Earlier this year, we announced American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins as our 2020 One Book, Everybody Reads selection. In the time since that announcement, the book has been the target of wide-ranging attention. While debuting at #1 on the New York Times best-seller list and being selected by Oprah's Book Club, the novel has drawn criticism from the Latinx community and has raised concerns about representation and equity in the publishing industry. Citing safety concerns over threats to the author, the book's publisher, Flatiron Books, cancelled the author’s book tour, on which our One Book event was a planned stop in May. After much discussion and reflection, we decided that without our signature culminating author event, we would not go forward with our regular One Book programming this spring.
We know that many of our patrons have read or are planning to read American Dirt. We recognize that this work of fiction and the conversations people are having about it are timely and complex. We believe that public libraries are uniquely positioned to serve as the community's living room and provide a civil forum for people to come together to discuss ideas and literature. Therefore, we are choosing to present select events from our planned One Book series to provide additional context to the story. To offer a place for our community to have meaningful conversations, we will continue to facilitate book discussions about American Dirt. Our goal is to remain open, aware, and sensitive to the range of issues that surround this book. We hope to come together as a community to develop a better understanding of the many points of view surrounding the story, its publication, and this moment in our history.
Stay tuned for further updates.
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