Libraries are teaming up for literacy

All five libraries in Tuscarawas County are teaming up with the Tuscarawas County Literacy Coalition, Kent State Tuscarawas and area schools to use the valley's passion for football to build literacy.

The One Book One Community committee, comprised of representatives from Claymont, Dover, Gnadenhutten, Newcomerstown and Tuscarawas County District libraries works under the auspices of the Tuscarawas County Literacy Coalition.

The librarians selected "Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream" by H.G. Bissinger because of the book's focus on high school football and the books impact on popular culture through the critically acclaimed movie and the popular NBC television series. The book, by Bissinger who is a Pulitzer Prize winning author, follows the Permian Panthers football team for a year and chronicles the lives of the players and role they play in defining the hopes and dreams of Odessa. "Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream" is among the top five sport books ever written according to "Sports Illustrated."

The One Book One Community Committee announced their selection in time for National Library Week April 13-19 in keeping with the 2009 theme of "Worlds Connect @ Your Library." The community reading project helps people of all ages and economic class connect through the experience of the same book.

"That experience builds literacy, a sense of community and hope. In a county with 47 percent of the adult population functioning at a fifth grade reading level and a 10 percent drop out rate, we need to work together," said Newcomerstown Library Director Linda Hren.

Because literature and sports are an unbeatable team for attracting reluctant teen readers, the One Book, One Community committee is working to provide a copy of "Friday Night Lights: A Town a Team, and A Dream" for area high schools.

"From an educator's perspective," said Mike Gunther, Language Arts Chair for Dover High School, "This well-written story will allow classes to make numerous connections including the relevance of sports in a community as contrasted with the relevance of academics, the role of race in communities and relations, the priorities of parents and children ..."

H.G. Bissinger will be at Kent State Tuscarawas on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. to discuss the book with area residents as part of the Artist Lecture Series coordinated by Pam Patacca. The program will be free and open to the public.

Five area libraries team up for One Book, One Community event. They include, l to r, Paula Fawcett from Dover Public Library, Erin Taylor from Gnadenhutten Public Library, Linda Hren from Newcomerstown Public Library, Lorrie Wheeler from Claymont Public Library and Jim Gill from Tuscarawas County Public Library System.