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‘Rogue Reads,’ in third year, has music theme

“Music and Community” is the theme of this year’s Rogue Reads initiative.

Spearheaded by Jackson County Library Services and the Jackson County Library Foundation, the program encourages people to read and discuss the same four books. This year the books are “Music is History” by Questlove, “If I Ever Get Out of Here” by Eric Gansworth, “Amina’s Voice” by Hena Khan, and“Because” by Mo Willems, illustrated by Amber Ren.

“I think coming out of the pandemic, one of the things that people were really missing and were really excited about was getting to go to concerts — get back into those gathering places where music is being played and shared,” said Carrie Turney Ross, JCLS area manager.

“While we are not doing concerts at the library, this is coming from that desire for people to connect again through music and hear the songs that we grew up with and have emerged throughout the last few years as we have gone through a big experience together.”

Rogue Reads, starting in December and ending February, is open to all people, regardless of age.

“We like to have a book for each age group,” Ross said. “That’s a unique thing to JCLS that most libraries don’t do. There’s an opportunity for an intergenerational conversation. We’re all connected.”

Thirty copies of each of the four “Rogue Reads” books are available at the library. As well, there are digital copies from apps, OverDrive and Hoopla, which Ross said people could use if they have a smart device. The library’s own Beanstack platform can also be used to digitally access the books.

Under Rogue Reads, exclusive discussions about the books at set times and places don’t occur, according to Ross. Instead, programs are offered to help foster discussions.

“We have a lot of programs happening ... and we’re hoping that at each, people have the opportunity to talk about the books, wherever they are in their reading process,” Ross said.

Rogue Reads is about more than reading or discussing this year’s selected books. It incorporates events such as a virtual author talk with Khan at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 17, a virtual talk with Gansworth at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 21. A free, family-friendly Rogue Valley Symphony concert at the Craterian, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford, at noon, Saturday, Jan. 21, will feature the song in Willems’ picture book “Because.”

Ross laughed when asked if JCLS tried to book Questlove, who leads Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon’s band.

“Questlove is a very busy man,” Ross said. “We definitely reached out, (but) we weren’t able to work it out this year. I really wanted Questlove!”

Those who participate can win prizes, including an acoustic guitar and case, four passes to the Britt Orchestra concert season, a $50 iTunes gift card or a basket full of goodies.

“When you join the reading challenge on our Beanstack app, we’re asking you to complete five activities and earn five badges,” Ross said. “Once you’ve earned those five, you’re entered into the all-ages grand-prize drawing.”

For more information, log onto jcls.org/roguereads.

Reach reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or kopsahl@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.