Book clubs are a phenomenal way to create a community through a shared reading experience. By working with OverDrive to create a digital aspect of your library book clubs, you can bring people together who may not be able to access the physical library as often as they’d like. Digital Book Clubs provide flexibility to readers as they can access the books anytime, anywhere.

Ocean State Libraries, a consortium of libraries throughout Rhode Island, is currently running their annual Reading Across Rhode Island program, and they’re making sure their digital collection is a major factor in the event’s success. By working with their OverDrive Account Manager, the consortium has been providing access to THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas for several weeks without any wait lists or holds. What follows is an explanation of the program and how they’re promoting it from John Edwards, one of the librarians in charge of their cataloging.

Every year the Rhode Island Center for the Book, with the help of a selection committee including librarians from around the state, picks a book for our ‘one book, one state’ program, Reading Across Rhode Island. For the first time, the public libraries of Rhode Island have been able to offer simultaneous use (no waiting) through eZone, RI’s OverDrive site, of this year’s selection, Angie Thomas’s best-selling, award-winning novel, THE HATE U GIVE.

If you’re a Rhode Island public library cardholder, you can check out THE HATE U GIVE with no wait, now through May 15. Currently 418 readers and 205 listeners have THE HATE U GIVE checked out, through eZone, supplementing the countless hard copies of the book and audiobook that are in circulation.

The Reading Across Rhode Island program each year includes an author visit. This year’s keynote by Angie Thomas was live-streamed to an enthusiastic audience all over the state. She’s a great speaker! And she can rap! Special this year is a series of performances at libraries around the state, performed by Living Literature, a collective of Rhode Island-based artists and educators. Book groups all over the state are discussing the book.

My public library colleagues in Ocean State Libraries and I are proud and grateful to be able to provide eBook and digital audiobook access to cardholders as part of this program.

THE HATE U GIVE addresses an important current topic. It’s narrated by a black teenager from an inner-city neighborhood who struggles to find and use her voice after witnessing the unprovoked shooting death of her friend by a white policeman. The book brings attention to the importance of addressing implicit racial bias—on both a societal and individual level. It’s a classic for our time.

If you’re interested in creating a program similar to Read Across Rhode Island, contact your Account Manager and we’ll work with you to secure titles and help create a marketing plan for your community reading event.