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One Book One Community Program

Beginning in February 2008, the Friends of the North Plains Public Library have sponsored an annual One Book One Community Program which features a month long series of events centered around a chosen book. Hundreds of books are distributed free of charge to community members who wish to participate in the program.

Community Reading projects benefit a library in several ways, some quantifiable, others not. The most important non-quantifiable benefit is this: Community Reading projects position the library as a major player in the cultural life of a community. The library is no longer simply a place to come to use the computers, or to find information, or the most recent best-seller (all vital aspects of the library’s mission in themselves, of course); rather, the library becomes a destination for people who are interested in discussing books, a venue for author visits and for other cultural and humanities programs. One Book, One Community projects are an excellent way to start building a community of readers that finds its home base in the library.


OBOC 2014 Events
The Friends of the Library members have selected an award-winning debut novel, Running the Rift, by Naomi Benaron as the book for their 7th annual community reading program.

Running the Rift follows Jean Patrick Nkuba, a gifted Rwandan boy, from the day he knows that running will be his life to the moment he must run to save his life, a ten-year span in which his country is undone by the Hutu-Tutsi tensions. Born a Tutsi, he is thrust into a world where it’s impossible to stay apolitical—where the man who used to sell you gifts for your family now spews hatred, where the girl who flirted with you in the lunchroom refuses to look at you, where your Hutu coach is secretly training the very soldiers who will hunt down your family.

Yet in an environment increasingly restrictive for the Tutsi, he holds fast to his dream of becoming Rwanda’s first Olympic medal contender in track, a feat he believes might deliver him and his people from this violence. When the killing begins, Jean Patrick is forced to flee, leaving behind the woman, the family, and the country he loves. Finding them again is the race of his life.

Upcoming Events in February 2014:

All events are free and open to the public.

  • Saturday, February 1, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the North Plains Public Library

    This kick-off event features Sam Munyandamutsa of the Pacific Northwest Rwandan Association who will provide Rwandan food and share his story. Free copies of Running the Rift will be distributed.


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  • Saturday, February 8, 1-2:30 p.m. at the Jessie Mays Community Hall, 30975 NW Hillcrest Street

    This special Super Saturday event features the Kukatonon Children’s African Dance Troupe performing traditional African dances with two drummers.

    The performance is suitable for all ages.


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  • Thursday, February 13, 7 p.m. at the North Plains Public Library

    Musician Enric Sifa will perform Rwandan songs and tell his story of growing up during the Rwandan Genocide.


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  • Friday, February 21, 7 p.m., North Plains Public Library
    Movie showing of God Sleeps in Rwanda, a 2005 short documentary film, and Hotel Rwanda, a 2004 PG-13 rated drama.

    God Sleeps in Rwanda is an inspiring story of loss and redemption. It tells the story of women survivor’s spirit to overcome the genocide’s devastating legacy. The film follows five courageous women as they rebuild their lives, and, in doing so, redefine women’s roles in Rwandan society and bring hope to a wounded nation.

    Hotel Rwanda is set in 1994 during the Rwandan Genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 people, mainly Tutsi, were killed by Hutu extremists. It is the story of a hotel manager who saves the lives of 1,200 people who have come into his care by using his skills of bribery, flattery, apology and deception.

      Link to WCCLS catalog

    1. Thursday, February 27, 7 p.m. at the North Plains Public Library

      Book discussion of Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron.

On October 12, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. the Friends hosted a Preview Party at the Library featuring local art, music, and refreshments to celebrate the beginning of the 7th annual One Book, One Community program at the North Plains Public Library. Free copies of Benamen’s book were distributed to anyone with a Washington County library card. More copies will be available in February 2014.

This preview event featured the opening of a unique art exhibit by SPLASH, a group of Willamette Valley artists, that used the novel Running the Rift as inspiration for visual art. Nineteen artists employed various media to present their personal vision of the novel’s themes and place.

Running the Rift


The Friends of the North Plains Public Library are proud to have won a grant from the Cultural Coalition of Washington County to help with funding for the 2014 One Book One Community program.

One Book One Community – 2013

For our 6th annual One Book One Community program the chosen book was “Mink River” by Brian Doyle.

The Friends of the North Plains Public Library  arranged for speakers and cultural entertainment throughout the month of February 2013.   All “One Book, One Community” events were free.

Events included:

  • Kick Off Event-Party featuring the author, Brian Doyle, and serving a taste of Oregon delicacies, and the distribution of 100 copies of the book, Mink River.
  • An art and Quilt exhibit of Celtic Quilts by Philomena Durcan
  • A special writing workshop with Mink River author, Brian Doyle.
  • A storytelling by master storyteller, Will Hornyak, with tales from Native American and Irish Celtic legends.
  • The musical duo of Brenda Searcy and Jim Lowenhertz who perform a variety of Irish Celtic songs and music, including jigs, reels, and ballads.
  • A book discussion of “Mink River” led by Mike Spooner.
  • An art lecture by Philomena Durcan on Celtic Quilts
  • A class on how to weave Native American pine needle baskets taught by Jacque Hermens

  • One Book One Community – 2012

    For our 5th annual One Book One Community program the chosen book was “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese.

    The Friends of the North Plains Public Library  arranged for speakers and cultural entertainment throughout the month of February 2012.   All “One Book, One Community” events were free.

    Events included:

  • Kick Off Event-Party featuring the music of Derrell Walker, a taste of Ethiopian cuisine, and the distribution of 100 copies of the book, Cutting for Stone.
  • Lecturer by Steve Kountz and Bob Alexander on the economic development in Ethiopia today
  • Movie showing of “My Own Country” made from the book by Abraham Verghese
  • A children’s program featuring a performance by the Carden Choir, and an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
  • A lecture by guest speaker, Daniel Amini, on the Art in Ethiopia
  • Two book discussions
  • A lecture by Rev. Steve Newton on the problems of addiction in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.
  • A lecture by Dr. Kaitlin Masarie on women’s health in Ethiopia today
  • A Ethiopian travel presentation given by Teresa Sullivan of the Mango Safari Travel Co.
  • An African percussion and dance performance by the group, Sébé Kan
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    One Book One Community – 2011

    In 2011, the chosen book for our 4th annual One Book One Community reading program was “The Whistling Season” by Ivan Doig. Selected to commemorate the centennial of the city of North Plains, the book is set in 1911, and although the setting is in rural Montana, life may not be that much different than in Washington County during the same time period.

    The Friends of the North Plains Public Library  arranged for speakers and cultural entertainment throughout the month of February 2011.   All “One Book, One Community” events were free.

    Events included:

  • Kick off party to distribute copies of the book, listen to the fiddling of award-winning fiddler, Daniel Forster, and enjoy root beer floats and gingerbread cake.
  • One Room Schoolhouse Experience and Spelling Bee complete with prizes.
  • Three Movies related to the story of homesteaders in Montana at the turn of the century.
  • A “Stars in Your Eyes” lecture by astronomer, Pete Deal, to learn the facts about Halley’s Comet, (featured in the book) and other meteor showers.
  • A book discussion led by Tamara Knowlen.
  • A Square Dance/Hoedown led by the Sunset Promenaders.
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    One Book One Community – 2010

    In 2010, the book, “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations,” by Greg Mortenson was the chosen book. To enhance the reading and understanding of Mortenson’s work, Friends of the North Plains Library  arranged for speakers and cultural entertainment throughout the month.   All “One Book, One Community” events are free.

    Events included:

  • Kick-Off with video introduction to Greg Mortenson and Afghan cuisine sampling
  • Children’s Pennies for Peace Program
  • Lecture by Professor Zia Yamaye
  • Pakistani Bhangra Dance Performance
  • Lecture by Portland Mountain Rescue
  • Book Discussion
  • Lecture by Salma Ahmed from the Islamic Society of Greater Portland

  • One Book One Community – 2009

    In 2009, the book “Stubborn Twig” by Lauren Kessler was chosen. A wide variety of events were sponsored by the Friends of the North Plains Public Library to enhance the understanding of the Japanese internment program during World War II as described in the book.

    Events Included:

  • Performance of the Portland Taiko Drummers
  • Origami Cranes Workshop
  • Lecture by Mr. Henry Sakamoto on the Intenrment of Japanese Americans
  • Lecture on the history of Japanese Woodblock prints
  • Four Movies related to the book
  • Book Discussion

  • One Book One Community – 2008

    In 2008, the book “Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon was chosen as Community Reads book.

    Events included:

  • Kick-Off party with Spanish cuisine samplings and flamenco guitarist
  • Two book discussions
  • Five film presentations
  • Barcelona travel lectures by Rick Steves Travel
  • Spanish history lecture by Dr. Rogan
  • Spanish art history lecture
  • Spanish architecture lecture
  • Tango dance demonstration and lesson
  • Rumba dance lesson