Read Across Texas – Know Your Neighbor: Cultivating Communities of Compassion – Webinar

>>Rebekah: Well, hello,
everyone, and welcome to the Read Across Texas
webinar for 2019. The title is Read Across Texas. The theme for this year is:
“Know your neighbor, cultivating communities of compassion”, and
we are so glad that all of you are joining us today, even
though I can’t see you, just know I’m waving at each of you. Just a little background before
we dive into this presentation, the Read Across Texas
happens every two years. So our first one ever was two
years ago in 2017, and it was Read Across Texas, The
Veteran Experience. And we are very excited about
this year’s theme, and so welcome to the webinar with the
Texas Center for the Book at the Texas State Library and
Archives Commission. Just really, really
excited to do this webinar. So we’re going to go
ahead and jump right in. I’ll also introduce my
copresenter, and if you’re joining us for the first time
and you have no idea what the Texas Center for the Book is
or the Texas State Library and Archives Commission or any of
those pieces, never fear, we’ll be explaining all that as well. So thank you again for
being here with us. And, again, my name
is Rebekah Manley. So who are we? So imagine that we are in
front of you right now. You know what, just imagine
we’re having coffee and we’re — we’re talking about — coffee or
tea and we’re just talking about the subject, just us and you. These are the faces you’d see. So I’m Rebekah. I’m the coordinator for the
Texas Center for the Book. And time permitting, I’ll share
a little bit more about the Texas Center for the Book,
but for now, just so you know, there’s actually a Texas Center
for the Book in every state. There’s Texas Center for the
Book National at the Library of Congress and we each have our
affiliates, and ours for the State of Texas is with the
Texas State Library and Archives Commission. So I am the coordinator and
I have a passion for the job, which is all about increasing
literacy, reading and library use, and I’m very excited to
have our copresenter today, Dr. Veninga, and I’m going to
let her share a little bit about herself.>>Jennifer: Thanks so much,
Rebekah, and thanks to Naomi for setting all of this up. And it is great to, quote,
unquote, “see” all of you there. And I just love the idea that
we’re just all sitting around drinking a latte together. So that’s what I’m imagining. So feel free to call me Jenny. I have been teaching at St.
Edward’s University here in Austin since 2010, and I’ll say
a bit more about my courses in just a second. I am a native Texan, so I lived
on the east coast and the west coast to do graduate school,
and then moved back here to the great State of Texas and
to Austin to take my job at St. Edward’s. So I am excited
to be here today. And will tell you a little
bit more in just a moment.>>Rebekah: Thank you so much. That was perfect. So we have “Who are we?” And then we have
“Why are we here?” which is a little
bit repetitive. But we thought it would be fun,
you know, the who and the why and the what. So I’m here because as the
coordinator, I oversee Read Across Texas. And it’s really important, you
know, if you go and look in the website, which I’m sure you have
or you will, we try to make it very, very, very
self-explanatory. And we’ll go through all
the different pieces of that toolkit, but also isn’t it more
fun to talk about it over some coffee or tea and just to
make sure that y’all get your questions answered and we want
to make sure that we make this process as easy and as
approachable as possible for you, your library, your
nonprofit, your school to participate in
Read Across Texas. So I’m here because I have a
passion for this and I just want to share it with you.>>Jennifer: Great. And I am here also because I
have a passion for the topics that Rebekah and the folks here
are going to be discussing. So as I mentioned, I teach
at St. Edward’s University. I teach a number of courses. I teach a lot of sections of
Introduction to world Religions, but I also teach some courses
on Pluralism in Religion, and as you see, a couple called
neighbors and strangers, and then one on religion,
violence and community. I love teaching these courses,
they’re challenging, I learn about them, and they certainly
relate to topics of compassion and the neighbor. And I just recently had the
fortune of meeting Rebekah because one of my dear students,
Maddie, who is sitting in with us today, was in one of these
courses and she’s been working here with Rebekah. And so she introduced us. And I’m just so
grateful that she did. And, again, glad to be here.>>Rebekah: Yes. Thank you. So that’s a fun little story
we’ll share just a tiny bit. So Maddie has been a volunteer
at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission going on
three years, two to three years, and we were talking about the
theme and the books we were considering and one of the
books we’ll talk about, and I mentioned one of the books. And it — Maddie said, oh, we
talked about that in our class. And I said, in your class? I said what class? She said, oh, a neighbors
and strangers class. I said, I may need to
talk to that professor. I want to make sure that we’re
— you know, we’re doing a service to the book and to the
questions and then that’s how we got connected. So that was a fun story, and
it’s also — I think it’s really been helpful for me, and we’re
going to go more into this, but just your approach to the way
you run your classes, Jenny, and the way — you know, the subject
is very thoughtful and we want to be thoughtful
about this as well. So where are we? So you can picture
us, we’re not here. That’s St. Ed’s, but
isn’t it beautiful? I thought you’d like to see it. We are right across from the
Capitol, so if you’re looking at the State Capitol, you just look
to the right, the east side, and that is the Texas State Library
and Archives Commission, so come visit us if you haven’t already. And then I like this — this
picture, because it shows the banner of the
Center for the Book. And, again, I’m going to go into
the Center for the Book even more if we have time, but this
is just a slide for you to get to that main Center
for the Book page. And, you know, if you’re super
social media savvy and you want to be sharing about
this webinar, feel free. There’s some information for you
for social media, or if you just want to connect with us online
later, we’d love to be connected with you. So let’s go over
some goals, shall we? Goals are always good. So the goals for today’s
session, number one, to make sure you have an understanding
of the Texas Center for the Book and the specifics of the
Read Across Texas program. We want you to feel super
confident in applying for those books, and then once you do
that, we want to make sure that you know how to navigate those
resources we have for y’all. We’re going to get some great
insight from Dr. Veninga on tips to navigate those community
discussions, and then bonus, if we have time, we’ll share more
about the Texas Center for the Books resources. I think they sound like
approachable, good goals. So it’s really important to me
when I’m doing a presentation to make sure that I share with
y’all, okay, here’s the information, but here’s how you
can get back to this information later. So let’s say you misplace this
PowerPoint, here’s where you can find it. So the Texas State Library and
Archives Commission website, is right here,
and right here is the Texas Center for the Book tab. So when you click on that,
you’ll get to this URL, and I’m going to go ahead and just
take you into the website. This is the Texas Center for the
Book page, scroll down, you see lots of fun things, but all you
have to focus on right now is front, top and center. This is the Read Across Texas
tab, and that takes you into the website. So what I’m going to do is I’m
going to share these resources, you know, fairly deeply, but not
word for word, because I know that y’all can go back and read
whatever you want to read more about. But I do want to unpack this
for you so you know what we have available for you. So we do have a how-to guide,
a frequently asked questions, place for you to register, apply
for books, I’ll explain those. More resources, and
participating locations. And before we go off this front
page, I want you to see our suggested reads. So a question I know we’re going
to get, so I just want to talk about it right now, is how
did you choose the books? Well, we really, really
think about this. We go for whatever theme we
want, so we’ve been actually talking about this theme, Know
Your Neighbor, for over two years now, and we reached out
to a lot of book lovers, trusted book lovers, librarians,
educators, and we said, you know, this is the theme we’re
thinking, can you please offer suggestions. And we got a lot of
amazing suggestions. And ultimately, we wanted
to make sure we chose four different books, so that each
community could choose a book that worked best for them. So we do a fiction, and I’ll
let y’all read more about these books later. Fiction, A Man Called
Ove, Tattoos on the Heart, nonfiction; Dreamers, which is
a picture book; and The Strange, which is a graphic novel. Two years ago we had — instead
of having a picture book, we had short stories, and we felt like
it was important, especially for this particular read, to have a
picture book because this is a picture book that can work
for adults and for children, depending on what your
discussion group looks like. And I’m going to go into that
a little bit more when I talk about the resources, but we
really wanted to have four solid choices, because as y’all know,
Texas is a big state, and every community looks different. But we wanted to choose four
different books that could fit into however you wanted to have
your — your discussion and theme around Knowing
Your Neighbor. So let’s start with the
how-to guide, shall we? So we talk about planning your
program, finding a community partner. We’re not stressing the
community partner as much this time. Two years ago when we did the
Veteran Experience, we made it required for you to have
a community partner. As you can imagine, it was
really important to make sure we had strong partnerships within
the veteran community, wherever you were in Texas. We still find this part to
be really important, so we’re actually going to have a section
on this webinar a little bit later where we talk about
partners, so please be thinking of who you think could be a good
partner for you, because I’m going to ask that question. We talk about, you know, this is
Know Your Neighbor, so finding a good community partner is a
lot like getting to know your neighbor and creating those
partnerships within your community. That goes into it a little
bit more after the program. Feel free to dig deeper
with your partnership. And then we have apply for books
and register on our website. Now, as y’all are going to see
when I go over the other red tabs, we have some repetitions
because some of you may just go to — just might want to know
the how-to guide, some of you may want to know the FAQs,
so there will be a little repetition, but the apply for
books is really important to do first. And that’s why we
have it first here. And I’m going to go
through that with y’all. The register on the website,
that is important, but you don’t have to worry about that
as a first priority. The first thing you want
to do is apply for books. And I’m going to actually go
through just a little bit later of some successful book
applications, some ones that we’ve gotten and they have
already received the grant. So if you’re looking for
examples of programs or what has worked or what we think are good
ideas, I’m going to go through that in a little bit as well. So I would say do not
wait to apply for books. You want to do that now, because
our resources are limited. And your program will be shaped
a little bit later on, so if you don’t know everything you’re
going to do, that’s okay. You will later register and go
into more details on what your program will look like. Okay. Frequently asked questions,
where do we get the materials? Right here. Yay, on this website. So we have the materials that we
think y’all will need for this, and, of course, you can add
to that however you see fit. How do you choose the books? We talked about
that a little bit. We also do have a
supplemental book list. So from the suggestions that we
received that did — that did not become our featured reads,
we’ve added to that, and if you have any worthy titles that you
think would fit with the theme Know Your Neighbor,
please e-mail me. You’ll get my e-mail
at the end of this. I’d love to make sure that
that list is as extensive as possible. So where do we register and can
we see what libraries around the state, what they’re doing,
how they’re participating? So, yes. You will use this link to
register, or this link, same link. And you will register,
which I will show you. And we also have an interactive
map that you’ll be able to see where the programs
are happening. You do not have to use the
recommended books, but we only have grants for those
four — those four books. And so in order to give you
complimentary books, it has to be one of the four titles. So please apply. This is made possible by the
friends of the libraries and archives of Texas, this
initiative, and so if you want to donate so we can give more
books out or do more in the future, you can feel
free to visit their site. I actually received an e-mail
this morning, like is this just for adults? Is this just for children? This Read Across Texas I think
lends itself to all ages. The discussion can be
intergenerational, they can be at the community library, they
could be at a school, they could be however you want it. The sky is kind of the limit,
which is kind of fun that we have a sky as part of our logo. I will say some of for sure
Dreamers is good for children. I’d say the other ones, you’d
want to make sure you read over to make sure it’s appropriate
for the particular set of children that — and/or teens
that you’re working with. So let’s say you’re on this
webinar and you’re like, okay, I’m so excited about this, I
want to be sure to be a part of it, but I don’t know where
something’s happening, feel free to contact your local library. Your church, your nonprofit, and
— and, you know, you can create a book discussion and
apply for books as well. If you don’t have something
planned in your community, there’s a way to do that. And some of you might be
wondering, okay, I did the Veteran Experiences one, are
all those resources gone? They are not. You can still get all those
resources from the Veteran Experience Read Across Texas. So registration, I’m not going
to spend a lot of time on this. It’s pretty self-explanatory,
but here is the very simple form. We try to make it as
simple as possible. Let’s say you register and you
have something different you want to put in your program,
like wait, wait, wait, we changed the date or we have this
really great speaker coming and you want us to know about it,
just reregister and we’ll update your — we’ll update
your registration. And we have an amazing web
master here, Mike Avila, at the Texas State Library, and what
he does is he takes those registrations — and I’m going
to skip — we’ll go to apply to books and resources in a second. And this is what happens
with your registration. It goes on this incredible map,
because, guys, this is Read Across Texas. So it’s happening all over
Texas, isn’t that fun? So you can see what’s happening
in your area, you can get ideas for all the different — for the
different Read Across Texases going on. So it’s really fun
and we love this map. So let me — let’s
get out of that. Go back to the main page. Okay. Apply for books. In just a second, I’m going
to go over some successful applications, but I want to make
sure that I make this as simple — we make this as simple
as possible, so when you’re applying for books, guys, let me
just do a quick scroll, that’s all you’ve got to do. It’s not pages and pages. We’re not asking you to, you
know, offer, you know, books and books, books worth of
information about your program. We really want this to be so
simple, because the odds are, if you’re on this webinar right
now, you already are doing the job of multiple people, you
think this is such a delightful theme, I want to be a part of
it, but how much extra work will it be for you — for me. The answer is, I hope not much. When you apply for books, you’re
just agreeing to a few things. You’re going to register your
program, you’re going to make sure that we have photos, you’re
going to share the photos and post on social media, and then
at the end, you’re going to provide an event summary and
some proof of contact that you mentioned the program
to local media. And all these things, don’t
you worry, once you receive the books, I’ll be sending you out
a reminder and these are all pieces that we’re going to get
from a survey at the very end. So you don’t even have to stress
about that, but just keep all these things in mind. So you fill out the name of your
library organization, we, of course, need your
shipping information. Again, super self-explanatory. We have the community
partners in there as well. We’re asking when your program
is, you don’t have to know exactly when it is, we just say
that if you are applying and receiving books, we need you to
do the program within this 2019 calendar year. The bulk of these programs are
taking place during the spring and summer. And then, of course, we need to
know which book you’re applying for. And then I showed you the
participating locations. I’m going to go into some more
applications in just a second, but I’m wondering, Naomi, are
there any questions on the applications that we should talk
about at this time before we move further? I don’t want anyone to have a
question that they’re dying to ask and, you know,
don’t get answered.>>Naomi: Yes, Rebekah. Somebody is asking, so can they
only choose one of the four books in their application?>>Rebekah: Yes. That’s an excellent question. It’s almost like
we planted that. Yes. So you — for the book grants,
it’s just one of the books. So you’ll pick one book
and you will get 10 copies. Excellent question. Yeah, just — just — you
just have to choose one book. And that — I will say that
there are programs that are doing multiple books, so some
are combining Dreamers with our graphic novel The Strange, and
in that case they’re applying for The Strange because they
know that they just need maybe one copy of Dreamers which they
can get elsewhere, but the 10 grant books they’re going to
get from us of The Strange. So when you’re applying, yes,
you just have to — you just choose one.>>Naomi: Great. Thank you. That’s all I have right now.>>Rebekah: Okay. Wonderful. So I’m going to go into —
actually, you know what? I’m going — I’m going to
talk about resources in just a second, but I want to go back
to our — to our slides to talk about — while we’re on the
subject of applying, so example of approved applications. So here’s one from a public
librarian, so I’m going to do some example from all
different librarians. So we plan to start the Read
Across Texas program with the book Tattoos in the Heart by
Gregory Boyle as a description and the genre matches the
interest of a large majority of our regular patrons. The program will be tied to our
summer kickoff and will help promote our adult reading
program as it is only our second year to offer an adult program. The program will either take
place in late May or early June of 2019 to coincide with
summer reading events. And then this librarian
goes into even more detail. There’s considerable interest
in the program, we’ll extend it. I’m not going to read all of it. But they also talk about their
current adult program and then they give even more example
on how the resources that we provide will help
with their program. And if the program is — you
know, is — has a lot of — a lot of push and excitement
behind it, they’re going to extend it even more and
maybe do some movies. So as y’all can see, this is
a pretty strong application example. Not all of them are this
extensive, but we’ll read — we’ll read an application like
that and we’ll immediately say yes! We cannot wait! Because we know that this
applicant is super excited and they’re going to do whatever
they can to make the program a success. And I want to say before I
continue with more examples, sky’s the limit,
like we said before. We don’t want y’all to feel like
you have to do your program a certain way. And I don’t want any of these to
sway you, if you’re thinking one thing to do your
program a different way. I just wanted to offer some
concrete examples if you didn’t have any idea of what you
might do for your programs. So from a school librarian,
which is exciting, talking about doing read-alouds in all the ELA
classes and how the set of 10 will be exactly enough. And the class will discuss the
books, and then it sounds like they’re going to extend it to
the rest of the school by doing a — sort of a global sharing of
the information, which I think is beautiful. And they go into detail there. And then here’s an example of a
school ESL class that happens — that’s hosted in the community
library, and even goes into details on when. And they’ll use the copies of
Dreamers and also in Spanish. And then the parents will be
able to own the copy and take it home and share with
their children. And they give us the date
and they talk about an end celebration and how — and if
you haven’t read Dreamers yet, spoiler alert, it has a
beautiful tie in with the library and they talk about
that in their application. And then one from a nonprofit,
a child development center. They talk about the ages that
they serve and how a lot of their clients are low income
poverty level and when they receive the books, they’ll have
a day dedicated to the book and the teacher will read the book,
and the children will come with activities, and then the
families will also be a part of it. So those are just some examples
of some successful applications. And I just want to say, like
please don’t let the application be daunting. Just get your ideas out. I will say I’ve had a few
applications that I’ve received that I’ve had to follow up and
say, I think this is what you’re thinking, let’s talk about that,
and then they’ve reapplied. We want you to get
the books, guys. We’re not — we’re making
it as easy as possible. We want to say yes. So we will — we will work with
you to make sure your program is book-worthy. So we’re going to go back to
the Read Across Texas in the resources, and we’re almost
ready for Dr. Veninga. This is the last tab we haven’t
explored with y’all yet. We don’t want it to feel like
you’re drinking from a fire hose. There’s a lot, okay? We give you a lot because we
want this to be kind of an a la carte for you. Whatever you could possibly
need for your program. So we have suggestions for
startup questions, Tips from Lit Lovers, and then we have
discussion guides for all of our featured books. So let me show you
how this looks. So you click on the book cover,
you open it, and there we go. So we intentionally put these
study guides in Word, because guess what, we want you to be
able to cut and paste from the study guide from the general
questions, to just make your program what it needs to be. I chose the Dreamers one to
popup on purpose because I wanted to scroll down and I
wanted to highlight the Dreamer study guide right there, that
actually is geared towards a little bit more older teens,
adult readers, even younger — actually younger kids, too. It’s a little bit more deep
level thinking concepts, so we have that — we
created that for y’all. But below, we also have an
educator and student guide from Holiday House, the publisher. So, again, take whatever you
need from these resources. I’m not going to go into all
of them in detail right now. Just know we have
one for each book. And we have the general
compassion questions that I worked on with Dr. Veninga that
she may go into, so I want to make sure that that’s available
for you should you need it. We’re going to go back
to the PowerPoint. So we shared successful
applications. Hopefully we answered any
application questions, if not, just keep typing them in. And now it’s time for the
deeper dive into the discussion questions. Yay! I’m going to pass
it over to you.>>Jennifer: Great. Thanks, Rebekah. I’m excited about this program. So I’m looking forward to
actually reading the books. I have read Tattoos on the Heart
by Gregory Boyle and have used that one in — in a couple of
my courses, so I’m most familiar with that one, but am looking
forward to reading the others as well. So as Rebekah mentioned and then
as I said as well, I do teach college undergraduates, I also
do some work with interreligious and ecumenical initiatives
on my campus and in my church community, so, you know, these
topics of the neighbor, what does it mean to think of
neighbors and strangers and what is compassion
definitely come up. So as we were, you know, just
talking about this project, you know, I was thinking back to
some of the experiences I’ve had leading conversations
about these topics. And — and I just came up with
a — I think, fairly simple list of four things to think
about when you’re hosting a conversation on the topic of
compassion and neighbors as well. And the first is that, you know,
the word “compassion” literally means “to suffer with”
or “to feel with”. And, you know, we — we tend
to use that word “compassion” I think a fair amount but maybe
we don’t think very deeply about what it really means. And so, you know, I think it’s
important just to kind of, you know, think of this as an
opportunity to really go into — to depth and to ask together as
a group, you know, what — what really is compassion? You know, what does it really
mean to feel with or to suffer with — with someone who is like
me or, you know, someone who is not like me? And then how do we go about
actually practicing that kind of compassion in ways that
enrich our community. So I invite you I guess just to
kind of think about the depth of this word as you’re
having the conversation. And then secondly, you know,
because it is, you know, a complex topic, having a
conversation on it might involve tackling some really
challenging topics, actually. So I know that in my teaching,
you know, when we have conversations about compassion
and neighbors, topics come up, some of them are things we
hear about in the news or from people’s personal experience. So, you know, how do we
relate, again, to those who are different from us? How are we making assumptions
about them, you know, based on characteristics such as
religion or race, gender, sexual orientation and whatnot? You know, some of the topics
might connect with contemporary political or social issues such
as immigration, the refugee crisis, you know, LGBTQ issues
and questions or even religion and violence or just sort
of violence in general. So, you know, as a moderator,
I think just being aware that people might have really
different understandings of compassion and then bring all
of that in, you know, to the conversation. None of us is a blank slate, for
better or for worse, and so I think just kind of recognizing
that can really help the conversation. And then thirdly, so, again, I
was just kind of reflecting on my own experiences in having
these kinds of conversations, you know, I’ve — I’ve —
usually when I’ve done this, I have kind of opened up the
conversation in such a way to help participants get
comfortable first. It always helps to have folks
feel like they can have a voice in the room and that
they feel comfortable. So I do that sometimes just by,
you know, allowing people to introduce themselves, who they
are, what brings them to the conversation. And then just a — you know,
one or two-word association that they have with the topic. You know, a couple of words. And that can kind of get
folks interested and excited. You know, I think it just helps
the conversation go a little more smoothly. I then kind of build up to the
more challenging or potentially uncomfortable topics. I think probably better not to
just put a really challenging topic out there at the
beginning, but kind of build up to it. So when we did put together the
list — yeah, sure, Rebekah’s going to pull that up — we
put together this list that she mentioned earlier of just kind
of general questions about compassion. And, again, we begin with that
first one that I mentioned, just the etymology or the origin of
compassion, but kind of as you go along, there are some
questions about, you know, like one has to do with boundaries,
so number seven there, how do you maintain healthy boundaries
while extending compassion? I think that’s important. We also ask some questions about
the challenges or even limits of something like empathy
or — or compassion. So you see those there
on 12 and 13, 14. You know, because we don’t have
a boundless amount of time and energy and — and it’s important
to think about those things as well. So, yeah, feel free to look at
this list and use what you want. And feel free not to use any of
it as well, but it might just kind of help for some
food for thought. So then the — the fourth and
last kind of thing to think about is just my reflection on
kind of what — what exactly it is that fosters
questions and comments. And this is fairly obvious. I’m kind of stating the obvious. But, you know, we can think
of three sort of areas. So, one, you know, in these
conversations is just the text itself, right? So the book. And, you know, when you’re
having the conversations, the idea of literally just looking
at that book, right, and pointing to different stories in
it or maybe quotations that you want to think about. You know, and then secondly
you have just the broad like concepts and ideas that
are presented by the text. So it’s kind of another layer,
you know, it’s kind of like the text then becomes a jumping off
point for some bigger ideas. And then thirdly, we have, you
know, concrete examples and/or lived experience that relate to
the text and the concepts that — that we have from it. So it’s really great for
participants to be able to draw on their own lives and their own
experiences, you know, so rather than being this theoretical sort
of abstract book, you know, by an author that we may probably
not know, you know, we can definitely connect in that way. And so I think that’s fun,
challenging and helpful as well. You know — and then I can
finally — it’s nice to end on a practical sort of note, you
know, sort of what can we — what can we do next? What do these ideas mean for us? And so just kind of walking away
with one idea, how folks might enact compassion or solidarity
in their everyday lives I think is a great way to kind
of wrap things up.>>Rebekah: Wow,
thank you so much. That was so helpful and, you
know, you mentioned a few times, you’re like, well, this might
seem obvious and, you know, when you really break it down, okay,
yeah, this — all this makes sense, but it’s so helpful to
have this broken down and ready for all of us when we
have these conversations. So thank you so much for
taking the time and thought. And, y’all, I hope you really
enjoyed that — that discussion guide that we showed earlier. Again, that’s also in Word, so
you can cut and paste and put your discussion — discussions
from other guides in there. Really, we just hope that you
can make it your own program, but we hope all these resources
will be helpful for you. And we talked about ending on a
practical note, and like what — what the — what’s
the “What next?” So we thought that that would be
good to go into this next slide, we talked about partnerships. And if y’all have any ideas for
partnerships, please type them in your discussion tab. And while — and while you do
that, I’m going to go through some that I’ve seen in
the applications so far. So we — we think that this —
like we said before, that this theme lends itself to some
pretty natural partnerships, right? Because you’re Knowing
your Neighbor, cultivating compassion, you may already
have some community groups that you’ve been meaning to work with
in your community, and so we hope that this will help y’all
grow deeper roots in whatever areas you’re interested
in doing that with. Some examples I’ve seen in the
applications, like y’all saw the ESL classes, local Chamber of
Commerce, the Parent Teacher Association, some
historical societies. We’ve had at least one to two
applications talking about partnering with
churches — whoops. And then one that says — you
know, I like how that — when the applications — you know,
they’re really kind of a free thought, too. You know, at this time we don’t
have one, but this application — this application, they’re
talking about reaching out to the Thinkery, which is a museum
for children and adults in Austin, and then doing a stop
animation of the stories they came up in their discussion, and
then also approaching the Mexi Arte Museum to incorporate
Mexican folk art into the creation. And just so y’all know a little
more background on that, this particular application was the
one I was talking about was going to do a comparison of
Strange — The Strange and Dreamers, and so I thought
that was pretty neat. Naomi, do we have any ideas for
partnerships that anyone’s typed in?>>Naomi: Yes. Charter for Compassion, City
Compassion Group, and in parentheses they say
Compassionate AUSTIN, Compassionate DFW, et cetera.>>Rebekah: I love it. That’s awesome. There are places that
are called “compassion”. Love it.>>Naomi: And then also
Interfaith Alliance Groups in your city.>>Rebekah: Those
are excellent ideas. Thank you. Naomi, can you read those
just one more time, please?>>Naomi: Sure. Charter for Compassion, City
Compassion Groups, such as Compassionate Austin,
Compassionate DFW, and then Interfaith Alliance
Groups in your city.>>Rebekah: Those are great. Thank you so much.>>Naomi: You’re welcome.>>Rebekah: So speaking of
partners, this is a natural plug, as I said before, we could
not do this program without the Friends of the Library and
Archives of Texas, and if y’all kind of want to be in the know
on what they’re funding for us and kind of know what
initiatives we have going on aside from the statewide read,
you already know about that, but this is one example, feel
free to — to become a friend. And you can sign up and get on
the mailing list and you can also donate, but we could not
do what we do without them. And they are
funding these books. So I wanted to do a
quick time check, Naomi. How are we doing on time? And our questions?>>Naomi: Yeah. We actually have one question
related to the Read Across Texas program, and then I have one
question related to Texas Center for the Book programs.>>Rebekah: Okay. Great. So we have — we have about,
what, 15 more minutes?>>Naomi: Yes.>>Rebekah: Okay. Well then, I’m going to go ahead
and move forward with the brief overview of the Texas Center for
the Book, just so y’all can have that, and that might
answer that question. And then we’ll — we’ll
go over the questions. And I’d like to encourage y’all,
if you have any other questions, please type them in. It looks like we’re going
to have plenty of time for questions.>>Naomi: Great. Thank you, Rebekah.>>Rebekah: You’re welcome. So the Texas Center for the
Book, this is one of our initiatives. We also have Letters about
Literature, which is the thread that connects all the
centers across the nation. And this is a reading and
writing competition for students who — you write a letter to an
author about how a book changed your life, and this is for
4th through 12th graders. So there are cash and
travel prizes with that. We actually have just chosen our
state winners, and they will be reading their letter at the
Texas library Association Conference in April. And we help them get to the
conference, and then they — the first-place winners will move on
to the national competition with the Library of Congress. So that’s one of
our initiatives. Again, this is all on our
website; I just have to plug that. We also do a literacy award. And the applications are always
open in the summer, about June 1 to September 1, and this is an
award — and we actually may be upping the cash award, I’m not
going to say what it is until confirmation — but at least
$1,000, and then we also have honorable mentions for $500. So this is an award for any
literacy-based nonprofit in the State of Texas. It has to be a 501(c)3. So please nominate for your
community, even if your application or nomination isn’t
chosen for the winner, it’s really, really helpful for us
to get more awareness of what literacy nonprofits are
doing across the state. Because as y’all know, it’s a
big state, so I actually wanted to name this award lasso
literacy because I pictured a giant lasso getting all these
ideas and bringing them in. So this is our way to lasso
those initiatives and have a greater awareness, so the
applications really matter. We choose a Texas great read
every year, and that’s kind of like our book for the year. And we bring that to the
National Book Festival. And y’all can see examples in
the past of our Texas Great Reads. We have Wish Girl from 2016;
News of the World 2017, and Shame the Stars for 2018, and
it does not need to be for children. It can also be for adults. We try to alternate back and
forth on the different genres, so who knows. We might even have a picture
book or graphic novel next year, we don’t know. But you may be asking
yourselves, well, Rebekah, that sounds great, but how
do we get you the ideas? I have a link for you. So we’re starting to get
those suggestions now. So if you have suggestions for
books that we should consider for our Texas Great Read for
2019, I hope you will click on that link, it’s just a quick
Google survey, and give those suggestions to us. And is there an actual center? Where is the Center of the
Texas Center for the Book? So if y’all have been to the
Library of Congress, you’ll see that there’s a Young Reader
Center in Washington, D.C. We have actually — we are trying
— we are in the process of trying to emulate that at the
Texas State Library and Archives Commission, to have a physical
center, a small little place where we can have books. Our focus are Texas-authored
books, where people can come and just enjoy and read. So let me give you a little
preview of what that looks like. It’s pretty small (Laughing). Small beginnings. We actually have a giant
comfortable chair in there now, but those are Texas-authored
books, or books that we’ve received by a special guest of
the State Library, and hopefully next time you come visit the
State Library our center will be growing. So there is now officially
a Texas Center for the Book. And I think it is a great idea
to start asking questions, because you may have questions
about something that we haven’t even talked about, so I’d
love to open that up, Naomi.>>Naomi: Great. Yes, if you have any questions
at all or comments, please go ahead and type those in and hit
“Send.” Somebody asked do you have a general generic press
release that we can use to send to our local newspapers about
the Read Across Texas for this year?>>Rebekah: Yes. We do. Let me show you
where that’s located. So — I’m so glad you
asked that question. Again, I’m having a hard
time with — let’s see. Okay. So when — we’re going to go
— just so everyone can know exactly how to
find it, let’s see. I’m going to do it this way. So we go to the front page of
the Texas State Library and Archives Commission website. And it looks like this. And if you’d like to see any of
our press releases at any time, you can go here. So we have where it
says featured news. And then we have community
statewide read invited to Read Across Texas. And there is our general press
release that we hope that you use to cut and paste
however you want. And if you need anything more
specific, feel free to e-mail me. I also think that that shows —
that’s also — leads to another excellent question about
resources for y’all that I forgot to share. So under “resources,” we also
have any design resources you might need. So the Read Across Texas
graphic, the Friends graphic, the Texas Center for the Book
logo; feel free to use any of these for your posters or
your press releases or your advertisements. And one other resource that I
realize that I didn’t share that I want to share is on this —
the main page for Read Across Texas where we have
all the books listed. We also have the book
covers you can use. We have a great letter from our
director of the state — of the Texas State Library and Archives
Commission, our state librarian Mark Smith, so there’s also
language in there that you can use to support your programs. All right. I hope that helps.>>Naomi: Great. Thank you, Rebekah. Somebody else had shared
some ideas for additional partnerships, so they said more
suggestions are Lion’s Club, Rotary Club, Boy and Girl
Scouts, locations in museum district, for example
the Holocaust Museums.>>Rebekah: Oh, great. Thank you so much for sharing
those partnership ideas. Yeah, we like to think this
theme especially lends itself to lots of partnerships and I hope
that y’all will share those in your applications, and, of
course, when you register your program and solidify partners,
make sure you include those, because we’ll be putting those
partnerships on the map along with your — with your
— with your initiative.>>Naomi: All right. Thank you. And then somebody asked for the
— they’re wondering when the Texas Great Read for
2019 will be announced?>>Rebekah: Oh, that’s
a wonderful question. So we’ve actually gotten
started really early this year. We — we have to make sure
we have the Texas Great Read established before we go to
the National Book Festival that happens in either late
August or early September. So on that link that I ask y’all
— we’re actually asking to make sure we get everyone’s ideas by
April, so I’d like to make sure that we announce it this summer. Honestly, I’d like to just get
it earlier than later, because it’s better to have it for more
of 2019 than less, but for sure, by the National Book Festival it
will be announced, which means by August, September. But I’d like for y’all to look
for it earlier, because we’re trying to do it earlier and
earlier, because we might as well have it for more of 2019.>>Naomi: Great. Thank you. And then somebody shared a
comment that they just completed the application, they want
to thank you for the webinar. They’ve participated in the
past in Read Across Texas, and they’re definitely going to
share this PowerPoint with all their district librarians.>>Rebekah: Thank you so much! We really appreciate that. You know, it’s funny because
we feel like this is something that’s worthy of sharing, but
we know that so much information comes across y’all’s desks,
and it’s hard to decide what to participate in. So I’d say even if this isn’t
something for you, please, please share it, even if it’s as
simple as sharing the URL to the Read Across Texas site or the
press release, because you never know what community library
might be able to use this and make it a program. So thank you so
much for sharing. Can I just say, I’m not
surprised we have someone on the webinar from the past Read
Across Texas, because we have such incredible librarians
that took place in the 2017. And I was so blown away by all
the initiatives that took place across Texas. And, again, you can still see
that interactive map online. We just had — it was just
— it was just beautiful. It was so beautiful, and so I’m
glad that y’all are joining us again this year. Thank you for that comment.>>Naomi: Thank you, Rebekah. And as of right now, I think
those are the only questions and comments that I have waiting.>>Rebekah: Okay. Great. Well then, we’re
going to move forward. We just have a little bit left,
and then we also will end with a slide with our
contact information. That way if you want to reach
out to either one of us, you — you can with more questions. So never fear, if a
question bubbles up. So we’ve thought it would be fun
to end with some perspective, and Dr. Veninga is going
to do that with us.>>Jennifer: Thank you. So, yeah, we were thinking
perspective, you know, in terms of just getting people excited
about this and also just remembering that, you know, any
time you do a new project or have a new conversation, you
know, there’s always risk involved. That’s what makes it exciting. And I know from my own
experience as a teacher, professor, you know, and a
pastor as well, right, it — sometimes — sometimes
you make mistakes. Sometimes things just don’t go
as you planned, and I think it’s — it’s life, it’s also what
it means to tackle difficult questions. So, you know, we — we just
wanted to encourage you, if you’re hosting these
conversations or you’re working with people that are, you know,
feel free to mess up and feel free to, you know, feel that
you don’t have to get it exactly right every time. And so we have a few quotations
that we thought might be great for this. And of course we know that
Einstein was a genius. You know, that’s
common knowledge. It may not be such common
knowledge that he also failed quite a bit, and apparently was
not a fantastic student, had a hard time getting a job and
whatnot, so I think it’s even cooler that he — he
has these quotations. So failure is
success in progress. That’s great. And then anyone who has never
made a mistake has never tried anything new. So I personally like this a lot. I — I have a similar sentiment
on a magnet that’s in my office, and it says always
make new mistakes. So I like that one, too. And then a quotation actually
that comes from Tattoos on the Heart, and it’s from Mother
Teresa, and she says we are not called to be successful,
but faithful. You know, and here, of course,
she is coming from a religious perspective, but we could also
just think about, you know, faith in the process, right,
faith in the conversation, having, you know, faith
in one’s self or others. And, you know, in trying to
remember that there is no perfect conversation, no perfect
discussion, and rather, you know, we just invite you
to trust that and enjoy the process. It’s all about neighbors, so
learning from one another is, you know, what it’s — what
it’s all about in the end. So those are our little bits of
food for thought again, for the road. So — and I will just say thank
you so much for — for being here and thanks to Rebekah and
The Center for the Book and I’m excited to hear how
the program goes.>>Rebekah: Thank you so much. And that was — I think that
was a perfect way to wrap us up. It reminded me of what we were
talking about before we started the webinar, we were joking,
we’re like, well, if we mess up, we can just say, well, that was
just an example of when y’all can have compassion with us,
because we’re cultivating compassion. (Laughing). And that — that — this — this
subject, hopefully, you know, can be daunting in some ways,
but we hope it’s just a way to extend into your community and
to cultivate compassion and get to know your neighbors. And whatever that means for
y’all, so I’m really looking forward to hearing more about
your programs and staying connected with y’all. And thank you so much, Naomi,
for — for the amazing job you do with these webinars. You’re so calm, you just have
this down to a science, and we really appreciate you. Thank you Dr. Veninga, Jenny,
for being a part of this. Thank you, Maddie, for being
a part of this as well. And I want to say thank you so
much for my team, you may hear all the stuff we’ve done with
this and be like, wow, this is just one person, it’s not. You know, I’m — I am an
employee of one of the Texas Center for the Book, but
we have an amazing, amazing communications team at the
Texas State Library and Archives Commission and an amazing group
of individuals who work at the agency. And wouldn’t be able to
do that without them. Also, you, too, Kyla Hunt, so
I just want to say thank you so much for everyone for
being a part of this. And if y’all have any questions,
please stay connected. We don’t — we want to
hear from you again. And I think this is the time
where I hand it over back to Naomi.>>Naomi: Thank you. Thank you so much Rebekah
Manley and Dr. Veninga. Just a couple comments came
in right at the end here. So I’d like to read them. Somebody says we are really
excited, we have already started getting interest from our
community on social media and I think it’s going to be great. Thank you so much.>>Rebekah: I’m so
excited about that! Please feel free to tag us or
retweet and share that with us so we can see that and be
a part of the conversation. That makes my day.>>Naomi: And then another
comment: Our book club has already picked up the
books and started reading. Most importantly, they’re
already talking about it. We’re reading Tattoos.>>Rebekah: Love it!>>Naomi: So on that note,
again, thank you, everybody. Thank you, Rebekah Manley, Dr.
Veninga, thank you Kyla Hunt for helping out with the
technical issues as well today. And I hope that everybody
has a wonderful afternoon. Please do keep an eye
on your e-mail inboxes. In two days you should have a
follow-up e-mail from us with a link to the recording,
and the related materials. If you have any colleagues who
missed this, please let them know that we recorded it and we
are going to have the material available to them as well.
Thank you, have a
wonderful afternoon.

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