to explore the human condition and related current issues by reading and discussing the same book.
Since 1998, when Seattle asked its residents to read Russell Banks’ The Sweet Hereafter, the idea of a community reading and discussing the same book has spread across the United States and to countries as far away as Australia. The idea spawned “One City, One Book” events, county- and state-wide programs, and even the nationwide All America Reads and Canada Reads projects.
Centre County’s efforts began early in 2002 when a group of individuals from the community, including libraries, schools, and bookstores began to discuss the merits of a county-wide effort to share a book. In 2003, Centre County residents initially read and discussed Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The community response was terrific, and so the project continued.
The Centre County Reads committee compiles a list of books that members or community members have recently read and recommend. Each book goes through a vetting process based on the following criteria:
- promotes meaningful discussion for a wide range of ages,
- reflects universal issues common to the majority of Centre County residents,
- written at a reading level accessible to emerging adult readers, and
- available in a variety of formats, including an inexpensive paperback edition that is readily obtainable.