Scottdale Public Library is calling individuals from all over the area, not just Scottdale, to consider taking part in their “Great Scottdale Read” event that piggybacks on the “Great American Read” idea recently done by PBS.
“PBS has something called the ‘Great American Read’ where they polled people all over the United States on what novel or novels had a great impact on their life and then came up with the top 100 books,” said Patti Miller, director of the library.
“We want to get as many volunteers to read at least one of the books on that list, but we really want every book to be covered by someone,” she said. “It’s only been 24 hours since we announced the event and already one-third of the books have been committed to. We want people to go online onto our Facebook page (Great Scottdale Read) and sign up for a book.”
The list that PBS put together has a wide variety of novels from the “Game of Thrones” and “Harry Potter” series to classics like “Gone With the Wind” and “The Great Gatsby.”
“So many books on this list really make you think, and some move you to action,” Miller said. “There are some amazing books on this list. It’s such a nice broad range. If you pick a few, you’re actually getting a really good overall view of what America is reading, and it helps you realize what people are thinking and why they’re thinking what they’re thinking.”
Library officials actually contacted WQED and asked for permission to do the spinoff.
“They were all for it and said they would be thrilled with any kind of participation,” she said. “They were so gracious to us — they sent us posters and pins and stickers and the checkoff sheets and they put us as a link on their website.”
An idea of her own making, as far as Miller knows, there are no other libraries that are doing this type of event.
“There might be other libraries who thought of doing this, but I don’t know of anyone else at this point,” she said
The second part of the idea is for those who read the books to fill out a simple review about the book by Sept. 1, and as they’re filling out their reviews, library officials are going to have them vote on their favorite book out of the 100 books.
“PBS is looking to find America’s favorite book and we want to see what the top 10 will be among our readers and how that compares with the nationwide survey,” Miller said.
Finally, during the Scottdale Fall Festival, the library will host a reception sponsored by Scottdale Bank & Trust, a division of MidPenn, where everyone who participated in the Great Scottdale Read can come in and talk about their experience.
“I think people like to belong to something,” Miller said. “I think people are starved for company and want to talk about things and let people know what they think about something, and especially books.”
The library also has T-shirts available for sale that say “The Great Scottdale Library Read” and throughout the event we’ll have chances that will just pop up on Facebook to win prizes, so keep checking in.
Miller said she’s hoping that all 100 books will be accounted for, but if not, she said jokingly that she may be forced to assign some.
“It really is a fun way to get people to read and join the communities together,” she said. “There are books on the list for even the younger crowd. I’d really recommend this to kids who are going into high school because a lot of the ones on the list are ones they’re probably going to have to read anyhow.”
Stephanie Geyer of Mount Pleasant and her daughter Ella are participating in the challenge.
“I love to read, but as a small business owner and mom of two busy kids, that doesn’t always happen, so when I saw this challenge, as a way to promote reading in our community, I immediately picked a book and signed up,” she said.
And when she was looking over the list, she came across a book that she thought her daughter might be interested in because she had just gotten done reading a different book by that author.
“I knew she would love to participate, so I signed her up as well,” Geyer said. “Encouraging my kids to read for pleasure is important to me, especially in a time where screens seem to take over our lives, so allowing her to participate in a community effort to promote reading was a no brainer.”