Jay County Public Library 
315 N. Ship Street, Portland, IN  47371 
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Jay County Reads Archive

The Jay County Reads One Book series began in 2004 with a grant from the Ball Brothers Foundation.  Read more about "One Book" phenomenon and the local take on this phenomenon. 

About "One Book"

According to the Library of Congress Center for the Book, “One Book” projects (community-wide reading programs), initiated by the Washington Center for the Book in 1998 with “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book,”  have been introduced across the U. S. A. and around the world.  Among the communities in Indiana that have had such projects are Bloomington, Evansville, Indianapolis, Lafayette, Madison, Marion, Northwest Indiana, Valparaiso and Vigo County. 

What are other communities reading?  Check out the lists and locations at The Library of Congress Center for the Book.

The American Booksellers Association publishes a similar list.

Read more about the development of "If All of Seattle Read the Same Book and other projects at the Washington Center for the Book.  Nancy Pearl of the center is often cited as the creator of the program.  Read more about her and take a look at her 2003 book of favorites and reading suggestions, Book Lust:  recommended reading for every mood, moment and reason (011.73 P359).


February 2004 was the kick off of “Jay County Reads, a community-wide program bringing residents together reading the same book.  Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom was chosen to be read, shared and discussed throughout the county. 

Mitch Albom, a sports columnist with the "Detroit Free Press", was fortunate to find a second chance with his mentor, Morrie Schwartz, his former college professor. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life.  Tuesdays with Morrie is his magical chronicle of their time together.

A grant from the Ball Brothers Foundation made the program possible, including making copies of the book available to area residents for a token fee of $2.  

Participants were encouraged to read the book on their own during February and March.  In April the library coordinated opportunities for discussion and reflection on the book as well as programs on related topics.  These included book chats for morning, afternoon, evening and lunch time groups, a Hands-On Program on Scrapbooking, a Journaling program and a presentation on Hospice/Home Elder Care.

Special book discussion groups were organized for teens and an essay contest for high school students gave them an opportunity to share their response to the book.  Prizes were offered for three winners in the essay contest:  First place - a computer or U.S. Savings Bond; Second place - a U.S. Savings Bond worth $600; Third place - a U.S. Savings Bond worth $400.  Winners were First place Caitlin Dunn  Second place Abby Schmiesing  Third place Kristin Sollenberger.

Learn more about Mitch Albom, his sportswriting and radio career, and his books at


What is mentoring?  Who mentored you?  Who do you mentor?
Did you have a  "Morrie" in your life?  Curious about the effect of mentors on others?  

Who Mentored You? from the Harvard Mentoring Project

National Mentoring Partnership offers ideas, links and resources



In 2006 Jay County Reads! continued a community-wide program bringing residents together reading the same book.  Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde was read, shared and discussed throughout the county for the 2006 program.

Paperback copies of the book were available to area residents for a reduced fee of $2 at the library.  Copies were also available at the Dunkirk Public Library. 

Participants read the book on their own during February and March.  In April the library coordinated groups for discussion and reflection on the book as well as programs on related topics. 

Author Catherine Ryan Hyde spoke to Jay Schools third graders in the morning, Tuesday, May 23, and visited the library that afternoon to meet the public and sign copies of her book

A preview description of the author's presentations proved true as Ms. Hyde charmed, entertained and challenged her audiences in the schools and at Arts Place. 

"One part inspirational speaker and one part stand-up comedian, her presentation is not what you might expect. It is fast, funny—sometimes irreverent. Audiences are inspired while having a good time. Catherine’s passion is to share the arc of a once-in-a-lifetime chain of events, beginning with the dramatic real-life experience that inspired Pay It Forward."

Jay County Reads! participants were encouraged to play The Giving Game!

More about Pay It Forward, Catherine Ryan Hyde, and the Pay It Forward movement.

Jay County Reads! in 2006 was supported through grants from The Portland Foundation,
The Cincinnatus League, and The Friends of the Jay County Public Library.


In 2007 Jay County Reads  featured Jacquelyn Mitchard.

Continuing the tradition of a community-wide program where area citizens read and discuss one book, the library added a new twist for 2007:  reading one author.  Everyone was invited to choose one title or more to read and discuss the author's work with friends, family, co-workers, at work, home or school -- or join one of the many discussion groups sponsored by the library.

The author visited Jay County on Thursday, October 11th.  She spoke at a luncheon on "Life as a Columnist" and at an evening program on "Life as a Novelist." 

Mitchard has authored books for adults, teens, and children. Mitchard’s first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was chosen as the first book in Oprah Winfrey’s televised book club and named by USA Today as one of the ten most influential books of the past 25 years.  The book was also transformed into a feature film produced by and starring Michelle Pfeifer.  Other bestselling novels by Mitchard include:  The Most Wanted, A Theory of Relativity, Twelve Times Blessed, Christmas, Present, The Breakdown Lane, Cage of Stars.   Her first young adult novel, Now You See Her, became available in February 2007.  In addition, Mitchard has published books for young children:  Starring Prima!; Rosalie, My Rosalie; and the picture book Baby Bat's LullabyReady, Set, School! was released in July 2007.

At the time of her visit, Mitchard's column “The Rest of Us” appeared locally in The Commercial Review and in other newspapers nationally.

Jay County Reads! in 2007 was supported through grants

The Commercial Review - Jay County's Daily Newspaper

Family Practice of Jay County, P. C. 



For Jay County Reads! 2008, readers throughout Jay County will met Icy Sparks, a young girl growing up in Eastern Kentucky in the 1950s with Tourette Syndrome. Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio had been chosen for Oprah's Book Club in 2001 and was also a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.



Rubio appeared at the library in October 2008 for a presentation and book signing. 
Additional programs included book discussions and programs about Tourette Syndrome.






      Jay County Reads! 2009 featured Truck:  A Love Story by Michael Perry



From the publisher:

“All I wanted to do,” says author Michael Perry, “was get my old pickup truck running. That, and plant a little vegetable garden. Then I got distracted by this woman…”

"From the opening sentence – The story begins on a pile of sheep manure the size of a yurt – Perry turns Truck into an offbeat jaunt in which the author struggles to grow his own food (“Seed catalogs are responsible for more unfulfilled fantasies than Enron and Penthouse combined”), live peaceably with his neighbors (one test-fires his black powder rifle in the alley) and sort out his love life. Along the way, he starts his hair on fire, is attacked by wild turkeys, takes a date to the fire department chicken dinner, and proposes marriage to a woman in New Orleans."

Visit Michael Perry's website to see his blog, videos and more, including truck pictures before and after.

Michael Perry is a humorist and author of the bestselling memoirs Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time, the essay collection Off Main Street, and  Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting. Since his visit he's written Visiting Tom:  A Man, a Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace.  Perry has written for Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Outside, Backpacker, Orion, and Salon.com, and is a contributing editor to Men’s Health. His essays have been heard on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Perry lives in rural Wisconsin, where he remains active with the local volunteer rescue service. Raised on a small dairy farm, Perry equates his writing career to cleaning calf pens—just keep shoveling, and eventually you’ve got a pile so big, someone will notice.

In his October visit, Perry read from his books, told stories, answered queries and signed books. 

Support for Jay County Reads!  2009 came from
The Goodrich Family Foundation
and The Friends of the Jay County Public Library.


Jay County Reads! 2013

Tess Gerritsen

Read any Tess Gerritsen title during September.

Hear Tess Gerritsen at the library
on Thursday, October 3rd at 3:00 pm
(space is limited, registration required)

Ms. Gerritsen began to write fiction while on maternity leave from her work as a physician. Her first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list.

Critics around the world have praised her novels as “Pulse-pounding fun” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “Scary and brilliant” (Toronto Globe and Mail), and “Polished, riveting prose” (Chicago Tribune). Publishers Weekly has dubbed her the “medical suspense queen”. Her series of novels featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the TNT television series “Rizzoli & Isles.”

Tess Gerritsen's visit to the Jay County Public Library was part of her tour of many libraries throughout Indiana.  She talked about her writing career, her way of working, her travels and the interaction she has had with her readers.

Other programs offered by the library in celebration of Tess Gerritsen and her books included a forensic science program presented by Indiana State Trooper John Petro and CSI Detective Shepherd of the Portland Police Department.  Clues @ your library invited visitors to the building to study photographs displayed in the youth fiction area and identify the locations in the library. 

Learn more about Tess Gerritsen and Tess Gerritsen's books




Jay County Public Library  Portland, Indiana