In The News

J-S LETTER: Community reading effort was a success

This article originally appeared in the Journal-Standard

Freeport, Ill. —

Thank you to everyone in the Freeport area for participating in the first One Book, One Freeport program. This program was designed to encourage reading and foster a sense of community. Your response to the free book giveaways and your attendance at the scheduled events was a testament to the level of local interest.

This program was made possible through donations from a variety of sources. Many local citizens and organizations provided financial support. Grants were received from Freeport Public Library Foundation, Freeport Community Foundation, te Freeport Art Museum, and Illinois Humanities Council. In addition, major donations were received from Barnes & Noble, The Journal-Standard and FHN.

We would be remiss if we failed to mention the partnering agencies that made this program possible. Dr. Ed Finch not only presented one of the programs. He and the Stephenson County Historical Society staff prepared an exhibit open to the public at Stephenson County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Visitor’s Center during January and February. Other local groups that provided help and support include Freeport Art Museum, Boys and Girls Club, Freeport School District, Aquin High School, Stephenson County Convention and Visitor’s Center and Highland Community College.

The program was a success based on any measurement selected. We hoped to distribute 500 copies of Playing with the Enemy.” The final count was 1,062 copies distributed. We averaged more than 125 people at the six major programs. Those were: Art “Superman” Pennington talking about the Negro Leagues, Keith Gill on the U-505 that was in the book and is now on display at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, Dr. Ed Finch on what was happening in Freeport during World War II, Helen Wyatt on the Rockford Peaches and American Girls Baseball League, and Mark Herman presenting a living history of baseball before 1900. The final program was the presentation by Gary Moore, author of “Playing with the Enemy.” In addition to the evening program, Mr. Moore also met with and gave three motivational speeches to students at Freeport High School and Aquin High School who were reading his book in their classes.

The best comments we have received have been the many people who have reported reading the book and then passing it along to their family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

The next One Book, One Freeport will be in two years. Planning for the 2013 One Book, One Freeport will begin next winter; however, and we are looking for suggestions for the next book. Suggestions can be left at Freeport Public Library.