Human Stories: Unlocking Ideas and Opening Minds

Human Stories: Unlocking Ideas and Opening Minds

My first college-level literature class was called “Writing the Essay,” a required seminar meant to teach the basics of crafting an argument rooted in textual evidence. We would write three essays over the course of the class in response to novels, essays and plays we read. I entered the seminar with a chip on my shoulder. I’d always been a bookworm; I knew how to read closely, and I was confident in my writing. It’d be an easy A.

Oh, how wrong I was.

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Introducing Books@Work: The Movie

Introducing Books@Work: The Movie

We are delighted to unveil our newest project: a short film introducing Books@Work in multiple voices, especially those of our partners and participants. This video captures the enthusiasm we see every day, helping us to share the Books@Work model, why our company partners choose to work with us and the experience of Books@Work from a participant’s perspective.

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The Power of Story: Our 2015 Annual Report

The Power of Story: Our 2015 Annual Report

In surveys and interviews—nearly 350 to date—our participants’ stories confirm our aspirations: Books@Work provides a safe space to reflect and share, creating the conditions for effective collaboration and more diverse and inclusive organizations and community.

Books@Work is growing—and learning, which is why I am pleased to announce the release of our 2015 Annual Report. In it, we celebrate our learnings and discoveries. During the time this report covers—January 1 to December 31, 2015—we served 586 participants in 40 programs in both company and community settings, partnering with 87 professors from 25 colleges in 8 states. Collectively, our participants read 101 books and many short stories.

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Announcing a New Community Program Serving Veterans

Announcing a New Community Program Serving Veterans

For one short story, Veterans were so enthusiastic they found themselves researching names and symbols before and after their discussion. The most thrilling testaments come from the veterans themselves. The professor, one Veteran said, “was energetic, excited and open-minded. She made us feel like her students in her university class.” He continued, “You’ve created a marvelous and exciting opportunity for us to engage our minds, and in ways that most of us haven’t for quite some time. It was awesome to see and feel the critical thinking being done, and to see the creative juices flow!”

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Books@Work and 21st Century Literacies: Hall of Philosophy, Chautauqua Institution

Books@Work and 21st Century Literacies: Hall of Philosophy, Chautauqua Institution

When we began a Books@Work program with the Chautauqua staff in January, we were excited to partner with an organization whose mission is so aligned with our own. The opportunity to speak about Books@Work in the context of Chautauqua’s 21st Century Literacy theme provided a moment of reflection and a chance to revisit our observations about the relationship–and the future–of literature and literacy.

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Skepticism, Engagement and Fond Farewells

Skepticism, Engagement and Fond Farewells

In which we say goodbye to Rachel Burstein, our Academic Director, as she pursues opportunities closer to home (and her young child) in California. Rachel wrote frequently about the program on this blog, and in other venues. In this post, she reflects on special aspects of the Books@Work experience. Please join us in thanking Rachel for her powerful contributions to the growth and development of Books@Work, and encouraging her to keep in touch.

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Middle English at the Kitchen Table

Middle English at the Kitchen Table

In which we welcome our new Curriculum and Program Director, Jessica Isaac, to The Notebook and the Books@Work team. As Jessica writes of her passion for literature and culture: “Pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in English satisfied my hunger for greater understanding about language and texts and their relationship to culture, but I am happiest when I am sharing that knowledge with others… with people who have felt excluded from the conversation, who haven’t had the time or money or invitation to have discussions about meaning and experiences of awe and delight. And what always happens when I have those conversations is that I see what I have learned completely differently.” How lucky we are to have Jessica on the team – help us welcome her!

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Marking Time, Book by Book

Marking Time, Book by Book

In which we welcome our new Communications and Marketing Director, Cecily Hill, to The Notebook and the Books@Work team. As Cecily writes: “Books@Work is a natural extension of the work I undertook while pursuing my PhD: exploring the impact books and narrative have on life-long opportunities and our interactions with others.” Please help us welcome her to the fold.

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Opening Windows Through Others’ Stories

Opening Windows Through Others’ Stories

Reading, writing and discussing poetry has the power to open windows in life-changing ways, giving readers the freedom to tell their own stories and view themselves as capable learners and contributors. Our current partnership with the East Cleveland Municipal Court and From Lemons to Lemonade (FL2L) bring Books@Work to a group of single mothers and other women whose lives rarely afford them the opportunity to read, let alone reflect.

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