15 libraries and a bookstore come together for One Book One Valley

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Organized through the cooperative efforts of libraries, schools, and organizations in the Mount Washington Valley, One Book, One Valley is an annual community reading program that aims to strengthen community ties, promote literacy through a shared reading experience, and encourage wide-spread discussion of a common book throughout region. For 2019, the program’s 14th anniversary, conveners selected Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of An American Family by journalist Amy Ellis Nutt, which explores one family’ s experience with the transition of their son to a girl named Nicole. The organizers selected this book to initiate conversations about the transgendered people’s lived experiences and more broadly, to prompt individuals of all genders to reflect on their gender and gender identity.

During the fall of 2019, 368 people participated in the range of programs hosted by the partner libraries and organizations. These included a Gender 101 lecture, a film screening and community discussions with transgender people. The program culminated with an author talk with Amy Ellis Nutt. At the end of the series, participants expressed their appreciation for the program and how they gained a "better understanding of another slice of the human experience.”

“The most meaningful outcome [from this program] has been the deep gratitude of local transgender persons and their families. I have heard from a transgender woman who expressed how much this year’s program made her feel accepted and gave a natural way for her to share information about what it means to be a transgender woman. One grandmother of a transgender teen was grateful for the education component and the conversations that were informed by the reading of the book. One longtime member of the community, a transgender woman, told one of our librarians how she felt “seen” for the first time. One grandfather who had just learned that his grandchild came out as transgender came to a program looking for information on what that means.”

– Mary Cronin, Project Director

For more information about Community Project Grants, please visit www.nhhumanities.org/grants.