Salt Lake County Library Services: “One Book One County”

Samantha Hastings with Salt Lake County Library’s West Jordan branch joins Studio 5 to talk about this year’s selection.

Salt Lake County Library Services continues the One County, One Book program in 2008 with its third annual selection, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It is the acclaimed and award-winning story of Liesel Meminger, a German girl in 1939, whose life is changed forever when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow: a book.

It is an act of thievery that leads her to a love affair with books and words. Soon she is stelling books from Nazi book burnings,the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found. One of the most talked about novels of recent year’s, this profoundly moving story is already considered a classic.

The One County, One Book program is designed to create a countywide discussion by encouraging all Salt Lake County residents to read the same extraordinary book, and The Book Thief* is the kind of literary achievement readers will love talking about. Last year’s selction, Life of Pi, was the single most circulated title in Salt Lake County, checked out more than even the last Harry Potter Book.

From April through September 2008, everyone in the county is encouraged to “get on the same page” and experience The Book Thief. Related events will be programmed at various county libraries throughout the promotion. Visit the One Book website or any Salt Lake County Library branch for more information.

How does the Library choose The Book?

The program chooses books with the goal of bringing communities together and promoting greater understanding and dialogue. The primary criteria is that it’s available in paperback and other formats, it’s discussable (multiple themes and symbolic elements), has broad appeal to men and women, and is a book that is exeptional that they can promote to every citizen in the county. The committee reads the suggested books and votes for the one they think would be the best.

Why did the Library choose The Book Thief?

It’s a small story about a girl, some words, an accordionists, some fanaatical Germans, a jewish fist fighter and quite a lot of thievery. It an unforgettable and moving story narrated by death about the German people during WWII that weren’t Nazis. Part of the book is based on the real life experiences of the author Markus Zusak’s mother who was a child in Germany during WWII.

The One Country, One Book website is It includes information abou the author, library programs and events, online resources for WWII, etc, and book discussion guides. To be interactive, write a reveiw, blog, interactive booklist “Explore the Themes” or

Also get recommendations for other great titles by clicking on the themes, or turning the pages of the “book.”
“If you feel like it, come with me. I will tell you a story, I will show you something.”

— The Book Thief, p.

* The Book Thief is

– a Publishers Weekly “Best Book of the Year,”

– a Kirkus Reviews’ Editor’s Choice,

– an American Library Association Notable Book,

– a School Library Journal Best Book of the year.

– a Booklist Best Book of the Year,

– a New York Times Bestseller

– a USA Today best seller,

– Winner of the Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Children’s Literature and

– Winner of the National Jewish Book Award

To learn more about the Salt Lake County Library or the One Book One County program visit

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