By Seraine Page
Every October, the Kitsap Regional Library Committee selects one book and invites all of the county to connect by reading it, together.
This year, the book chosen is “The Leisure Seeker,” which follows couple Ella and John on one last road trip in their lives.
For a new program related to the book giveaway, “One Book, One Community” copies were released into Kitsap County in a variety of places that most people wouldn’t expect, Jeannie Allen, KRL’s marketing manager said. Each book is labeled with a “Read and Release” sticker, asking the reader to pick up the book, read it and pass it on.
“We had a lot of fun hiding the books all over the place,” Allen said. “Imagining how people would find them is kinda fun.”
Allen and about five staff members went out for a day to distribute the books in the community. The books were hung from trees, placed on benches, handed out and — Allen’s favorite — tossed into a fountain. The marketing manager stuffed 25 books into large balloons with battery-powered tea light “candles” and placed them into the Bremerton Harborside Fountain at dusk.
“There’s something magical about the whole ‘pass it on, pay it forward’ movement,” she said.
For those picking up a copy of the book, inside is a label asking the reader to enter a tracking number on www.bookcrossing.com. The reader then has the opportunity to see where their book has gone, and see what the previous reader thought of it.
One book has already made it through four stops since the release party in July, Allen said. The library staff is hoping people will pick up the 288-page book prior to all the book-related events starting Oct. 1.
To further build excitement, the library will also provide a variety of programs appropriate for different ages to encourage book “conversations.” Some of the events include scrapbooking to preserve family photos, and author appearances throughout the month of October. The events are a way to stimulate communication, as a community, about the book, Allen said.
Michael Zadoorian, the author of “The Leisure Seeker,” will be at the Fall at the Mall event on Oct. 19. The event will be a conversation between Zadoorian and Terry Tazioli, a journalist and host of the television show “Well Read.”
The author will also make an appearance at the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation’s signature Author! Author! event, hosted by best-selling Seattle7Writers author Jennie Shortridge, and will lead a book discussion at McCormick Woods with Susan Brown Trinidad, according to the KRL website.
Some readers, like Colleen Branaman, got overexcited about the book and its related events.
While some readers have placed their books on benches and other obvious locations, Branaman got a little bit more creative with how she chose to pass her book along to the next reader in the community.
Branaman, a KRL library assistant, swam out to a floating dock in Manzanita Bay. To draw attention to what she was doing, she placed the book in airtight, waterproof bags, placed it on a float, and tied balloons to it so it could float as she swam.
“There’s just a lot of activity at the dock. I thought, ‘Hey, this is a gathering place,’ ” she said of choosing her location. She has been tracking the book online, but said she is disappointed that no one has entered into the log that they read it to indicate where the book has gone.
The library assistant said she enjoyed every minute of the book, and believes that many in the community can relate to its topics. As someone with a gerontology degree, she found it extremely enlightening.
“I thought it was hilarious while dealing with difficult issues that a lot of people are having a hard time,” she said. “I think it is incredibly realistic and I was really impressed how well he was able to make the book light-hearted.”
Although her experience in passing off the book was a little extreme, she hopes locals will reach out and get the book because it is in easy-to-reach locations. Branaman admits she isn’t the most confident person, but somehow her confidence was boosted through her interactions with something as simple as trying to hand off a book.
Through her experiences of buying the balloons, the floatation device and making her swim, Branaman estimated she spoke to more than a dozen people about the program because of garnering attention through what she was doing.
“The point is to get people to know about it,” she said of dropping the book off in a unique location. “You don’t have to go swim out to my dock to get the book. You can go to the library to get to the book. I think it is a good book for the community because it challenges them and their perceptions. Whether they want to read the book or not, they should give the book a chance.”
Log on to www.KLR.org to find out more.
— Seraine Page is a staff writer for the Bremerton Patriot/Central Kitsap Reporter. Contact her at email@example.com