11th Annual Silicon Valley Reads Kicks Off in Campbell

The three-month long series offers 123 different public events in 15 cities throughout the county of Santa Clara.


Los Gatos resident Diane McNutt has been organizing Silicon Valley Reads for the last 10 years. The annual event aims at getting everyone, adults and children alike, reading the same books on the same themes in order to spark conversation and build community.

In 2012, the series held 100 events and had more than 9,000 people participate.

McNutt says that those numbers are impressive but what sticks in her mind as example of what this reading series is all about is a conversation she had with a Campbell friend.

“Months after the series was over, a friend of mine from Campbell told me that she had started a group at her church, about eight Christian and eight Muslim women, using the Silicon Valley Reads books to start a conversation,” McNutt says. “Those are the kinds of stories where we really are having an impact in engaging the community and starting important conversations and there’s nothing better than that.”

The 2013 Silicon Valley Reads series kicks off Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m. at the Campbell Heritage Theatre with Mercury News columnist Mike Cassidy interviewing the two authors, Brian Castner, author of The Long Walk, and Sue Diaz, author of Minefields of the Heartpanel and music performed by students of Prospect High School.

Along with the two books for adults to read and the four children's books that allow the younger readers a way to participate, McNutt says that this year's series has a variety of events that wil appeal to all age-groups.

"The program has evolved over the years, like last year, and we have a huge variety of events of all types that are focused not just on the books but the theme 'invisible wounds of war,'" she says. "We do have something for every age group and interest to draw them in and encourage them to read, think and talk. We have children’s authors, authors, films, panel discussion, experiential activities like writing letters to veterans that will be collected by local libraries.

"Cupertino is doing a collection of items with South Bay Moms for those on active duty," McNutt says.

“In Mountain View, I discovered that the Moffett Field History Museum existed,” she says. “It’s fun and the exhibits there talk about how Moffett Field has been involved in America’s military since the 1930s. There will be coffee and donuts like USO, a chance for the community to visit the museum for free. Meet the authors and casual conversation, enjoy a donut and make a memory."

In Campbell, San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga and Santa Clara, local celebrities head out to the libraries to read during story time.

“Celebrity story time is a way to help bring more families in and experience the stories of one of our children’s books: Night Catch and Nubbs,” McNutt says. “We’ve done some celebrity story times in past years at the Children’s Discovery Museum but we decided to do this in the community, have Mayors and media people come out. It’s a fun and different way of experiencing a story time.

"There really is no excuse for everyone not to be involved in some way and to learn more."

The theme for the 2013 Silicon Valley Reads series is the "Invisible Wounds of War."

"As we looked at this theme, we found that everyone is only a couple of people away of knowing someone or has a family member serving," she says. "It’s the universal experience."


*Other Silicon Valley Reads events scheduled for Campbell are:

Tue, Feb 5 - Brenda Ehrmantraut

Brenda Ehrmantraut will read her book Night Catch and talk about how the book was important to her family. The event for parents and children will feature a starry craftactivity. Co-sponsored by Friends of Campbell Library.

  • 7:00 p.m.
  • Campbell Library, 77 Harrison Ave.

Feb. 7 - Celebrity Story Time

Campbell Mayor Evan Low reads Night Catch at the Preschool Story Time

  • 10:30 a.m.
  • Campbell Library, 77 Harrison Ave.

Feb. 19 - Celebrity Story Time

This special Family Story Time features TV news journalist and host Maggi Scura reading Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine and a Miracle. All ages welcome.

  • 7:15 p.m.
  • Campbell Library, 77 Harrison St.

March 2 - “Striking a Chord”

Boredom and loneliness – the side effects of repeated and long-term deployments – canplague soldiers, as can depression, anxiety, and insomnia. This documentary explores what happens when exhausted and often traumatized soldiers on the frontline of America’s warin Iraq encounter a band from back home.

Putting politics aside, this film travels to a series of remote American military bases, and through a string of deeply personal conversations and experiences builds an understanding of the needs of troops deployed overseas.

  • 2-2:30 p.m.
  • Campbell Library, 77 Harrison Ave.

Sat, March 2 - Brian Castner

Brian Castner, author of The Long Walk, talks about being in combat and the difficulties he experienced when he returned home. Q&A follows. Co-sponsored by Friends of Campbell Library.

  • 2:30 p.m.
  • Campbell Library, 77 Harrison Ave.

*Information provided by Silicon Valley Reads 2013

Silicon Valley Reads is presented by the Santa Clara County Office of Education, Santa Clara County Library District and the San Jose Public Library Foundation, with funding from foundations, nonprofit organizations, corporations and private donors.

There will be 123 public events during the Silicon Valley Reads series (with about a dozen school events, closed to the public) that run from Jan. 30 to April 13 throughout Silicon Valley. For a complete list of events, visit www.SiliconValleyReads.org or email SVReads@aol.com.


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