By Chris Bournea
ThisWeek Community News
The Bexley Community Book Club will host the final author visit under the program’s original incarnation when National Book Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson visits this December.
Next year, the Bexley Community Book Club will transition from a Bexley Education Foundation program and become the Bexley Community Author Series, a new signature program of the Bexley Public Library.
The club will host Woodson at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 in Bexley High School’s Schottenstein Theatre, 326 S. Cassingham Road.
The book club began nine years ago under the auspices of the Bexley Education Foundation with support from its emeritus board member, Linda Kass. The book club made a point of hosting notable authors each year, including James McBride (2015), Jennifer Egan (2013) and Jonathan Safran Foer (2012).
The book club committee includes teachers and parents from the Bexley City Schools and the Bexley Public Library director, who selected the featured authors each year, said Pamela Glasgow, executive director of the Bexley Education Foundation.
“We like to look at the author’s whole body of work,” she said. “We selected Jacqueline Woodson on her work as a young-adult author.”
Woodson, who was born in Columbus and now lives in New York City, is the author of the memoir “Brown Girl Dreaming” and the critically acclaimed new novel “Another Brooklyn.”
“She’s been on the list for a while,” Glasgow said. “We’re excited that she has Columbus ties.”
A newly created program at the Bexley Community Foundation, the Bexley Public Library Community Author Series Fund will support the long-term sustainability of the author series. In 2017, the Bexley Community Book Club program will be administered by the library, Glasgow said.
“The initiative has grown beyond the school’s walls,” she said. “It’s been embraced by the whole community. We realized it was time to let it move on to its next phase.”
The author series fits with the Bexley Community Foundation’s mission of creating community partnerships, said Hallie Raskin, the foundation’s executive director.
“It’s a communitywide program, and that’s what we’re all about,” she said. “We love partnering with the library and bringing that sense of community.”
The inaugural author visit for the Bexley Community Author Series will feature award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author Colson Whitehead at 7 p.m. April 25, also at the high school’s Schottensein Theatre. Whitehead, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, is the author of “The Underground Railroad,” an Oprah’s Book Club selection.
“When the Bexley Education Foundation brought the opportunity to transition this annual author series to become a signature program of the library, we were eager to say yes,” said Ken Flower, the library’s director of advancement and community relations. “We will continue to bring nationally recognized notable authors to Bexley to inspire reading and ultimately enlighten, engage and inspire our community of lifelong learners.”
Giant Eagle will continue to be the presenting sponsor for the series and the library and Bexley Community Foundation will collect donations to help the program grow, Flower said.
“The goal would be that it will cover the cost of the event and build up the fund to sustain the program in the long-term,” he said.
For more information about Woodson’s appearance, visit bexleyeducationfoundation.org. For more information about Whitehead’s appearance, visit bexleylibrary.org.