One Book, One County 2018
Summary of events and outcomes
A Journey to Community Health and Healing through the reading and exploration of Sam Quinones’ book, Dreamland
As an inaugural One Book, One County project, Ashtabula County District Library (ACDL) partnered with several agencies across the county including representatives from LEADERship Ashtabula, Ashtabula County Mental Health and Recovery Board, Kent State University Ashtabula, Community Counseling Center, Signature Health, Geneva City Council, and all public libraries—specifically Grand Valley Public Library and Rock Creek Public Library, to bring author and journalist Sam Quinones to our community for a speaking engagement. Mr. Quinones’ visit was to be the culminating event of our One Book, One County’s “A Journey to Community Health and Healing through the reading and exploration of Sam Quinones’ book, Dreamland.” This One Book, One County initiative built upon this summer’s “Opioids in Communities: Libraries in Response” program sponsored across the state.
Ashtabula County’s experience with opioids and the ongoing opioid epidemic has been long and extensive. The goal of this One Book, One County project was to make a positive impact across the entire county by encouraging the exploration and discussion of such topics as: “How did we get here?”, reducing stigma associated with addiction, prevention efforts, availability of treatment, and effective law enforcement. We hoped to engage individuals from high school age to the most senior of seniors.
We Do Recovery
One hundred fifty-two individuals attended screenings of Signature Health’s We Do Recovery video (Highlights edition) held at the Ashtabula Public Library, Lenox Township Community Center, Austinburg Town Hall, and Henderson Public Library. One hundred percent of the survey respondents (37% of participants) answered, “Yes, it really did” to the following questions, “Today’s program helped me to better understand the issue of opioid use in our community” and “This program helped me to understand the challenges associated with opioid addiction and sobriety.” Each screening was powerful and moving, and brought about significant discussion from the audience. Please find the full results of the survey administered immediately after these events at https://www.surveymonkey.com/stories/SM-FRVJZGJ8/.
Individuals whose lives are depicted in the video participated in a panel discussion after the screening at the Ashtabula Public Library. And Taylor Cleveland, a detective with the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department and member of the Trumbull-Ashtabula Group (TAG) Drug Task force attended two of the video screenings held out in the community. He shared current approaches Ashtabula County law enforcement, social service agencies, and the judicial system are using to combat the results of opioid addiction in our county. He also answered questions from the audience.
Penny was given the opportunity to kick-off the One Book, One County event by presenting at the Ashtabula Profiles Breakfast. Her discussion included the premise behind a community read as well as to share an overview of the title, Dreamland. Hidden in Plain Sight, sponsored by the Ashtabula County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board and held in the Jefferson High School auditorium drew 49 attendees; and 15 individuals shared their thoughts at book reviews conducted at the Ashtabula Public Library and the Geneva Public Library.
Sam Quinones presentation
More than 650 people came out to hear Sam Quinones speak, and we saw a nearly 50% response rate (317) to the survey administered directly after the presentation. Area mental health and recovery services organizations were given space and opportunity to share information and resources with attendees. Detective Taylor Cleveland closed out the evening with an update on what is currently happening in our county and the creative and effective approaches law enforcement, in conjunction with social service agencies and the judicial system, are taking to elicit positive change to our area.
Newspaper coverage headlines included, “A community effort is needed to fight heroin epidemic, says author Sam Quinones”; “Dreamland author Sam Quinones speaks to a packed house at Lakeside High School auditorium”; “Community only ‘Silver Bullet’: author speaks on drug epidemic, how to turn it around”.
95.57% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed to the statement, “The instructional offering I attended today improved my knowledge.”
90.5% of attendees agreed or strongly agreed that they would be able to apply the knowledge learned.
98.17% indicated that they planned to attend future library instructional programs, and
83.81% of respondents planned to use other library services based on their experience at the One Book, One County author event.
While 66.32% of attendees were over the age of 50 years, 18.37% were between the ages of 36 and 50; 9.86% were 25 to 35, and 5.44% were 24 years or younger.
An extremely well-attended meet-n-greet with the author was held prior to the event.
The Kent State University Ashtabula bookstore sold 58 copies of the title (37 at the event), and the ACDL sold an additional 20 copies. In analyzing circulation data, we estimate that the physical book form of Dreamland was checked out from ACDL more than 100 times during the One Book, One County initiative.
ACDL was able to work with Sam Quinones and the State Library of Ohio to secure a Book Club edition of the title for the month of September. The first five (5) days Dreamland was highlighted on Overdrive (ebook platform) saw over 484 checkouts across the state. Thirty electronic versions of the title were checked out to ACDL patrons during the course of the One Book, One Community initiative.
The planning committee’s goal in presenting this One Book, One County project was to engage a total of 500 people across the county during a six-week initiative. With over 650 people attending the Quinones event, the total number of individuals engaged topped 925. Feedback from the community was overwhelmingly positive, with multiple requests for like events in the future. It is evident in the numbers recorded above that the topic addressed was vitally important to the county, and the community embraced the opportunity to expand their understanding of the problem and potential solutions.
We believe the author visit was a success because the topic was timely and of vital importance to the community. Any further One Book, One County planning should strongly consider this insight. Though certainly, the momentum to offer another One Book, One County initiative is clearly evident, the ACDL would encourage a second attempt only if another “perfect” title would immerge.
Aside from the professional printing of bookmarks celebrating upcoming events, the only marketing utilized was in-house signage, social media (primarily Facebook), wonderful and thorough coverage by the Star Beacon and Gazette newspapers, and word-of-mouth.
Matthew Butler, Community Counseling Center
Janice Despenes, Rock Creek Public Library
Amanda Dolan, Kent State University Ashtabula
Susan Hagan, Geneva City Council
Laura Jones, LEADERship Ashtabula
Penny Neubauer, Ashtabula County District Library
Kaitie Park, Ashtabula County Prevention Coalition
Cheryl Selby, Grand Valley Public Library
Special thanks to:
Dr. Mark Potts and Pamela Peck, Ashtabula Area City Schools
Det. Taylor Cleveland, Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office
Bev Follin, Henderson Memorial Public Library
Taylor Parana, Kent State University Ashtabula Bookstore
Gail Castrilla, Signature Health
Extra special thanks to members of the Board of Trustees and the incredible staff of the Ashtabula County District Library.