Over the last 11 years, the Wood County District Public Library has made readers run, wonder, escape and
go "raven mad" with its Community Reads and Youth Community Reads programs.
Now it’s time to shed a few tears and have some serious discussions about war.
This year’s Community Reads selection is "The Yellow Birds," by Kevin Powers. There are three
events scheduled next month around the book, which explores the experience of contemporary war. The
National Book Award finalist has been described as "an indispensable portrait of the Iraq War and
its impact on those who fought it."
"It is very different in tone from the last couple books we have selected for Community Reads,"
said Mary Callahan Boone, public relations coordinator for the library, at last week’s board of
trustees’ meeting. "It’s not always as easy book to read … but it’s an important book to
The recent news out of the Middle East, and with the terrorist group ISIS, makes it even more relevant,
Powers is a little uncomfortable talking in front of people, so organizers are taking a different route
for his "talk" on Oct. 22.
Clif Boutelle will interview him in front of the audience. Boutelle is retired associate vice president
for marketing and communications at Bowling Green State University, president of Friends of the Library
and a member of the library’s foundation. Powers will also answer questions and sign copies of the book.
Michelle Raine, in charge of adult services at the library, said "Letters Home," written by
Wood County residents during conflicts from the Civil War and Operation Desert Storm, will be read at an
Oct. 7 program.
"It will be almost like a living history experience," she said.
On Oct. 14, Brett Holden, a veteran’s advocate, and Mary Hanna, of the Wood County Veterans’ Assistance
Center, will lead a "Home from the Wars" community discussion with veterans.
"I think this is a great opportunity to really have some dialogue with people who have been in wars
… and give recognition to people," said library board member Becky Bhaer.
All of the Community Reads programs start at 7 p.m. and will be held at the library.
Although "The Yellow Birds" is a novel, it is based on Powers’ experiences as an Iraq War
veteran. With many people affected either personally or through friends or relatives by the wars in the
Middle East, this novel can help us as a community come to grips with all the ramifications of conflict,
Past Community Reads choices include "Born to Run" and one on Edgar Allen Poe’s works. Youth
Community Reads selections, which are made in the spring, have included "Wonder" and
"Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library."
Boone said the wide range of fiction and nonfiction books have united area readers in the shared
experience of "being on the same page" of the same book.
For more information, contact the library at 419-352-5104, or visit the Community Reads web page at wcdpl.org/CommunityReads2014.