This community read facilitated talks with award-winning authors on "The Green Book" and navigating Jim Crow through the Civil Rights Era.
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Green Book Community Read
I wanted to plan a program around social justice and Victor Hugo Green's "The Green Book." I had made contact with the author of "Ruth and The Green Book," Calvin Ramsey, several years before this program came to fruition. I took his suggestions of other authors and subject matter experts and began drafting the author series six months prior to its execution.
I wanted to have local 4th and 7th-grade students learning about North Carolina attend "The Green Book" programs to learn about local history and social justice. I marketed the program to the schools, community leaders and local agencies that worked with youth including the Boys & Girls Club, YMCA and 4 H.
I was the sole staff person involved in marketing this program. I wrote press releases, created social media content, spoke on the local radio station and emailed community contact members including local schools, media coordinators, principals etc.
There was a reluctance in coming to in-person programs because people were still weary of the pandemic. I planned the program in the fall and the schools cover local history in the spring. This impacted the attendance of the program. I was able to work with the Boys & Girls Club to have students visit both in person and virtually. I was happy to have students attend the programs but it wasn't successful in reaching the targeted goal of 200 participants.
The library was fortunate to receive grant funding from ALA's American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries. We were able to offer a larger amount for the book talk than would be allowed with the regular library budget. We spent money on purchasing 25 copies of each author's book and paying for their author appearances.
In the future, to cut costs, I would seek donations for copies of the books and offer the authors a smaller speaking fee as my budget would allow.
The day of set-up included three staff members (including myself) setting up our community room for a book talk. This was fairly easy and did not take much time to move tables and chairs for the presentation. We prepared the podium and projector for the author.
The virtual program was a bit more challenging as we had some difficulty with the Zoom link.
We were thrilled with the feedback we received on the program as it was overwhelmingly positive and participants requested more programming similar to the events we presented. The programs went well and we are planning to ask the authors to do presentations in the future. Although I did not reach the number of audience members I had anticipated, I was pleased with the quality of the programs and the program's engagement with participants.
Give yourself as much planning ahead of time as you can. When replicating this program in the future, I plan to extend the time for planning to nine months ahead in order to have enough time to reach school leaders, arrange visits and plan activities.
If libraries in North Carolina are interested in receiving an exhibition on "The Green Book," check out the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission's Green Book Project.