Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 28
Paging the communityLompoc library holds a series of events designed to get people to think, read, and discuss
BY SHELLY CONE
What does it take to get a community to come together to discuss topics that affect everyone? It takes the effort of dedicated people, some well-developed events, and a bit of fiscal assistance. Thanks to a grant from the Cal Humanities department, an independent nonprofit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Lompoc is encouraging people to “Think, Read, and Discuss” with its upcoming Community Read program.
The program is a local part of the statewide California Reads, a new program Cal Humanities developed in partnership with the California Center for the Book and the California State Library. The program is intended to invite Californians to participate in reading and discussion events in their communities. The Lompoc Public Library is the only Central Coast library participating in Community Read events, said Lompoc Library Director Molly Gerald.
The event encourages people to think about ways to come together to talk about things that matter to everyone, read about ways to gain insight from a memoir that bears witness to a failure in this democracy, and discuss how everyone can forge a common good in a time of uncommon diversity of opinion, values, and cultures.
Gerald said the grant to participate in the program has allowed the Lompoc Library to reach out to the community in ways it hasn’t been able to previously.
“We’ve put out a few copies of the book at coffee shops in town and other places, and they’ve been picked up,” she said. “So it looks like we’ve been reaching more people than previous community reads events.”
Get-togethers will take place Mondays at 7 p.m. at the Lompoc Library in the Grossman Gallery starting Sept. 24. The first event will include a book discussion of Farewell to Manzanar and Vanished by local author John McReynolds, who will facilitate the discussion along with educators Chris and Peggy Lauer.
Oct. 1 will bring a film and discussion surrounding Farwell to Manzanar, which was based on the classic memoir by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and John Houston.
Another film and discussion will follow on Oct. 8 with Conscience and the Constitution, the story of young Japanese American citizens imprisoned after refusing draft orders delivered to them during their families’ internment in Wyoming.
Wrapping up the series on Oct. 15, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston will share her experiences as a child during her family’s internment at Manzanar and its impact on her life and work.
Other events include a book discussion of Farewell to Manzanar at 6 p.m. at the Vandenberg Village Library on Sept. 28 and another discussion at 6 p.m. at Buellton Library on Oct. 5.
As part of the effort to get people involved in the community-wide reading event, Lompoc Library is giving away a Kindle book reader. To enter, read the book, then compose a short video, essay, or poem and submit it to library staff at email@example.com or bring the entry to the Buellton, Vandenberg Village, or Lompoc Library.
Three Kindles will be given away, one in each of the following age categories: 10 to 17 years; 18 to 40 years; and older than 40 years. The Kindles will be given away at the Oct. 15 event, and winners must be present.
Gerald said the event has gained a lot of interest from the community already, and both Lompoc high schools will be participating in portions of it.
“We are hoping this can jump start an annual Community Reads program in Lompoc, but it does take a lot of human and financial resources,” she said. “But that’s our hope.”
Arts Editor Shelly Cone believes in communities. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.