Library kicks off ‘One Book, One Rockford’

Rockford Public Library has announced the title of the book for the “Third Annual One Book, One Rockford” community-wide reading program—A Place Where the Sea Remembers by Sandra Benitez.

The library will also host several events with the author in Rockford, a first for the One Book program.

The 2006 One Book, One Rockford is scheduled to kick off April 1 with a performance by Ballet Folklorico Mexico. Other programs, including book discussions, storytellers and author lectures, are scheduled throughout April.

Frank Novak, executive director of Rockford Public Library, said: “What if everyone in Rockford read the same book at the same time? Imagine the conversations you could have with your family, your friends, your co-workers or even the person in line with you at the grocery store. Having a shared experience as a community can give us a greater understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a city.”

In fact, community-wide reading programs are popular throughout Illinois and the nation. Established programs, such as Seattle’s “Seattle Reads,” Washington, D.C.’s “D.C. Reads” and Chicago’s “One Book, One Chicago” often bring in well-known authors to participate in community events.

The expense of bringing in an author has historically prevented the library, which has operated without a tax increase since 1984, from incorporating an author lecture into the program. This year, a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council made it possible to bring Benitez to Rockford, and library staff are thrilled with the addition.

Ellen Olson, chairman of the program, said: “Having Sandra Benitez come to Rockford to discuss her book and meet with Rockford residents is a fantastic addition to our ‘One Book, One Rockford’ program. She has written a beautiful novel full of characters you can relate to. I am really excited about sharing this fantastic story with both the English- and Spanish-speaking Rockford residents.”

The novel, A Place Where the Sea Remembers, is published in both English and Spanish, and takes place in the Mexican village of Santiago. Benitez is bilingual and will present in both English and Spanish. Having a bilingual “One Book, One Rockford” was important to RPL as part of its ongoing efforts to reach Rockford’s growing Latino community.

For more information about the “One Book, One Rockford” program or scheduled events, contact Ellen Olson, Rock River Branch manager, at (815) 987-6765.

From the March 29-April 4, 2006, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!