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 17th 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 enriching 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.

What opportunities are available to participate?
Read the book, discuss it and/or attend events! 800 free books will be distributed to library cardholders, thanks to the Friends of the Lake Oswego Library, and many copies are available in the library system, in print, audio and digital formats. Events are free of charge and all events will be hybrid when possible.  

Who selects the book?
An 16-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 The Seed Keeper for 2023, the committee read and reviewed more than 20 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?

A haunting novel spanning several generations, The Seed Keeper follows a Dakota family’s struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most.

Rosalie Iron Wing has grown up in the woods with her father, Ray, a former science teacher who tells her stories of plants, of the stars, of the origins of the Dakota people. Until, one morning, Ray doesn’t return from checking his traps. Told she has no family, Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family in nearby Mankato -- where the reserved, bookish teenager meets rebellious Gaby Makespeace, in a friendship that transcends the damaged legacies they’ve inherited.

On a winter’s day many years later, Rosalie returns to her childhood home. A widow and mother, she has spent the previous two decades on her white husband’s farm, finding solace in her garden even as the farm is threatened first by drought and then by a predatory chemical company. Now, grieving, Rosalie begins to confront the past, on a search for family, identity, and a community where she can finally belong. In the process, she learns what it means to be descended from women with souls of iron—women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss, through war and the insidious trauma of boarding schools.

Weaving together the voices of four indelible women, The Seed Keeper is a beautifully told story of reawakening, of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors.

Why was programming moved to April instead of February?
In an effort to create more manageable printing deadlines for the Lake Oswego Review, reduce weather cancellations and to allow space for Black History Month and Lunar New Year during the month of February, the month of events for Lake Oswego Reads were moved to April. 

What if I don’t agree with the author’s point-of-view?
The views expressed by the author are their 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.

How are artists selected for the Lake Oswego Reads Art Exhibition?
If selected as a participating artist you are responsible for:

  • Be a Professional Artist
  • Create in a medium that complements the exhibition
  • Be responsible for:
    • Deadlines
    • Following the exhibition requirements
    • Participating in the:  
      • Critique 
      • Reception (April 3)
      • Author/Artist audience (April 25)
      • Lecture (April 25)
    • Additional tasks such as:  Show card placement /Artist name tags/Lecture ticket coordination/Artist Reception/Transportation & curation of the traveling show for one or two of the months.

To be considered, the Artist should send the following to Jan Rimerman janrimerman@gmail.com

  1. Five (5) images of your current work as a jpg. Label the image as follows & send it as an attachment: LastName-Title-Medium-Size HxW in inches-Price (If you use a Mac, drag the image to the desktop & label it there, then attach to your email.)
  2. Resume
  3. Artist Statement
  4. Website address

LO Reads Finished Art Requirements:

To be hung as 2-D

The artwork size for the LO Reads piece can be no larger than 16" x 24".   This is the OUTSIDE dimension of the frame.  The artwork may be created in any dimension that does not exceed 384 square inches.   No diptychs or triptychs. (It’s okay if they are framed in one frame & meet the measurement requirements.  (This is hard & fast due to the space in the libraries around the state.)

All artwork is ready to be hung.
All artwork is available and for sale.
Artwork is appropriate for young viewers as it will be exhibited in libraries around the state.
All work stays with the traveling show until Dec. 2023