Timberland Reads Together 2005 - Final Report
Five winners were drawn and notified, one from each of Timberland's five counties, to receive a copy of Sue Monk Kidd's new book, The Mermaid Chair.
The end of October brought about the final events of the Timberland Reads Together / The Secret Life of Bees project which, by all patron evaluations, was a resounding success. All of the ratings were at least "Good" with most at "Excellent" or "Very Good."
According to staff evaluations there were at least 1450 participants in large events like Book-It Theatre and Jenna Lamia, book discussion groups across the district, and bee-related programs. Use of the print format of the book alone reached over 2,000 circulations and continues to climb as people’s curiosity has been stimulated by these programs. Hits on the Timberland Reads Together website reached 9,500 over 4.5 months.
Fundraising garnered about $4800 including $2500 from a Humanities Washington grant. Support worth several thousand dollars from sponsors and partners helped to eliminate the cost for some of the big event venues and most of the local media really came through in getting the word out. The district’s Friends groups were also generous with their refreshments.
People want more of something like this for this comment was mentioned over and over on evaluations and in person. Based on further analysis of data Timberland will determine what kinds of programs seem to fill the need – author events, book discussion, or combinations. There is definitely a demand for like programs and Timberland will find similar ways to build on the momentum, enthusiasm, and visibility.
The following are just a few of the comments in response to how the program changed the patrons’ views of their communities:
"I feel very grateful to live where I do and to feel a part of this community. People here are generous to one another just as most of the characters were in this book."
"I am meeting old friends and new people around new opportunities and events. This is enriching and broadening. I enjoy visiting other libraries in the TRL system."
"These events are essential for a well-rounded and well-educated community. The response shows that this community is worthwhile living in. Library does a fantastic job. Thank you all."