Media Kit

About Northern Colorado Common Read

The NCCR is a community-wide reading initiative designed to bring people of all ages and from various libraries together to read, discuss and celebrate a single book. This program is a collaborative effort of library systems all across the Front Range and Northern Colorado including Aims Community College, Berthoud Community Library District, Boulder Public Library, Clearview Library District, High Plains Library District, Sterling Public Libraries, Wellspring Library (NCMC) and Westminster Public Libraries.

Why Is This Important

As a nation we are experiencing a decline in the number of people who can and are reading for pleasure. Reading is no longer a timeless, universal capability. As this decline in reading continues our nation becomes less informed, active and independent-minded.

Participating in a Common Read initiative provides families with literacy opportunities, promotes reading, heightens the awareness of reading as a pleasurable activity, and introduces various cultures, ideas and books. This community experience brings people of all ages, ethnicities, and education levels together to discuss relevant social issues related to the themes of a common book.

About the Book

This year's selected book is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. With input from their communities, staff from the participating libraries selected this book for its inspiring message of resilience, forgiveness and perseverance. Unbroken pays homage to The Greatest Generation and provides an opportunity to honor and relate to all veterans and bring the humanity of war to life -- the trauma and the triumph.

Unbroken tells the remarkable true life story of Louis Zamperini, a U.S. Olympic athlete and WWII B-24 bombardier. In 1943, Zamperini’s US Army Air Forces plane was shot down over the Pacific Ocean. He survived 47 days in a life raft only to be picked up by the Japanese navy and taken as a prisoner of war. As a POW, Zamperini was tortured in Japan, for 30 months, until the end of World War II.

In boyhood, Zamperini was a cunning and incorrigible delinquent. Then during his teen years, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. When World War II started, the athlete joined the US Army Air Forces, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

“It takes only a few pages of Unbroken, Hillenbrand’s marvelous account of Zamperini’s adventures…to see why his story so captured her imagination—and to see how well her seven years of work have paid off. Unbroken is wonderful twice over, for the tale it tells and for the way it’s told. A better book than Seabiscuit, it manages maximum velocity with no loss of subtlety. With a jeweler’s eye for a detail that makes a story live, Hillenbrand compresses pages of explanation into a paragraph and sometimes just a line. Even the planes come alive… [Her] prose, transparent and understated, is no less compelling.” -Newsweek

Celebrate the NCCR

This year’s NCCR will run October 1 – November 12. The participating libraries have developed an extraordinary line up of events and book discussions that support the themes of Unbroken. All events (excluding fundraisers) are free and open to the public. A complete list of programs has been included with the physical press kit and is also available online.

Additional Information Regarding the Decline in Reading

According to the report Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America from the National Endowment for the Humanities:

• Less than half of the adult American population now reads literature. (In this survey, literature is defined as any novels or short stories, any poetry and any drama, with no distinctions made for quality or length.)

• The percentage of the U.S. adult population reading any book has declined by seven percent over the past decade.

• Literary reading is declining among all age groups, but the steepest decline is in the youngest age groups. According to Reading at Risk, “No one factor caused this decline in reading, and no one solution could reverse the trend. Journalists, writers, teachers, education administrators, publishers all need to address the problem in their spheres.”

Why does it matter that literary reading is in decline?

• Reading is no longer a timeless, universal capability

• As more Americans lose this capability, our nation becomes less informed, active, and independent-minded. These are not qualities that a free, innovative, or productive society can afford to lose.

• Literary reading strongly correlates to active civic participation. Literary readers are more likely than non-literary readers to perform volunteer and charity work, visit art museums, attend performing arts events, and even attend sporting events.

• The National Association of Manufacturers recently published another survey entitled Skills Gap 2005, in which 51 percent of respondents stated that reading/writing/communication skills were a serious deficiency in the workplace. That ranks just barely behind the number one deficiency, technical skills, at 53 percent.

• The College Board survey Writing: A Ticket to Work stated that bad writing costs corporate America around $3.1 billion per year.

Can a program like the NCCR really make a difference?

• No single program can entirely reverse this trend. However, promoting a literate and educated community can lead to a more informed and involved society.

• To help ensure the success of future generations society must recognize and respond to such critical changes in this very fundamental skill set. Particularly in this economy libraries across the nation are experiencing tremendous increases in usage and circulation. Libraries have long been one of our nation’s most trusted and stable institutions. Now is the time for them to take the lead on addressing this issue by actively engaging community partners and encouraging them to make reading and literacy a priority in our community.

Participating Libraries

Aims Community College

Berthoud Community Library District

Boulder Public Library

Clearview Library District

High Plains Library District

Sterling Public Library

Westminster Public Library