Programs & News | Contact Us | For Readers | Fiction | Kids & Teens | Reference & Nonfiction | Movies, Music, Audiobooks
Library Blogs | Hours & Locations | Friends | Foundation | Gift Shop | A to Z Index
Reading: Bridge to a Wider World was adopted in Duluth, Minnesota early in 2002. The program was coordinated by the Duluth Public Library and sponsored by the City of Duluth. Because of the city's commitment to reading and literacy and the Duluth Public Library's role in advocating the importance of lifelong learning from birth, a community-wide reading program was a natural choice for the city.
The idea of an entire community reading the same book originated with the Seattle Public Library, Washington Center for Book. In 1998 "If All Seattle Read the Same Book" was launched. In 2001, the City of Chicago and the Chicago Public Library chose to establish the "One Book, One Chicago" program to encourage all adult and young adults in Chicago to read and discuss the compelling novel by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Soon after, Essie Ledyard, Adult Learning Center, contacted Duluth Public Library Director Beth Kelly and suggested that Duluth develop a similar program. Tom Zelman, Endowed Chair, College of St. Scholastica, contacted Mayor Doty with a similar suggestion. There was also an inquiry via the Library web site. Beth Kelly selected a group of educators, bookstore owners, Duluth Public Library staff and members of the Friends of the Duluth Public Library to meet and discuss the potential of a similar program in Duluth.
The first meeting was held November 1, 2001 and by November 30th the group had agreed to implement the project, selected Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, and chose both a slogan: Reading: Bridge to a Wider World, and a timeframe for the program: April 14 - 30, 2002. The slogan was adopted with the permission of the Arrowhead Reading Council, which used the slogan for a previous reading project. The word "Bridge" was an important symbol of the committee's effort to include the entire Duluth-Superior area.
The initial meeting was a small group of library staff and Essie Ledyard. The group grew to include bookstore representatives and Duluth School District staff. The following members served on the 2002 committee:
Beth Kelly, Chair - Duluth Public
Gabrielle Allen - Community Relations Manager, Barnes and Noble
Becky Ardren - Reading and English Language Arts Specialist, ISD 709; Arrowhead Reading Council
Barbara Durst - Adult Learning Center, ISD 709
Lucie Holzemer - DPL Librarian
Carol Kelley - Friends of the Duluth Public Library; Duluth Library Foundation Board Member representative; Arrowhead Reading Council Representative
Essie Ledyard - Adult Learning Center, ISD 709
Judy Sheriff - DPL Youth Services Manager
Carrie Sutherland - J. W. Beecroft Books
Wendy Wennberg - DPL Public Information Coordinator
Reola Williams - African American Cultural Center, ISD 709
Anita Zager - Northern Lights Books and Gifts
PLANNING AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT
On November 9, 2001, Wendy Wennberg, Reading: Bridge to a Wider World Program Coordinator, sent an informational letter to local bookstores and asked for assistance in promoting the program. Gabrielle Allen, Community Relations Manager at Barnes and Noble, called bookstore owners urging them to schedule programs and events.
After December 1, 2001, members of the committee agreed to submit information about the program to newsletter editors representing a variety of groups and organizations to get preliminary information out before the first press release scheduled in early January. Recognizing that To Kill a Mockingbird may be too difficult for readers younger than 9th grade, Becky Ardren, Reading and English Language Arts Specialist at ISD # 709; Judy Sheriff, Duluth Public Library Youth Services Manager; and Reola Williams, African American Cultural Center, developed a list of alternate books for kids and young teens. Becky Ardren and Judy Sheriff contacted the Duluth Public School teachers and librarians regarding the program.
Wendy Wennberg contacted the Chicago Public Library, ThinkQuest, Inc. and Claudia Durst Johnson to request permission to use information from the "One Book, One Chicago" Resource Guide. All three granted permission.
Gabrielle Allen contacted area groups to assess their willingness to participate and Wendy Wennberg began scheduling programs.
By February 11, 2002, a draft Resource Guide was available for the committee's review. Bookstores and other organizations submitted their programs and events to be included in the Resource Guide. After the review, Beth Kelly, Reference Librarian Maryann Weidt, Judy Sheriff, Becky Ardren, Reola Williams and Gabrielle Allen worked on discussion questions for the novel as well as discussion questions for kids and families to be added to the Resource Guide. Judy Sheriff explained that the discussion questions for kids and families were developed so that even if parents and kids do not read the same book, the questions would be appropriate.
Carol Kelley solicited and received funding approval from the Duluth Library Foundation to print the Resource Guide.
Wendy Wennberg submitted a $2000 grant application to the Minnesota Humanities Commission and funding was awarded. In addition, Mayor Gary Doty agreed to write an introductory letter for the Resource Guide and author Harper Lee also agreed to write a letter to be published in the Guide.
Once all the programs and events were scheduled, another draft Resource Guide was developed and submitted to Nancy Eaton, Senior Library Technician, for editing and publishing. Nancy prepared several more drafts because of additions and changes to the Resource Guide.
The Duluth News Tribune agreed to run a free ad, which appeared in the paper January 23, 2002. By January 27th, local newspapers that received the initial press release began writing stories about the project. In February, the project was featured in the Independent School District #709's newsletter Focus. During March and April, weekly and often daily news reports were printed in local newspapers. An editorial "Join Common Experience" ran in the Duluth Budgeteer on March 17, 2002. Kyle Eller wrote a feature on the same date: 'Mockingbird' author breaks silence to support Duluth effort. On Sunday, March 31st, the Duluth News Tribune featured the project ON PAGE ONE of the newspaper! The article included the extensive list of programs and events.
The Arrowhead Library System Print Shop printed 2,500 copies of the Resource Guide which were delivered by March 15, 2002 and distributed as follows:
Barnes and Noble Bookstore - 300
Northern Lights Bookstore - 50
J. W. Beecroft - 600 (shared with the Superior, Solon Springs and Northwestern School Districts)
Duluth Public Schools - 340
Superior Public Library - 50
Lake Superior Writers - 10
University of Minnesota Duluth - 50
Bookstore at Fitgers - 6
The remaining Resource Guides were distributed at the Duluth Public Library, the West Duluth Branch Library and The Mt. Royal Branch Library. Bookmarks and posters were developed for use by the Library, bookstores and schools, and program fliers were developed for Library use.
Duluth Public Library Web site
Nancy Eaton, Senior Library Technician, is responsible for the web site. She added the entire Resource Guide to the web site. The following statistics demonstrate how often each page was visited in March and April:
|Harper Lee's Biography||
|Civil Rights Era||
|Book List for Kids (Original)||
|More Books for Kids||(Added to the site in April)||
|Mayor Doty's Letter||
|Lynchings||(Added to the site in April)||
Ordering To Kill a Mockingbird Books and Materials
Fiction Librarian Lucie Holzemer ordered books and materials to prepare for the anticipated demand. 94 copies of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird were ordered in hardcover, paperback and trade size. Two books on CD and five books on tape were also ordered. Two copies of the movie on videocassette and two sound recordings of the original motion picture score were added to the collection. Study materials were ordered as well: 9 copies of A Literature Guide for Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird; 9 copies of To Kill a Mockingbird: Threatening Boundaries by Claudia Durst Johnson. 6 copies of To Kill a Mockingbird, Tender Mercies and The Trip to Bountiful: Three Screenplays were added in trade size.
Judy Sheriff ordered the following materials for Youth Services: Two videocassettes of Ruby Bridges. Books ordered were 7 Friendship, 7 Mississippi Bridge, and 5 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and 4 copies of The Story of Ruby Bridges.
Several times during the month of April, all 100 copies of To Kill a Mockingbird were checked out.
|Duluth Library Foundation Donor Gifts||1676.72|
|Friends of the Duluth Public Library Sponsorship||500.00|
|Grant from the Minnesota Humanities Commission||2000.00|
|Books and materials|
|Duluth Library Foundation Sponsorship||1131.72|
|Friends of the Duluth Public Library Sponsorship||500.00|
|Quantity: 2500 - Duluth Library Foundation||545.00|
|Mailing Resource Guides||33.06|
Claudia Durst Johnson Programs
(MN Humanities Commission grant)
Week of May 1, 2002
Week of May 6, 2002
Duluth's inaugural Reading: Bridge to a Wider World project was made possible through the generous support of sponsors listed below:
Over two months, thousands of Duluthians read and discussed Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Based on circulation figures and bookstore sales, high program attendance, media coverage and positive feedback from evaluations, the Duluth Public Library has concluded that this inaugural program was successful.
Circulation and Sales
The Duluth Public Library estimates that 124 materials, including the book, videocassettes and sound recordings owned by the Library, circulated 468 times, which averages 4+ circulations for each item. The breakdown of circulation figures (January - April 2002) were developed by Jan Simmons, Duluth Public Library Technical Services Manager:
· Main - 3 copies circulated 29 times
· Mount Royal Branch - 3 copies circulated 31 times
· West Duluth Branch - 1 copy circulated 9 times
Sound recordings - Books on
Tape and Disk
· Main - 6 copies circulated 28 times
· Mount Royal Branch - 3 copies circulated 12 times
· West Duluth Branch - 2 copies circulated 7 times
· Main Adult Fiction - 39 copies circulated 145 times
· Main Young Adult Fiction - 6 copies circulated 17 times
· Mount Royal Branch Adult Fiction - 31 copies circulated 114 times
· Mount Royal Branch Young Adult Fiction - 2 copies circulated 4 times
· West Duluth Branch Adult Fiction - 26 copies circulated 79 times
· West Duluth Branch Young Adult Fiction - 2 copies circulated 3 times
The Youth Services Division ordered
titles with similar themes and reported the following circulation
statistics January - April 2002:
Preschool. Loudmouth George and the New Neighbors - 1 copy circulated 7 times.
Grades K-2. The Story of Ruby Bridges - 6 copies circulated 13 times.
Grades 3-4. The Friendship - 11 copies circulated 11 times.
Grades 5-6. Mississippi Bridge - 11 copies circulated 12 times.
Grades 7-8. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - 4 videos circulated 22 times. 2 books on tape circulated 7 times and 16 books circulated 25 times.
Grades 7-8. Smoky Night - 5 copies circulated 6 times.
Barnes and Noble reported that To Kill a Mockingbird was the bestseller at the Duluth store for two weeks. By the last week of the program, the book remained second on the store's bestseller list.
In total, 586 people attended 25 public programs for an average of 23 people at each program. Claudia Durst Johnson's lecture drew the largest audience at 63. Several people attended multiple programs. A couple from Two Harbors attended 14 events.
Evaluations submitted by program attendees were positive and heartwarming. Examples are:
"Riding home from the Ordway (and reading it) I said to my daughter, 'I'm coming to the courtroom when Reverend Sykes said, 'Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father is passin.' ' We both teared up. A shared memory! Time did not dull our memories of the book."
"It caused me to reflect on my Southern heritage, and to confront the racism in my own family members and myself."
"At the West Duluth Library group discussion we found the story applies to our generation just as it did to the 1930s."
"It made me think of all its valuable life lessons - specifically what one person can do to effect positive community change."
"I love reading fiction. This is a favorite novel. Reading allows me to get into someone else's shoes and learn from them."
"The tidal pull of so many people reading the same book drew me in."
On June 4, 2002, the Reading: Bridge to a Wider World Committee met and reviewed the evaluations. Based on the positive feedback from members of the community, the community reading project will be continued in 2003. The committee brain-stormed a list of appropriate books and suggestions from the evaluations and narrowed the list to the following:
The timeframe will remain the same with programs in April 2003. Information on Reading: Bridge to a Wider World 2002 will remain on the Library website.
Submitted by: Wendy
Wennberg, Public Information Coordinator - 5/14/2002
Duluth Public Library Reading: Bridge to a Wider World Program Coordinator