This fall, Nova Scotians were asked to “read the same book and share the same story” in a new provincewide initiative called One Book Nova Scotia. The program launched on Sept. 21 and officially ran until Nov. 9, although some scheduled events, such as book club meetings at public libraries, are ongoing. The central concept of the program is to nuture a culture of reading in the province, thus contributing to more literate communities.
“We are very pleased with the uptake of participation in the program. The public truly embraced the idea of a provincewide book club and responded with enthusiasm. One Book Nova Scotia will definitely be an annual event,” said Frances Newman, chair of the One Book Nova Scotia steering committee and chief of the Annapolis Valley Regional Library.
Nova Scotian author Leo McKay Jr.’s Twenty-Six, originally published in 2003, was the inagural One Book Nova Scotia selection. The book is a fictionalized account of the 1992 Westray Mine disaster. As part of the One Book Nova Scotia program, McKay did a provincewide tour including 14 stops, giving public readings and meeting readers face-to-face.
Circulation statistics from libraries around the province indicate Twenty-Six (print, eBook and audiobook versions) was borrowed more than 1,100 times during the seven-week run of One Book Nova Scotia, with over 320 people currently on waiting lists. More than 450 people attended author readings at public libraries, community colleges and universities across the province.
At the Nova Scotia Community College, there was a growth in the number of book clubs on campuses. “There are nine book clubs at NSCC campuses across the province that read the One Book Nova Scotia selection. Five of these clubs are brand-new and formed due to the One Book Nova Scotia program,” said Leigh Gagnier, electronic services librarian, Nova Scotia Community College.
The One Book movement began in 1998 out of the Seattle Public Library. Since then, the concept has spread to other locations, including Calgary, Waterloo and PEI. More information about One Book Nova Scotia can be found at 1bns.ca