The first “community read” in the U.S. was organized in Seattle by Nancy Pearl in association with the public library there in 1998, two years after Oprah Winfrey introduced her national book club for viewers. Just GOOGLE “community read” and you will find names of the many communities that have organized events around a book, including Denver. Universities, high schools, elementary schools and even families have discovered the joy of reading the same book together.
The driving force behind this Vail Valley Community Read project is Vail’s Library Director, Lori A. Barnes. She assumed her position in 2007, and has been a ball of fire developing library programs and awareness. She resurrected the “Friends” of Vail Public Library and with this group gathered a committee to organize our first “community read,” drawing in The Eagle Valley Library District, Colorado Mountain College, the Bookworm, and The Eagle County Historical Society as collaborators.
Our committee launched “One Book One Valley” – our once-a-year community-wide book club in 2012 with the selected title “Doc,” by Mary Doria Russell.
When the historical novel,” Doc,” came to the committee’s attention, everyone in the group sparked up. It is a 2011 publication about Doc Holliday and has high appeal for men, women, and young adults. Doc Holliday lived in Leadville for a while and died in the Glenwood Springs Hotel in 1887. Doc’s gravesite is in the Pioneer Cemetery in Glenwood. These local ties give our community a personal interest in the historical setting.
Since then, our popularity has increased over the years and with each title selected. Thanks to the good results, more organizations have supported us to enrich our valley.