The first time I visited our library was in 2009 during the inaugural Page One read-off on November 15. The library had been reopened for almost a year, so the community was celebrating more than books and reading. Founding members were celebrating the gift of an open library. About 90 people flooded the library that day to listen as children, teens, and adults read the first page of a favorite book — the performances were delightful. From emergent readers to seasoned orators, every reading was a vignette from the community. As a new resident, I felt welcomed by each reader’s sincere delivery and the community’s unassuming warmth.
Today, seven years later, Page One continues as the Community Read-Aloud with more than 30 readers of all ages signed up to share favorite readings on Sunday, October 25 from 1–4 pm at the Grants Pass branch. It’s an honor to host this celebration — the longest ongoing event from Josephine Community Libraries. This year, notable readers include State Representative Carl Wilson kicking off the program at 1 pm and Grants Pass Mayor Darrin Fowler reading at 3 pm. Judges for the read-off include founding library member and Page One visionary Lori Patch, Lincoln Elementary School Librarian C.C. O’Deay, and Early Childhood Services AmeriCorps Volunteer Alec Chunn.
The Community Read-Aloud is part of Readapalooza weekend, chock-full of “free bookish fun for everyone.” On Saturday, October 24, two additional events start the weekend with the Storytime Celebration featuring storytimes at the top of every hour from noon to 4 pm. Then, in the evening from 4–6 pm, avid writers prepare their strategies as they gear up for the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days through November. Click here for more information.
The success of this event over the years is a testament to public libraries and the perennial value of its mission — to provide free and open access to information. Thank you to the Grants Pass Friends of the Library, KAJO/KLDR, and Fort Vannoy Farms for making the weekend possible. Without our library sponsors, volunteers, and donors we would be unable to offer the Community Read-Aloud and Readapalooza weekend.
has been the executive director of Josephine Community Libraries, Inc. since 2010. She holds a master’s in education and serves on the Oregon Library Association Legislative and Development Committee. In April this year, she was honored by the with the Ole award which annually recognizes an Oregon public library employee who has displayed exceptional effort and excellence.