Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Hosting Community Read 2022 This March
Find common ground and explore Charlotte’s hidden history
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library announces the return of Community Read in March 2022 with a focus on creating community dialogue around themes of gentrification and urban renewal. Are communities places or people? What does it truly mean to call a place “home”, and what are the effects of urban renewal and gentrification on disenfranchised communities? The book selections for this year’s program explore these themes in ways that impact all of us. In these stories, the characters face the challenges of being displaced and we see them join together in efforts to preserve their communities and their lives. Are their common interests and values strong enough? Let’s read together and find out.
Community Read is the Library’s monthlong effort to engage the community to collectively read (or listen) to books of current and relevant topics, and participate in discussions, book clubs and events. Community Read activities will be held online, at Library locations and hosted by community partners. The signature title, Tomorrow’s Bread by Anna Jean Mayhew, includes a scheduled appearance by the author on March 23, 2022. Adults are encouraged to read and discuss the main title, and the Library-selected companion titles for children and teens including: Windows by Julie Denos (children), The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl (children), The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya (middle grade), Take Back the Block by Chrystal D. Giles (middle grade) and Pride by Ibi Aanu Zoboi (teen).
“Community Read has always been an important program supporting the Library’s mission, but this year, more than ever, we want everyone to find common ground so we can have important conversations around race, urban renewal and community activism while working toward improving Charlotte-Mecklenburg,” said Meryle Leonard, outreach leader and co-program lead for Community Read at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
“Our vision as an accessible, welcoming and inclusive Library is to be the essential connector of a thriving community of readers, leaders and learners,” said Caitlin Moen, chief library services officer at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. “To achieve that goal, we have to give members of the community a safe space to have their voices and diverse perspectives heard, to engage in challenging, sometimes-tough conversations and explore history, the present and the future together so that we can move forward with renewed optimism and hope for tomorrow. Community Read 2022 will allow us to do just that.”
New for this year, the Library is excited to welcome spokespeople to help amplify the significance of the Community Read program. Marcellus “MT” Turner, CEO and Chief Librarian for Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, along with Charlotte Mayor, Vi Lyles will serve as liaisons to lead, foster and encourage discourse within the community.
“As a long-time resident of Charlotte and as mayor, I have seen first-hand the tremendous growth our beloved city has made in the last four years,” said Mayor Lyles. “I’m also interested in learning about the history of our city and what we can take away from our past in the midst of progress. That’s why I am honored to partner with Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to serve as the co-spokesperson for this year’s Community Read.”
“Community Read has always been an important program supporting the Library’s mission to improve lives and build a stronger community, and this year, more than ever, we look forward to everyone in the community participating with us,” said Marcellus “MT” Turner. “By uncovering the hidden histories of the past, we can work to build a better future together.”
Community Read is designed to bring people together around a single book while encouraging important dialogue. This year, the Library will again be joined by community partners to enhance the reach and impact of this significant reading program. Organizations, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Levine Museum of the New South and YWCA Central Carolinas will support activities and participate in Library programs to promote the value of reading and literacy throughout the community. To sign up as a community partner, contact Meryle Leonard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Read is presented with support from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
All books for Community Read 2022 are available through the Library’s catalog in print, digital and audio formats. The signature title will also be distributed through Community Read partner organizations leading up to events. In March, the Library will hold readings, book discussions and other programs for participants that bring the book’s themes to life.
To learn more about Community Read, visit www.cmlibrary.org/communityread.