By Marsha McDevitt-Stredney, Director, Marketing & Communications, State Library of Ohio
Choose to Read Ohio, a State Library of Ohio initiative, began in April 2009 during National Library Week. In partnership with Ohioana Library, Choose to Read Ohio was featured at the Ohioana Book Festival on May 9. First Lady Mrs. Frances Strickland introduced the project, describing her love for reading and experiences with children and books. Ruth Metcalf, former State Library of Ohio Library Consultant, led a panel discussion with six of the Choose to Read Ohio authors including Jaime Adoff, Louise Borden, Andrea Cheng, Sharon M. Draper, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and Ann Hagedorn. The authors discussed the stories in their Choose to Read Ohio books, their writing processes, and current projects. They were also available for readings and book signing opportunities throughout the day.
The goal of the statewide Choose to Read Ohio program is to encourage the reading of Ohio literature together. The 2009-2010 Choose to Read Ohio booklist includes four current titles and one classic for the three categories of Children’s, Young Adult, and Adult. The program encourages Ohioans of all ages to choose a book by an Ohio author and read it together over a six week period anytime between National Library Week and the end of 2010. Choose to Read Ohio provides resources and materials for readers to come together to discuss a selected title in a variety of settings including local public libraries, schools, community centers, daycares, or other organizations.
The first step in initiating Choose to Read Ohio was selecting titles for the program. A Selection Advisory Committee assisted in choosing the books for the three categories. Committee members represented schools, public libraries, booksellers, and the Ohio Center for the Book. Below is the list of titles that were chosen:
Young Adult Titles
Once the titles were chosen, a Production Committee was appointed to work on the implementation and promotion of the program. This committee included representatives from The State Library of Ohio, Ohioana, Ohio Center for the Book, WOSU Public Television, The Ohio Channel, and public libraries. The State Library created promotional materials and developed an area on WebJunction Ohio with a resources and information toolkit.
In August 2009, the State Library announced a special Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant program available to all types of libraries to implement a Choose to Read Ohio program in their community. Thirteen grants were awarded at the December 8 State Library Board Meeting.
Additional information and access to the toolkit with resources and information about Choose to Read Ohio can be found on WebJunction Ohio. Each book has a section where WebJunction Ohio affiliated members can share their experiences and insights about the program.
Ruth Metcalf retired in June 2009. The Choose to Read Ohio program is now under the direction of Janet Ingraham Dwyer, State Library of Ohio Children and Youth Services Library Consultant.