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Finding Common Ground through One Book, One Valley

By Diana Laughlin, Program Services Supervisor

Fall is almost here. And that brings to mind a popular question, “Is there a One Book One Valley this season?”

The answer is: “Yes!” We’re continuing the tradition of inviting everyone to read and discuss a shared book. Earlier plans had delayed One Book One Valley’s return until 2019, but with the opportunity offered by Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado this October, we’ve seized the moment to offer a Special Edition series with key community partners.

Building upon One Book One Valley’s core goals—celebrating literacy and community—the 2018 project is equally rooted in two related Library objectives: 1) to be neutral conveners of civic conversations; and 2) to help address important local issues.

Although we didn’t have an opportunity to organize a vote among book titles this year, we nonetheless identified a theme you asked us to address. Following last spring’s “Fake News” series, you expressed in feedback your concerns that society has become increasingly polarized. Divisiveness expresses itself at all levels: national, local, and family. Disagreements and turf battles seem to drive us apart. Opportunities for constructive listening seem fewer and fewer.

This October, we ask: Is it still possible to find common ground? And if so, how?

The featured book to guide and ground our conversations is the acclaimed Why Won’t You Apologize: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts by bestselling author Harriet Lerner. Lerner faces the challenge of broken connections and how we can restore compromised relationships, offering a sanity-saving guide to setting things right. “This book is a game changer,” says author-lecturer Brené Brown.

Leading October’s conversations will be three organizations with a proven track record of helping opposing sides find that seemingly elusive common ground. Our partners are Estes Valley Restorative Justice, the League of Women Voters of Estes Park, and the Center for Public Deliberation.

It all begins with the book: multiple copies are now available at the Library. Borrow one up while they’re in stock. If we run out, we’ll happily take your name for our waiting list. Copies are also available for purchase at Macdonald Book Shop.

Then, mark your calendars for five special forums beginning Wednesday, September 26, as the League of Women Voters hosts “Civil Discourse: How to Talk to People with Different Viewpoints”. While there’s no author visit in 2018, we’ll draw upon tremendous local expertise.

The full events roster is available in our current Programs & Services Guide. You can pick up a print copy at the Library, or click here to read the Guide online.

Our gratitude to the Library Friends & Foundation for providing the funds for the books to be available this season in wide distribution.

Join us for this Special Edition this fall, and we anticipate One Book One Valley will return again in 2019 in its more traditional format.

Today’s debates that drive us apart can be transformed into positive learning and listening. We hope this season’s programs will help our community take that important step.