During a time when Canby residents are feeling more isolated than ever, a group of committed volunteers are seeking to bring the community together through the power of reading.
Modeled after a successful program that has been held in Lake Oswego for many years, Canby’s community reading program will involve a group of more than 100 residents sharing in the experience of reading the same book at the same time.
The book is This House of Sky, author Ivan Doig’s 1978 memoir reflecting on his early life in Montana. Canby Library Board member Linda Warwick, who came up with the idea for the community reading program, calls it “really beautifully written” and believes it will resonate with many in Canby.
“It’s a memoir, but also a book about landscape, and it spoke to me really clearly about how important the place we come from is in our lives,” Warwick told the Canby Now Podcast. “I thought it would be especially apt in this moment when we are all more confined than we are accustomed to and the place we find ourselves in is the only thing we really have to explore.”
Starting Aug. 17, the books will be available at a handful of businesses throughout the community, including The Book Nook, Retro Revival, Gwynn’s Coffeehouse and Wayward Sandwiches. Posters on the windows will denote where the books are available while supplies last.
Additional books will be available at the Canby Public Library. They’re free to anyone who would like to participate.
Over the course of four weeks, readers will be asked to respond to thought-provoking questions and send in their responses with pictures, if they wish, to the library. These will be printed and posted in the windows of the Canby Public Library to share with the community.
“We’re pretty isolated right now, all of us in this moment,” Warwick said. “Almost all of us are living alone, in our own skins a lot more than we used to. I think it’s an opportunity for people to share life experiences with others in the community — even though it’s not face to face.
“If we can share life stories — even through the windows — we’re going to have interconnectedness.”
The program was developed with Library Programming Coordinator Hanna Hofer and with support and funding from the nonprofit Friends of the Canby Public Library and is intended to replace some of the in-person adult educational programming the group normally puts on throughout the year.
The books were purchased locally through The Book Nook. A similar reading program is also being planned for teens in the coming weeks.
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