Weather Forecast


Library to host county-wide book program

The cover of "Choosing Civility" by P.M. Forni. The book is being used in the "One County, One Book" program. Submitted graphic

Ever wish your book club could be a little larger, and maybe a little more interactive?

Stafford Library is giving you the opportunity.

The county library recently debuted its "One County, One Book" program, where the library is encouraging residents to read the same title during the first several months of 2009.

The book county library staff selected for the program is Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct by acclaimed Johns Hopkins University Prof. P.M. Forni.

From now up until April 21, county residents can borrow the 208-page book from any library in Washington County. And on April 21, Forni will be visiting Stafford Library to discuss the book and his civility initiative. More than 200 copies were made available for the event, said Stafford Library branch manager Chad Lubbers.

"It's a really interesting topic, and relatively small book too," Lubbers said. "So we expect people won't have a hard time getting a chance to checkout the book before (the April 21 event)."

The program, including the purchase of the books, is being entirely sponsored by the RAFT Charitable Foundation, said Joe Manion, public services division manager for the Washington County Library system.

"This program is really about people coming together through the reading and discussion of a single book," said Manion, who added that many of the book clubs at the various branched in the county will read and discuss the book leading up to the April 21 event.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted Feb. 10 to officially endorse program.

Creating a civil discourse

Although the decision to host the program was made before the Nov. 4 presidential election, Lubbers said the chosen book and topic and the upcoming discussion may be of pertinent interest given the "new presidential administration's public push for volunteerism and civic engagement."

County library director Pat Conley chose the book and decided it would be a good idea to bring the author in as well, Lubbers said.

"If we were going to do a county-wide book program, we thought we it would be a good idea to tie it into something that has the potential to affect everybody in the community," Lubbers said.

Washington County Libraries officials decided to model the program after a similar community reading project in Howard and Montgomery counties in Maryland.

The Choosing Civility has been a featured read in numerous high school and college classrooms around the country.

The county library has also set up a page on its website where those who participate in the "One County, One Book" program can engage in discourse on the topic of civility.

One of the first entries on the topic is a note about people who don't clean up their dog mess.

For more information on Washington County Library's "One County, One Book" program and the P.M. Forni's Choosing Civility, go to: