This is Chance! Community Read Kickoff
with Author Jon Mooallem
On September 23rd, we welcomed author Jon Mooallem for the kickoff event of the Community Read! He read a bit from This is Chance!and talked about the process of researching and writing the book. Watch the recording of this event above.
This is Chance! Book Discussion Groups
The heart of the Community Read is the chance to discuss a common book with friends, neighbors and strangers from your community. These discussions are a chance for members of all three towns to meet one another and connect through great conversations about the book. All discussion sessions are open to patrons from each of the participating towns. Feel free to attend as many discussions as you’d like! Every one is sure to be unique. Each session will be capped at 15 people, in order to keep conversations manageable for all. More discussion sessions will be added as needed.
Don’t forget to register for each discussion group you’d like to attend!
Thursday, October 8 @ 6:30pm — Click here to register
Saturday, October 17 @ 2:00pm— Click here to register
Tuesday, October 20 @ 6:30pm — Click here to register
Monday, October 26 @ 3:00pm— Click here to register
Friday, November 6 @ 10:30am — Click here to register
Tuesday, November 10 @ 6:30pm— Click here to register
Tune In to This is Chance!: A Read-Aloud Series
Join us for one hour each Monday and Friday evening, as we read aloud This Is Chance!Reading doesn’t have to be solitary — listen in as your local librarians read aloud to you and your neighbors. Enjoy a snack, grab your knitting, or just sit back and relax with us as we enjoy This Is Chance! together, one chapter at a time.
Mondays and Fridays* October 5 – November 6, 7:00-8:00pm via Zoom
Registration is required for this program. Click here to register.
*We will not be meeting on Monday, October 12
This is a Podcast!: The Origins of This is Chance!
Wednesday, October 21
7:00-8:00 pm via Zoom
Did you know that the story of Genie Chance and the Great Alaska Earthquake which would eventually become our Community Read book This is Chance!, first emerged into the world back in 2017 as an episode of a podcast? Author Jon Mooallem originally collaborated on an early version of this story with a group of musicians who dubbed themselves the Frank Brink Community Players. Jon and the band (featuring members of The Decemberists and Black Prairie) performed this version live on-stage throughout the Pacific Northwest as part of a tour for Radiotopia Live. A recording from one of these performances was aired in 2017 as an episode of the popular podcast 99% Invisible.
Join us for this event, as we listen together to the original podcast version of This is Chance! Afterwards, we’ll be discussing the genesis of the story, the unique collaborative process of creating music around a non-fiction narrative, and how music and stories intersect. Joining us for this conversation will be author Jon Mooallem and musicians Nate Query and Jon Neufeld of the Frank Brink Community Players. All are welcome to attend and encouraged to bring questions for the Q&A to follow.
The capacity of resilience is invaluable during uncertain times. The good news is that resilience can be supported and promoted–even in the midst of adversity. During this gathering, we’ll prioritize connection as a vital ingredient for cultivating greater resilience and well-being. Our interactive conversation will begin with a short presentation and conclude with a stabilizing, stress-relieving practice. The wisdom of our network will also be harnessed as we gather a treasure trove of ways to stay healthfully connected to ourselves, one another and the outdoor beauty of Maine. Please have paper and pen available.
On Radio: A Conversation with Nora Flaherty, Host/Producer of All Things Considered on Maine Public Radio
Saturday, October 24
2:00 – 3:00 pm via Zoom
Nora Flaherty, host and producer of All Things Considered on Maine Public Radio will be joining us in conversation to discuss our Community Read book, This is Chance!, and the role of radio in difficult and uncertain times. In addition, Nora will discuss why she’s drawn to working in public media, how radio has the potential to connect us to one another and capture stories of everyday lives, and what it’s like to be a journalist covering moments of crisis. A question and answer with Nora will follow.
About Nora Flaherty
Nora Flaherty is originally from the Boston area but has lived in Chicago, Michigan, New York City and at the northern tip of New York state. Nora began working in public radio at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor in 2002, and has been an on-air host, a reporter, a digital editor, a producer, and, when they let her, played records. Nora has degrees in Political Science and Anthropology, but her proudest accomplishment is moving to Portland, where she lives with her husband, daughter and two dogs.
What Happens When
Sourdoughs Meet Mainahs?: A Cross-Country Cultural Exchange & Conversation co-hosted with Anchorage Public Library
Thursday, October 29
3:00 – 4:30 pm via Zoom
“Our force for counteracting chaos is connection.”
–Jon Mooallem, This is Chance!
Take an afternoon break and join us for this virtual meet-up and conversation with the patrons and librarians of the Anchorage Public Library, in Anchorage, AK. Bring along your curiosity and your favorite warm beverage to enjoy as we virtually connect with our Alaskan friends. Coffee, tea and conversation — no agenda, just a chance to meet, chat and connect with fellow human beings living on the opposite side of the country (4500 miles away!!). Some of our guests from the West lived through the events of This is Chance! and the much more recent 2018 Alaskan earthquake. This afternoon of informal conversation will be a chance to learn about everyday life in Alaska from some real Sourdoughs, as well as an opportunity for us to be Mainah ambassadohrs to our friends “from Away.” Come join us in expanding the idea of just how big a Community can be!
In times of crisis, our instinct is often to look out for our neighbors. But where do we start? How can we help? Join Sari Greene as she shares the story of how she founded the South Portland Community of Kindness, a community group intended as a resource to connect those who need assistance with those who can offer assistance as the community navigates the impact of COVID-19 together. Sari and a panel of representatives from local organizations will discuss the Community of Kindness’s trials and successes and will offer tips and inspiration for how to adapt this model to any community—from an entire town or neighborhood, all the way down to a single street.
Don’t Take a Chance: Building Community Resilience through Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response, with Scarborough Fire Chief, B. Michael Thurlow
Thursday, November 5
6:30 – 8:00 pm via Zoom
It’s essential for everyone to know how to be proactive, what to expect in the aftermath of a crisis, and the importance of individual and community resilience before and after disaster hits. Wherever you live, there are things you can do on a personal level—neighbors helping neighbors. Learn how federal, state, and local governments prepare for disaster and what you can do to help yourself, your family and your neighbors. Chief B. Michael Thurlow’s 44+ year career with the Scarborough Fire Department has developed his expertise in crisis response and disaster preparedness. The Chief’s overview will last an hour and will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.
About Chief Thurlow
Fire Chief B. Michael Thurlow is a life-long Scarborough resident who graduated from Scarborough High School and attended Southern Maine Community College. He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and uncles by joining the Scarborough Fire Department as soon as he was old enough at the age of 16. Michael has served as a member of the Pine Point Fire Company for nearly 45 years. He was appointed the Town’s part-time Emergency Management Director in 1980, a position he has held for 40 years. Four days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 Michael was appointed Scarborough’s career Fire Chief. Michael is married to his wife of 33 years Malvina, and they have a son, Michael, who was the 4th generation of the family to serve on the fire department, and now serves as a career Scarborough Police Officer.
Thornton Wilder’s 1938 play, Our Town tells the story of the fictional American small town of Grover’s Corners, NH and the everyday lives of its citizens during the early years of the 20th Century. Careful readers of our Community Read 2020 book selection, This is Chance!, will be aware of the central thematic role that Our Town plays in the book. Still one of the most performed plays anywhere after more than 80 years, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Our Town is widely considered an American classic and a long-time staple of local and high-school theater productions. Come join us as a talented local cast drawn from the Lyric Music Theater, Royal River Community Players, and a host of other great local theaters performs a live reading of Our Town. You won’t want to miss this unique communal experience of watching Wilder’s classic celebration of community and human life along with your friends and neighbors. It’ll be an intimate COVID-style virtual theatrical experience! A Q&A with the cast and director will follow.
We’ll be joined in this afternoon program by the patrons and librarians of Anchorage Public Library, who will be sharing their memories and photographs from the Great Alaskan Earthquake of 1964, and their reflections on how the effects of the quake have impacted Anchorage in the decades that followed. After the presentation, there will be time for questions and conversation with our friends from Anchorage, so be sure to bring your curiosity and your earth-shaking questions about life in Alaska, then and now. Come join us in expanding the idea of just how big a Community can be!
This is Chance! Book Talk
with Author Jon Mooallem
Wednesday, November 18
7:00 – 8:30 pm via Zoom
Join us as we welcome This is Chance! author Jon Mooallem one last time for the closing event of the Community Read 2020. You’ve read the book, talked about it with your friends and neighbors in discussions groups, and learned more about Alaska, the earthquake, and the origins, background and themes of This is Chance! Now it’s your chance to sit down with Jon and pick his brain about the book, his writing process, research methods and the decision making involved in reporting a story like this. Bring all your thoughts and questions and join us as we spend an evening in conversation with the author behind our inaugural Community Read book selection.