“What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism” by Dan Rather A Community Book Discussion


The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County presents a community book discussion on Dan Rather’s bestselling memoir/essay collection, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism. Rather’s topics are wide-ranging, and his ruminations on what it means to be an American in the 21st century are thought-provoking.  Each session of the community book discussion will feature a panel of experts then broaden the discussion to include attendees, encouraging participants to engage with each other on a variety of topics in each chapter, including The Vote, to Public Education, to Courage and Empathy.

Because summer in Ohio is not without its humid charms, the Library will provide light snacks and “mocktails” at each meeting (Alcohol-free beverages), with community volunteers serving as Celebrity MockTenders. The book discussion will take place in the Library’s “Summer Annex,” an ADA accessible, tented area in the West parking lot. There will be a custom mocktail for each event, and light snacks; the final book discussion on July 20th will feature complimentary apple pie and ice cream.

Panelists for the series include Mount Vernon Mayor Matt Starr; Jen Miller, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters; Jeff Gottke, President of the Area Development Foundation of Knox County; Kenyon College President Sean Decatur; Mount Vernon Arts Consortium Executive Director Martin Booker; City Council Members Tanner Salyers and Samantha Scoles, Julia Warga; Jay Allred, Publisher of The Richland Source; Ohio State Senator Tina Maharath; New Directions Executive Director Lori Jones-Perkins; Brian Ball, City Engineer; Dave Heithaus, Director of Green Initiatives at Kenyon College; and Library Director John K. Chidester.

The “What Unites Us” Community Book Discussions will be held on Tuesdays, June 8th-29th and July 6th-20th from 6:30 pm-8:00 pm at the Main Library, 201 North Mulberry Street, Mount Vernon. The Children’s Floor will be open and staffed with student volunteers to provide storytime, reading, and craft activities for kids ages 3-12, while the adults participate in the community book discussion. The Library is providing 50 free print copies of What Unites Us available for pickup at the Main Library starting May 26th. Copies can be sent to branch libraries upon request, while supplies last. What Unites Us is also available in multiple electronic and paper formats via the Library catalog, including an audiobook, a graphic novel, and an ebook available on Libby and Hoopla.

As with all Library programs, this event series is free and open to the public. Registration is required, and seating is limited, so please contact knoxwrites1@gmail.com or call (740) 392-BOOK extension 259.

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Information courtesy of the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County

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