Community Book Connection Offers Opportunities and Events for Students

Lisa Gray

This year’s Community Book Connection (CBC) selection is “FEAR, Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm” by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Submissions for The CBC’s student showcase, held at the end of May, were accepted until April 1. The student showcase this semester will display projects and creative works made by students reflecting the book’s major themes. The showcase will also be available to view online.

The Community Book Connection is a unique reading program which engages participants in a year’s worth of events and studying all centered on a single book.

“The Community Book Connection is an interdisciplinary reading program across the college,” said Lauren Pollak, director of the CBC. “We have a committee of faculty members, other CCBC staff members, and some students as well who work together to create a full year’s worth of programming, events, projects, and curriculum, all based on one book that is the community book.”

In the month of March alone there were four events planned, including a stoop storytelling showcase and a creative writing forum with author Viet Thanh Nguyen.

The CBC plans a full academic calendar worth of events related to the content of the book. Many of the events are held during popular class times so professors can bring their classes. Events are open to anyone within or outside of CCBC to attend. Most events this year have been virtual.

There are also CBC internships available to students for next year’s book. Students are wanted for their skills to promote the CBC.

“We have internship positions available,” said Pollak. “We’re always looking for students who are interested in earning a little extra money to do promotional activities, and it can be in any sort of format depending on the student’s interests. So, writing, video, publications, mixed-media, artwork, all that sort of stuff.”

According to Pollak, the books are carefully selected years in advance. The book selection committee receives anywhere from 10-20 book proposals each year. The committee then spends the summer reading the books and narrowing them down through a democratic discussion. The final three are put up to a vote from students and faculty.

Pollak stated that getting as much input from students as possible is a priority, since the CBC is for the benefit of the students. She encourages students to vote for the next book. Voting will be available through the CBC site.

The book for the 2022-23 school year has already been selected. The book is “Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future” by Elizabeth Kolbert.

The books are chosen based on their relevance to current issues, as well as the ability to be applicable to a wide variety of disciplines. “This year's book on addressing fear, anxiety, and mindfulness coming out of a pandemic seemed to be very well received and time appropriate,” said Pollak.

The CBC is currently accepting book proposals for the 2023-24 school year. The proposal form is available through their site. “For our 2023-24 CBC book, we will be exploring the theme of The Other,” says the proposal form. “The Other refers to individuals who are seen by society as being different, and inferior in some profound or important way.”

The multidisciplinary aspect of the book and events is central to the goals of the CBC. “Training the mind to analyze different components of any fact of life involves an in-depth understanding of it from different perspectives,” says Lakshmi Rajkumar. “Literary skills developed through reading books about different subject matter (like the ones we read at CBC, books that have a social impact on the world) helps train the brain to think objectively and analyze concepts for what they are.”

The book is incorporated into many different curriculums by faculty willing to participate. This year’s book is being used in several vastly different courses for unique projects. For instance, art students are using the book as prompts for artwork in many different mediums, whereas health students are learning about the biology of fear.

Pollak hopes to transition more into in-person events in the near future. She also hopes to see more involvement from students.

“We want to get more student involvement in designing materials, in selecting books, proposing books,” said Pollak. “The more student-involvement we have, the greater it will be.”

For more information on The CBC or to view last year's student showcase visit:

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