This week, April 7-13, is National Library Week. The theme this year? Libraries = Strong Communities. We couldn’t agree more here at Wyoming Humanities, as previous articles demonstrate.
One of the things we love about Wyoming libraries is their investment in reading groups. Here in Laramie, the Albany County Library has at least five reading groups that range from a focus on true crime to cozy mysteries to graphic novels to international literature. And that’s not even taking into account their multiple literacy programs for children. When I moved to Laramie, one of the ways I first became involved in the community was through one of the library’s discussion groups. Not only did I end up reading books picked by my fellow community members I probably wouldn’t have read otherwise (everything from H is for Hawk to Interview with the Vampire), but I engaged in thoughtful, fun conversation, in the process getting to know other people interested in literature in my town.
For years, Wyoming Humanities partnered with libraries and communities throughout the state for “Reading Wyoming,” which provided reading groups with thematically-linked books and a trained discussion leader to help lead discussions. Today, Wyoming Humanities still supports some of those same Reading Wyoming groups thought our Spark Grants.
It is in this same spirit of celebration of conversation and community that Wyoming Humanities partnered with the Wyoming State Library to renew the One Book Wyoming program with Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time. One Book Wyoming is a state-wide community reading program in which the same book is read and discussed throughout the state. In Our Time is Ernest Hemingway’s first collection of short stories and the first introduction of his famous character Nick Adams. The stories’ themes range from meditations on fatherhood and family to war’s impact on soldiers to the challenges of romantic relationships to the relationship between humans and nature. With that many diverse themes, not only will there be a story of interest to virtually everyone but opportunities to discuss and think more thoroughly about subjects you may not have thought much about in the past.
In Our Time should also inspire you to check out other Hemingway in Wyoming activities, funded by a multi-year National Endowment for the Humanities grant “Creating Humanities Communities along the Hemingway Highway.” These include the “Hemingway Highways Tours,” created using the TravelStoryGPS app, and featuring sites where Hemingway lived and worked throughout the state; traveling exhibits on Hemingway’s WWI service and artistic interpretations of Hemingway’s work; and, in 2020, the Hemingway Society Conference in Sheridan.
“There are two places I love,” Hemingway wrote: “Africa and Wyoming.” It’s our goal for people throughout Wyoming to learn a bit more about Hemingway, his life, and his works, while engaging in lively, thoughtful conversations with their communities. One Book programs will be starting soon; ask your local library about them today!