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What is the One Book One Community program?
The One Book concept was created in 1996 in Seattle, Washington to help foster the expression of ideas within the community through the shared love of reading.

Since that time the One Book program has been embraced by states, cities, and communities with much success. The Public Programs Office of the American Library Association has developed a helpful manual for providing guidance to communities interested in developing their own One Book program.
Why is Sarasota County promoting One Book?
Sarasota is a wonderful mixture of inter-generational, multinational, permanent, part-time, transient, and multicultural residents representing diverse socio-economic situations. Our county population uniquely changes season to season and lives in vastly different neighborhoods within its sprawling county borders. The One Book One Community program is a catalyst for bringing people together to express ideas that will spark conversation, discussion, and relationships. The program can instigate a shared sense of “community” by advocating the common goal of reading the same piece of literature concurrently. Our convergence of ideas can prospectively promote empathy and understanding via increased awareness and knowledge.
What is Sarasota County’s One Book history?
Sarasota County first introduced the One Book One Community program in 2003 with the book “A Land Remembered” by Patrick D. Smith. Under the direction of Nancy Pike, Director of Library Systems, the program began its community partnership with regionally local authors and achieved newsworthy success. We are proud that Sarasota’s One Book program and its partners have a devoted following.

Historically, the One Book One Community Sarasota County project occurred almost annually and continued under the direction of the Sarasota County Libraries. During one year, the project had a slightly different name and was hosted in a partnership with Asolo Repertory Theatre.

In 2010, Sarabeth Kalajian, General Manager of Sarasota County Library Systems, introduced numerous changes to the project. A Steering Committee was formed to bring together people from organizations within Sarasota County to update the project’s mission and goals. Although the project’s oversight and budget continued with Sarasota County Libraries, programming ideas, communication, and support became a shared community initiative. Additionally, a Book Selection Committee made up mostly of representatives from the same participating organizations, convened to select an appropriate One Book. That same year, a dedicated project coordinator was assigned to this project.
What were the titles of the past One Books?

(Click the title to search SUNCAT.)

What is the One Book project timeline each year?
  • January – One Book author visits Sarasota County to talk about his or her book.
  • February – Libraries and community partner organizations hold book discussions and present programs and events.
  • Spring through summer – The next One Book is selected.
  • Fall through winter – The One Book is announced, and the community begins reading.
How can I participate?

There are many ways to enjoy and share One Book with your neighbors:

  • Attend or host a Book Discussion Group.
  • Serve as a book discussion group leader.
  • Start a conversation about One Book.
  • Attend a One Book program.
  • Read another book by the same author or a book on a related topic.
  • Research the author.
  • Compare and contrast the One Book with a film.
  • Host a film viewing.
  • Host an online discussion.
  • Develop activities that tie in to the themes of the book.
  • Write the next chapter–what happened later, after the book ends?
  • Join a book club and suggest the One Book.
  • Follow One Book on Facebook and/or Twitter and join in the discussions.
Where can I find more information?
On our web page, on the Sarasota County Library system’s calendar of events and at your local library.
Whom do I contact about One Book One Community?
Mona Herman, One Book Project Coordinator
Sarasota County Public Libraries
1660 Ringling Blvd., 5th Floor
Sarasota, FL 34236