For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


In its 14th year, One Book examines our nation’s past and the power of perseverance

PHILADELPHIA, October 1, 2015—The Free Library of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s Office today announced the selection of Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier, as the 2016 One Book, One Philadelphia featured reading selection. Now in its 14th season, this literacy initiative encourages the entire greater Philadelphia region to come together through reading and discussing the same book. Running from February 2 through March 30, 2016, the One Book, One Philadelphia program will include more than 100 related events inspired by the featured selections, including panel discussions, film screenings, musical performances, and more. The One Book program will kick off on February 2, 2016, with a special author event featuring Charles Frazier.


National Book Award winner Cold Mountain is the acclaimed American epic of a Civil War soldier journeying through a divided country to return to the woman he loves, while she struggles to maintain her father’s farm and make sense of a new and troubling world. Coinciding with the East Coast premiere of the opera Cold Mountain, composed by Jennifer Higdon and Gene Scheer, the choice of the novel Cold Mountain gives One Book, One Philadelphia a unique opportunity to tie in with another major cultural event.


To focus on the larger scope of the Civil War, with all its complexities and ramifications, the Library has also chosen two adult companion books: The Civil War, by Geoffrey Ward with Ric Burns and Ken Burns, gives breadth of knowledge to events precipitating the war, decisive battles, and emancipation; Twelve Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup, tells the harrowing narrative of a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.


One Book, One Philadelphia Chair Marie Field commented, “With Cold Mountain and the companion books all focused on various aspects of the Civil War, we hope our One Book selections will provide a lens through which Philadelphia readers will discover history as a continuum, with many of the conflicts and struggles that divided us during the 1860s present in today's America.   These perceived connections with the past will offer an extraordinary opportunity for stimulating discussions and programming about the legacy of the Civil War, remaining issues, how we have evolved, and where we need to go."


Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon also commented on her appreciation of this year’s selection. “Cold Mountain is the story of an American odyssey, touching on the perils of war and its impact on individuals,” said Reardon. “The companion books add meaningful context to this wonderful work. We are delighted that One Book, One Philadelphia can bring the city together around these works beginning this February.”


Founded in 2003 by the Free Library and the Mayor’s Office, One Book motivates tens of thousands of people annually to read a featured selection and participate in related discussions, events, workshops, classes, and more. The 2016 One Book program is sponsored by The Field Foundation. Media sponsors include WHYY, Philadelphia Metro, Harmelin Media, and Keystone Outdoor Advertising.


All Free Library locations will have several hard copies of Cold Mountain and the adult companion books, The Civil War and Twelve Years a Slave—as well as the 2016 middle-grade companion book, Sounder by William H. Armstrong, and children’s companion book, Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson—for customers to borrow with a Free Library card. In addition, the Free Library will have ebook and audiobook copies for download from its website.



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The 61-location Free Library of Philadelphia system advances literacy, guides learning, and inspires curiosity with millions of digital and physical materials; 25,000 yearly programs and workshops; free public computers and extensive Wi-Fi; and rich special collections, including  those at Parkway Central Library and at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. With more than 6 million in-person and millions more online visits annually, the Free Library and the Rosenbach are among the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia and boast a worldwide impact.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850