Cybrary series

Guest post by Susan Brown

Politics, culture, health, art, justice -- these are all things that matter to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. They also make great conversation. This fall, area residents are invited to participate in a new discussion series that will touch on these topics and many others while bringing the community together over a good book.

The Carrboro Cybrary, in partnership with the Carrboro Recreation and Parks Department and other area organizations, will launch the Community Book Forum this fall. The Forum will be an occasional series of programs that center on ideas and events that are important to Carrboro, the surrounding area, and the world. To help shape these meetings, sponsors will select a book that touches on the relevant themes. In the weeks leading up to the discussions, multiple copies of the selected titles will be available at the Cybrary. On the night of the forum, the community will gather together in the Century Center's Century Hall for a discussion of the issues at hand, using the selected book and a panel of speakers to help shape and guide the conversation.

For the fall, three forums are planned, focusing on race relations, economic development, and families living with mental illness:

  • Thursday, September 15, 7:00 pm
    Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story by Timothy Tyson
  • Wednesday, September 28, 7:30 pm
    The Rise of the Creative Class: How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life by Richard Florida
  • Monday, November 7, 7:00 pm
    Rescuing Patty Hearst: Growing Up Sane in a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman

Two of the forums, on September 15 and November 7, will have the authors present at the discussion. Each of these programs arose from the community in one form or another. We had Tim Tyson here as part of a panel this spring and there was great interest from the audience in having him back to speak about his book specifically. The incoming freshman at UNC will be discussing it in late August, so we thought it should be Carrboro's turn in September. Tyson's book, Blood Done Sign My Name, is a moving account of a 1970 racial murder in the author's home town of Oxford, North Carolina.

Some members of Carrboro's Board of Alderman recently read Richard Florida's book, The Rise of the Creative Class, and approached the library about ways to get the community interested in the book and have them discuss it. Brown notes that many of Florida's theories about economic development are very relevant to what's happening in Carrboro, going on to say that, "Town leaders want to engage residents in the conversation and get their input into shaping the future of Carrboro." The book's central idea is that the new economy is driven by the "creative class" - scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, and educators - who create new ideas and new technologies. The author argues that communities looking to increase their economic base should create ways to attract this class. UNC's Office of Economic and Business Development is helping program sponsors coordinate a panel of speakers for the event.

For the final forum this fall, a coalition of nonprofits, including the North Carolina chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Volunteers for Youth, and Healthy Carolinians, approached the library about creating a program in conjunction with an upcoming exhibit. “Nothing to Hide,” a photographic exhibit featuring pictures and interviews of families living with mental illness, will be on display throughout Orange County this fall. Brown worked with Rebecca Barbee, a staff member at Volunteers for Youth, to choose the book for the November forum. The selection is a memoir about a family whose mother is schizophrenic. The author, Virginia Holman, will be among the panel of speakers for the evening. Barbee says that the Nothing to Hide committee is looking forward to the event and using the book as a launching pad for discussion. "One of the goals of the exhibit and the ancillary programs is to encourage people to talk openly about mental health issues and reduce the stigma attached to mental illness."

I hope that all of the books chosen will serve as starting points for larger conversations. The forum discussions will hopefully go beyond just discussing the book at hand. The books are an avenue to engaging the community in conversations that we hope will continue at work, at home, in coffee shops, and even on the bus.

For each forum, the Cybrary has multiple copies of the selected title available to check out. Since all three choices are well-known books, other area libraries may have copies available as well.

The Carrboro Cybrary is a branch of the Orange County Public Libraries, located within the Carrboro Century Center at 100 North Greensboro Street. For information about this series or any other library programs, contact the branch at 919-918-7387 or visit us on the web at . The Carrboro Recreation and Parks Department is a division within the Town of Carrboro. For more information on other upcoming programs, visit their website at .

For more information about the Community Book Forum, see this recent article in the Chapel Hill Herald.

Susan H. Brown is the Branch Librarian at the Carrboro Cybrary.



Am I the only person who sees the word "Cybrary" in the title of this post and reads it--over and over again--as "Crybaby?"


No. I saw it as "Crybaby." Was wondering what the BODY of the thread was going tobe about....won't tell you what I THOUGHT it would be about! ;~P


Indeed, the word Cybrary spell checks in MS Word as "Crybaby" -- drove me crazy for some time until I added it to the dictionary!

Discussion of the subject heading and the name of our library branch aside, I do hope to get the word out about this public forum. I hope the topics for the fall -- race relations, economic development, and mental health issues -- will be of interest to the OP community and to the general public as well.

Hope to see you @ the Cybrary soon,
Susan "the crybarian" Brown

Blood Done Sign My Name is an excellent book, and a great choice as UNC's freshmen summer read. It ought to make for a good discussion.

David, I couldn't get that link to work this evening. What is it?

As for Blood Done Sign My Name, I am in the middle of it right now. This is such a powerful book and it is about a whole lot more than the one simple murder in Oxford, NC. At this point, I think that if you were going to read one book about race in North Carolina, then this would have to be that book.


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