It is time, once again, for one of my favorite community events, the One Book, One Community (OBOC) kickoff. OBOC is in its fourteenth year! No small feat. As a librarian, I love that the community and Michigan State University students come together centered around a book, and this year a film too, to discuss hard topics like justice and inequality in our country.
Want to make a difference at the Library and in the community?
Join the Teen Advisory Board to help brainstorm & implement programs, recommend additions to the YA collections, and advocate for teen interests! TAB is open to teens in grades 6-12 and will meet monthly over pizza to plan our first projects.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson is a brutally honest and harrowing look at the justice and prison systems in the United States, specifically how they are applied to the disenfranchised, mentally ill, poor and people of color. Stevenson, a Harvard law school graduate, has devoted his life to representing, listening and fighting for death row inmates, mostly in the deep south and more importantly, mostly under-represented and wrongly convicted. This is not an easy read (it is downright tragic on so many levels) but it is a must read for all Americans so we can begin to understand these deeply broken systems and work to fix them.
In 1993 three teenagers, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Miskelley Jr were arrested and charged with the murders of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. The ensuing trial was rife with inconsistencies, false testimony and superstition. Echols was accused of, among other things, practicing witchcraft and satanic rituals – a result of the “satanic panic” prevalent in the media at the time. Baldwin and Miskelley were sentenced to life in prison. Echols, deemed the ringleader, was sentenced to death. He was eighteen years old.
In a shocking reversal of events, all three were suddenly released in August 2011. This is Damien Echols' story in full: from abuses by prison guards and wardens, to descriptions of inmates and deplorable living conditions, to the incredible reserves of patience, spirituality, and perseverance that kept him alive and sane for nearly two decades. Echols also writes about his complicated and painful childhood. Like Dead Man Walking, Life After Death is destined to be a classic.
In the town of Ada, Oklahoma, Ron Williamson was going to be the next Mickey Mantle. But on his way to the big leagues, Ron stumbled, his dream broken by drinking, drugs, and women. Then on a winter night in 1982, not far from Ron's home, a young cocktail waitress named Debra Sue Carter was savagely murdered. The investigation led nowhere. Until, on the flimsiest evidence, it led to Ron Williamson. The washed-up small-town hero was charged, tried, and sentenced to death--in a trial littered with lying witnesses and tainted evidence that would shatter a man's already broken life...and let a true killer go free.
Impeccably researched, grippingly told, filled with eleventh-hour drama, John Grisham's first work of non-fiction reads like a page-turning legal thriller. It is a book that will terrify anyone who believes in the presumption of innocence--a book that no American can afford to miss.
Controversy rages about capital punishment as innocent men and women are being released from death rows all over the country. Are innocent people being executed? Is capital punishment justice or is it revenge?
Into the debate steps Mark Fuhrman, America's most famous detective, and no stranger to controversy himself. Fuhrman seeks to answer these questions by investigating the death penalty in Oklahoma, where a "hang 'em high" attitude of cowboy justice resulted in twenty–one executions in 2001, more than any other state. Most of these cases came from one jurisdiction, Oklahoma County, where legendary DA Bob Macy bragged of sending more people to death row than any other prosecutor, and police chemist Joyce Gilchrist was eventually fired for mismanaging the crime lab. Examining police records, trial transcripts, appellate decisions and conducting hundreds of interviews, Fuhrman focuses his considerable investigative skills on more than a dozen of the most controversial Oklahoma death penalty cases.
The acclaimed author of The Other Wes Moore continues his inspirational quest for a meaningful life and shares the powerful lessons—about self-discovery, service, and risk-taking—that led him to a new definition of success for our times.
The Work is the story of how one young man traced a path through the world to find his life’s purpose. Wes Moore graduated from a difficult childhood in the Bronx and Baltimore to an adult life that would find him at some of the most critical moments in our recent history: as a combat officer in Afghanistan; a White House fellow in a time of wars abroad and disasters at home; and a Wall Street banker during the financial crisis. In this insightful book, Moore shares the lessons he learned from people he met along the way—from the brave Afghan translator who taught him to find his fight, to the resilient young students in Katrina-ravaged Mississippi who showed him the true meaning of grit, to his late grandfather, who taught him to find grace in service.
Moore also tells the stories of other twenty-first-century change-makers who’ve inspired him in his search, from Daniel Lubetzky, the founder of KIND, to Esther Benjamin, a Sri Lankan immigrant who rose to help lead the Peace Corps. What their lives—and his own misadventures and moments of illumination—reveal is that our truest work happens when we serve others, at the intersection between our gifts and our broken world. That’s where we find the work that lasts.
An intimate narrative about finding meaning in a volatile age, The Work will inspire readers to see how we can each find our own path to purpose and help create a better world.
Join us this summer for our weekly Read & Play storytime! Designed for families with children under the age of 6, we'll build early literacy skills by sharing stories, songs, and rhymes, and have plenty of time for free sensory play and socialization.
Upcoming Read & Play Storytime sessions:
Due to the ongoing renovation project at the library, this program will be held at:
Suburban Ice - 2810 Hannah Blvd., East Lansing, MI 48823
On Your Mark, Get Set...Read! This week, explore ice skating and hockey by joining us at Suburban Ice for a free family skate (including skate rental)! All levels welcome. Family open skate will take place from 6-7:50 p.m. at: