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April 17, 2021

One book, one community

– It’s hardly censorship, but Silicon Valley residents will get
a chance this fall to decide what their neighbors can read.
GILROY – It’s hardly censorship, but Silicon Valley residents will get a chance this fall to decide what their neighbors can read.

The San Jose Public Library Foundation and the Santa Clara County Office of Education are launching the program called Silicon Valley Reads: One Book, One Community. The vision of the program is to have Silicon Valley residents reading the same book at the same time and begin a community-wide discussion around a common theme.

“Silicon Valley Reads is similar to other successful nationwide initiatives, yet it differs in that the public will be asked to vote on the one book the community will read,” said county Superintendent of Schools Colleen Wilcox, in a written statement.

Organizers announced the three book finalists last week. They are “Catfish and Mandala” by Andrew X. Pham, “Breaking Through” by Francisco Jiminez and “The Bonesetter’s Daughter” by Amy Tan. Nominations were solicited from public and high school librarians and community leaders throughout Santa Clara County.

A Silicon Valley Reads community advisory board decided upon the final three books, selected for public voting.

The public can vote for their preferred novel by logging on to or by going to a San Jose Public Library. Votes can be cast now through Oct. 31 with the final selection to be announced Sunday, Nov. 17. Participants do not have to read the entire book before casting their vote.

Book finalists were selected based on the following criteria: reflects universal issues that people in Silicon Valley face regularly; appeals to an audience that is marked by broad diversity (e.g., cultural, ethnic, demographic, geographic, education, life experience); is widely available in print, specifically in paperback and preferably on tape as well and available in multiple languages; is appropriate both for adults and young adults.

From November through December, organizers will create discussion guidelines and develop a curriculum that can be used by teachers. In January and February, community-wide book readings and discussions will be placed throughout the valley with facilitators available at various locations.

Karen Storey, program coordinator, in public libraries and schools said discussion sites have not yet been confirmed, but would most likely be hosted by libraries and schools.

“We’re trying to get any regularly established reading groups to participate,” Storey said. “Getting the actual locations set up, that’s the next step in outreach process.”

Anyone interested in hosting discussions can call Storey at 298-5381.

“There seems to be a huge need for people-to-people contact,” said Storey. “The discussions I think will be a catalyst for that and in the process people will be learning about each other, not just the book. I’m quite interested to see what evolves out of this process.”

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