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Arts, Sports & Culture

Allegheny County Library Association Features "This I Believe" for One Book, One Community

"It's funny how you can keep on losing," says Charles Naegele, a New York City musician in the 1950s. "…and yet find you're really gaining all the time."

Naegele's account, along with other pieces written by Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, and many others were broadcast on the CBS Radio Network's "This I Believe" series from 1951 to 1955. The idea of allowing common and famous people to reflect on and recite their day-to-day thoughts on-air was revived in 2005 by National Public Radio.

Now, 20 of these broadcasts along with 80 new additions from present-day contributors have been compiled into a book titled, "This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women," edited by NPR's "This I Believe" executive director Dan Geidman and host Jay Allison.

The Allegheny County Library Association chose the essays as their feature title for the tenth One Book, One Community week-long program starting on April 10, 2013.

Charity Leonette, program coordinator, says that they see this book as a "catalyst" for community discussion and awareness of the One Book, One Community program.

"Each year for 'One Book' we pick a theme," Leonette says. "This year, we thought core values and beliefs [was the best] theme for the ten year celebration since we see 'One Book' as a way to really get people discussing and interacting in new ways."

New ways, she says, include things like podcasts; something that wasn't available with the other nine featured books. Leonette says they are also going to be engaging online via Facebook and Twitter. There are subsequent titles of "This I Believe," that revolve around certain themes such as motherhood and fatherhood, but Leonette says the version they chose "can be whatever theme you want it to be."

Leonette says that the book chosen for the program has influenced local book clubs, teachers, and tutors since its start in 2003 with "To Kill a Mockingbird." She explains that the One Book, One Community program is a great way to explore the personal beliefs of citizens and organizations in the region.

More details about events during the One Book, One Community week will be featured on the Allegheny County Library Association's website.