A ‘Tale’ that’s growing

November 30, 2004

 ‘A Tale for Three Counties’ is growing. Not in geographical terms — the community reading program is still squarely centered in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Rather, the program is reaching out to another audience within the three-county community: Genesee Community College faculty, staff and students.

It’s a natural partnership. ”A Tale for Three Counties” was created two years ago by librarians in the three counties working together. They selected a book, promoted it to the public, arranged public discussions and visits by the author. The idea was to encourage all people in the three-county community to read a good book at the same time, and then enjoy a good discussion of it.

The program has succeeded beyond librarians’ expectations. A solid core of readers of the first year’s author, Leif Enger, grew the following year when the featured author was Howard Frank Mosher. Discussions and author presentations were well attended. The addition of GCC adds campus venues in all three counties, and opportunities for students to participate.

GCC’s reading teacher, Susan Chiddy, figures the ”Tale” could help motivate students to read. Reading, she said, is part of a lifelong learning process, but as people reach college age, the amount they read for pleasure tends to decline. Reading for pleasure, however, can extend your knowledge in ways that textbooks cannot. It is also relaxing, enabling the reader to escape a troubled world for a few hours.

This year’s book is a mystery by Julia Spencer-Fleming, In the Bleak Midwinter, and is set in a fictional small town in upstate New York. It was Spencer-Flemings’ debut book, and the first in an ongoing series with the Rev. Clare Ferguson as the main protagonist.

Amazon.com customers gave the book 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. The paperback lists at $6.99, with a hardcover edition in the $20-range. Audio versions are also available.

The book or audio would make a great holiday gift — check your local library for availability. It’s a way to extend a gift from the bleak start of winter through early spring, with discussions planned for February and early March at libraries and GCC campuses throughout the three counties. Spencer-Fleming will visit the area in mid-March, giving readers the opportunity to meet the author and get a book autographed.

We’re grateful for the work area librarians put into this program, and welcome the inclusion of GCC.

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 Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation

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