Park City Education Foundation’s Author-in-Residence program begins new chapter

It will now be held in January, under name of One Book One Community

Sara Hutchinson, programs officer for the Park City Education Foundation, says the organization is tweaking its Author-in-Residence program due to feedback from teachers and students. The program will be held in January this school year, instead of September, and will also be rebranded as One Book One Community, sponsored by the PCEF.
(Bubba Brown/Park Record)

The Park City Education Foundation’s popular Author-in-Residence program is getting a new date and a new name to go along with it.

The program, in which a prominent author visits Park City to discuss a book they’ve written with students and community members, will be pushed back to January instead of near the beginning of the school year. It will also be renamed “One Book One Community, sponsored by PCEF” to reflect its growth from a school program to a community event that involves the contributions of the local libraries and Dolly’s Bookstore.

Sara Hutchinson, programs officer for the Park City Education Foundation, said the date change stems from feedback from students and teachers within the Park City High School English department who indicated the September timing was difficult to manage.

“They said it was intense to have this project at the beginning of the year,” she said. “And they felt that the students either read it over the summer or didn’t read it, and that was the first impression they had of the students. They felt like if we changed it to later in the year, it would be better.”

This school year, the program is scheduled to be held Jan. 8 and 9, coinciding with the students’ return from winter break. Hutchinson said that will give students ample time to finish the book, which this year will be “Salt to the Sea,” a historical fiction novel by Ruta Sepetys.

Additionally, the book will no longer be required reading for most high school students. The program will be part of the curriculum for some English classes, but the rest of the student body will be allowed to choose whether or not to participate.

“At the education foundation, we’re not afraid to take feedback,” Hutchinson said. “We’re agile and we love to make our programs work better for the community and for the schools, and this is an example of how we’re building on a program.”

As for the rebranding of the program, it’s the result of an evolution that’s been a few years in the making, Hutchison said. In recent years, the Summit County and Park City libraries have held events incorporating the Author-in-Residence book, and Dolly’s Bookstore highlights it each year. Their involvement has increased the scope of the program, bringing it out of the schools and into the community.

“Partnering with the community and the libraries has been a really nice fit,” she said. “We appreciate their support and we’ve been integrating the program. One Book One Community is a national brand, and that’s essentially what this can be — one book for the community — more so than Author-in-Residence.”

Hutchinson said that “Salt to the Sea” is the perfect book to kick off the program’s new era because, while the novel is geared toward young adults, it’s a historical fiction set during World War II whose themes are relevant to readers of many ages.

“It is a book that the whole community can enjoy,” she said. “Your high school student, the family and parents, and even some of the younger siblings can enjoy it.”

She added that she’s eager to see how the program evolves from here with even more support from the community.

“It is a great opportunity to be able to attract an author that is so well known to our small town,” she said. “It’s exciting. I’m a reader and I love nothing more than hearing a personal story from an author talking about her or his literature. It’s really the opportunity to hear their inspiration.”


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