Every year for the last nine years, the Allegheny County Library Association has chosen a single book as a focal point for a community-wide discussion on a given topic. This year’s theme for the “One Book, One Community” effort is “Charity and Kindness” and the book chosen to represent that theme is Cami Walker’s ’29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving can Change Your Life.” At the age of 33 Walker was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and a friend gave her a “prescription” to give away 29 gifts in 29 days. She took on the challenge and wrote the book as a result of her life-changing experience.
Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA) Community Partnership Coordinator Charity Leonetti says this is not just a story of giving away things. “What begins to emerge is how Cami’s interaction and attentiveness to other people in her life really changed her perspective,” says Leonetti.
Libraries throughout the county will be launching their own One Book, One Community events and the ACLA will sponsor events April 6th and 7th with the author. The association will also be partnering with Leadership Pittsburgh for a community discussion. Details on all the events can be found Online. Several libraries in the system have purchased extra copies of the book for their patrons. To help local libraries the ACLA has built book club kits that can be checked out for up to five weeks.
The book has spawned an international movement with people taking their own 29-day challenge. “In the end of the book there are some comments and testimonies from people who have taken on the 29-day challenge themselves and how it has made a difference in their lives,” says Leonetti.