BY Molly Congdon Gazette Reporter
CLIFTON PARK & HALFMOON—The scrupulous search for the perfect book for the Friends of the CPH Library, Two Towns-One Book (TTOB) 2016 Community Read began back on Thursday, April 16 when the Clifton Park – Halfmoon(CPH) library community could start to submit nominations. During the summer months, the Book Selection Committee went to work and narrowed over 150 community recommendations down to five finalist contenders.
“This is our fifth season,” Friends of the Library member Vicki Pompa said. “The idea for our community-wide read was inspired by our neighbors in Schenectady and Saratoga who have similar programs and helped us start ours. Our Chairperson, Linda Conklin, proposed the idea to our local Friends of the Library who embraced and implemented the program.”
She continued: “The selection committee is made up of 10 members of our Two Towns-One Book Committee. These 10 people narrow down nominations to 20-25 books to be read by teams of readers over the summer. Each team reads 4 or 5 books in order to make recommendations to the Steering Committee, and then the Steering Committee selects the final five contenders based on recommendations.”
The final five contenders were revealed on Thursday, September 17 at the CPH Library. Now election season is upon us; residents can place their votes on their favorite.
“We always want to promote literacy in the community, and this gives us the opportunity to ‘rally around’ a specific book each year,”Jim Foster, Assistant Director at the library as well as the Friends of the Library Liaison, said. “The books often have themes that lead to good discussions, along with positive values that can be promoted in the community. Frankly, the activities can simply be a lot of fun too, which promotes the library and reading!”
This program brings people together to share in the beloved pastime of simply reading a book. “The program is important because our towns of Clifton Park and Halfmoon are diverse and continue to grow; our goal is to bring people in our community together through the shared reading and discussion of a common book,” Pompa said. “Our choices inspire rich discussion and community activities and encourage young readers to participate through companion books and related activities. Our “Kids Read, Too!” committee chooses Junior Companion books that dress the themes of our main book through developmentally appropriate selections for our younger readers so readers of all ages are included.”
She continued: “In our second season, we read “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. Our activities included an event featuring a panel of local veterans and an enlightening presentation discussing PTSD. Our fourth season featured “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats” by Jan-Phillip Sender, who traveled from his home in Germany to present to our community last spring. Events included a fascinating look at the country of Myanmar and a panel of blindness experts.”
The result is actually not that far in the future. “This year’s winner will be determined when the ballots are counted at the November 2 Steering Committee meeting,” Pompa said. “The winning book will be announced immediately on our website and to the press.”
* Voting for the winning book continues until Saturday, October 31. Ballots and ballot boxes are available at the Clifton Park Town Hall, the Halfmoon Town Hall and the Clifton Park – Halfmoon Public Library. Votes can also be cast on line at http://www.twotownsonebook.org.