At a time when so many things - language, religion, politics - seem to be dividing people, it is nice to see something that offers a chance to unite the community.
The Gloversville Public Library is offering the community that chance with its Gloversville READS! 2013 program.
In December, local people were asked to nominate books that would be good for the entire community to read and discuss this year.
Of the titles nominated, the list was narrowed to five finalists.
The finalists are "Elsewhere: A Memoir" by Gloversville native Richard Russo; "Following Atticus" by Tom Ryan; "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana De Rosnay; "She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall" by Misty Bernall; and "A Dog's Purpose" by W. Bruce Cameron.
Voting will conclude Feb. 15. The winning book and details of related programs and activities will be announced March 15.
Ballots are available at the library. People also can vote online by following a link from gloversvillelibrary.org.
As Library Director Barbara Madonna noted, the program can bring the community together through a common book. The community as a whole can strengthen its commitment to reading, while helping people find out more about the other people who live here.
Last year, the library hosted a number of baseball-themed events in conjunction with several other community organizations. Children were encouraged to read Ernest Lawrence Thayer's 1888 poem "Casey at the Bat," and the community title for adults was W. P. Kinsella's "Shoeless Joe," the novel that was later adapted into the movie "Field of Dreams."
The library hosted discussions of "Shoeless Joe," a talk about "Casey at the Bat" by University at Albany Professor Rob Edelman, trips to see the Tri-Valley Cats in Troy and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and a baseball-themed Gloversville Civic Band concert.
In an age when every institution must cater to the choices of individuals, having something enjoyable that gives people a common experience to discuss is almost a rarity.
We encourage people to participate in the program. We have always encouraged voting in elections; it's not hard to encourage it here either. A book you have an interest in will make it more fun to take part in the program.
Ultimately, we are all being offered a chance to learn and make a connection with other members of the community we call home. We shouldn't pass it up.