About Lake Oswego Reads

The Lake Oswego Public Library has been recognized by national organizations, such as U.S. Conference of Mayors, for this immersive program that encourages all members of the community to read the same book, discuss its message, and celebrate an atmosphere of learning amongst all age groups. This will be the program’s 15th year and all events will be free thanks to financial support from the Friends of the Lake Oswego Public Library, Lake Oswego Rotary Club, and the Lake Oswego Review.

What is the purpose of this program?
Lake Oswego Reads provides an enjoyable common reading experience for the entire Lake Oswego community, while promoting the Lake Oswego Public Library as an educational and cultural hub for the community. This program is designed to bring the community together by inviting participants to read a book and enjoy a series of events which expand on the book's cultural, social, and political themes.

Who selects the book?
A 21-member Steering Committee for Lake Oswego Reads, consisting of librarians, community leaders, retired professors, high school English teachers, and high school students:  www.ci.oswego.or.us/loreads/steering-committee

The book is selected from suggestions from the public and the committee. In selecting Caste for 2021, the committee read and reviewed more than 40 highly rated and recommended titles to select one of exceptional writing quality that would create discussion within the Lake Oswego community and lead an array of complimentary events.

Community members are also welcome to suggest books for subsequent years.  Suggestions can be submitted to Nancy Niland at: nniland@lakeoswego.city 

Lake Oswego Reads Selection Guidelines

What are the guidelines for book selection for Lake Oswego Reads?

The Lake Oswego Public Library is committed to the freedom to read, and to the values of anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion.  As such, the library seeks to lift up historically marginalized voices in our programs, with the goal of engaging all community members and fostering many learning opportunities. 

The selected book should:

Strengthen community relationships, foster discussion among residents, and explore our shared humanity, through reading.
Demonstrate high quality writing.
Be appropriate for high school aged readers and older.
Appeal to a wide range of readers.
Offer opportunities for additional citywide special events.
Be affordable and available in alternative formats such as audiobook and eBook.
Have an author and/or authority available to speak.

What is this year’s book about?
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson examines the foundations and structures of caste systems in America, Germany, and India, while illustrating the evolution of injustices against the subordinate castes and how human societies can challenge and dismantle caste systems.  It is an engrossing read supported by 45 pages of footnotes and an 11-page bibliography.

What if I don’t agree with the author’s point-of-view?
The views expressed by the author are her own. Views do not reflect an official policy or position of the library, city, organizers, or sponsors. As with all literature, we invite you to engage with the materials and come to your own conclusions.

Libraries are non-partisan institutions with a mission to serve everyone and provide forums for free speech. Within the Lake Oswego Public Library’s collection, the community will find materials expressing a full range of viewpoints, including opposing viewpoints, to explore.

What if I’m more of a fiction reader?
The Lake Oswego Reads selection committee read many excellent fiction books this year, but felt Caste was the most well-written and interesting and the title they were most enthusiastic to share with others.

Feel free to explore the 42 books that the committee read and considered for further reading:  www.ci.oswego.or.us/loreads/books-considered-2021

How are artists selected for the Lake Oswego Reads Art Exhibition?
To qualify for the LO Reads Art Exhibition, an Artist must:

  • Be a Professional Artist
  • Create in a medium that compliments the exhibition
  • Be responsible for:
    • Deadlines
    • Following the exhibition requirements
    • Participating in the:  
      • Critique 
      • Reception
      • Author/Artist audience
      • Lecture
      • Transportation & curation of the traveling show 
    • Other jobs such as:  Artist name tags/Lecture ticket coordination/Curation/Show cards/Scheduling of traveling show/Distribution of returned paintings

To be considered, the Artist should send the following to Nancy Niland at: nniland@lakeoswego.city

  1. Five (5) examples of their work
  2. Resume
  3. Artist Statement
  4. Website address

Student Art Submissions
This year we are soliciting art from high school students for Lake Oswego Reads 2021. Submissions will be managed by our Volunteer Youth Artist Director, Alma de la Melena Cox. More information about student art requirements can be found on the announcement page.