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A Message from the

Calgary Public Library Board

We are pleased to host our fourth annual One Book, One Calgary special program, a city-wide initiative designed to ignite community dialogue and enrich community connections through a shared reading experience.

This November, at libraries throughout the city, a series of programs and events will engage Calgarians in exploring the themes of The Book of Negroes by award-winning Canadian author, Lawrence Hill, and how its themes relate to our personal lives and the communities in which we live. One Book, One Calgary invites all Calgarians to read together, engage in dialogue and explore ways in which we can support the building of a great city.

This past summer, Calgary and Southern Alberta experienced a natural disaster in the form of the worst flooding in recorded history of the area. From the loss of personal homes and businesses to the physical and emotional toll such a disaster takes, we have seen the many ways in which our communities were impacted.

Yet, we have also seen the many ways in which Calgarians and Albertans have pulled together to support one another, rebuild their communities and create a stronger future together. The Calgary Public Library solutes the thousands of acts of kindness, offers of support and community-building activities that continue to characterize our great city.

Like the community spirit that is driving the rebuilding of our flood-affected communities, One Book, One Calgary supports the development of strong communities by inviting Calgarians to read and connect with each other about important issues like those contained in The Book of Negroes. Set in the 18th Century, it recounts the fictional story of one woman, from her abduction as an 11-year-old in West Africa to her life as a slave in North America: from her struggle for survival to her success as a skilled midwife, translator, teacher and figurehead of the abolitionist movement in England.

Steeped in the history of the international slave trade and the migration of peoples worldwide, The Book of Negroes provides the reader with a touching and powerful story of how individuals and communities evolve and grow — in Canada and around the world. It sheds light on the role that Canada played in the African diaspora and the struggle and human spirit needed to create new homes and changed lives in the face of racism, slavery and power imbalances.

Please join me in reading Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes, and participating in special One Book, One Calgary events throughout November. Read, discuss and connect by engaging in programs and activities at any of our 18 library locations or online. Together, we will continue to champion strength and inclusion as defining characteristics of our community.

Janet Hutchinson

Chair, Calgary Public Library Board