GENEVA – The Geneva Public Library is starting a One Book, One Community program series to begin Jan. 30 and featuring “The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers” by Maxwell King.
Information and Reader Services Coordinator Lauren Maxwell delivered copies of the book to all Geneva aldermen, mayor and officials at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
“We are inviting author Tim Madigan to come in and talk to us about his personal relationship with Fred Rogers,” Maxwell said. “We are very excited to offer a series of events over the next month that appeal to all ages and interests with the theme of Mr. Rogers and the legacy he left behind of kindness and community and neighborliness and wonderment and learning.”
The late Fred Rogers created “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” a children’s program on public television from 1968 to 2001. Rogers died Feb. 27, 2003.
Maxwell said through sponsorships, the library was able to give away about 600 books to the community over the last several weeks.
“There are still a handful left at the library if anybody is interested in a copy,” Maxwell said. “But there are many more copies available for checkout with your library card.”
Maxwell said the library is encouraging everybody to read the book “if you have young people in your lives.”
“We have also provided a copy of ‘Who Was Mister Rogers?’ from the famous Who Was book series. And that is available for children as well,” Maxwell said. “We are just really excited to learn more about Fred Rogers. We are really excited to share with some really fun events over the next month or so.”
Events include a community-wide discussion of the book from 4 to 5 p.m. Feb. 25 at the library, 227 S. Seventh St., also featuring Mayor Kevin Burns as a celebrity guest, Maxwell said.
Authors Gregg Behr and Ryan Rydzewski of “When You Wonder, You’re Learning: Mister Rogers’ Enduring Lessons for Creative, Curious, Caring Kids” will be at the library 7 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 23 for a discussion of their book.
The finale event will be from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 27 for a neighborhood festival which will showcase community helpers and all the work they do, Maxwell said.
“Mister Rogers was always very excited to share what everybody does to help their local communities, so we are inviting many of the people that run Geneva and keep the wheels going,” Maxwell said. “We hope that you guys will stop by and have some good times at our Mister Rogers’-themed events and come to our discussions and just engage with the community in this big discussion about what it is to be a community and what it is to be good neighbors.”
Third Ward Alderman Becky Hruby said she picked up a copy of the book.
“My daughter – she’s in third grade – she read her her copy in one sitting,” Hruby said. “She did not move until she finished the book.”
Hruby said when she opened the book, she read a quote from Rogers out loud to her family: “‘There are three ways to ultimate success. The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.’ I just love that.”
A full schedule of events tied to Mister Rogers is available by visiting www.gpld.org.
When a Senate Subcommittee on Communications May 1, 1969 was considering cutting $20 million in funding in half for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, the parent of PBS stations, Rogers testified.
“Then Fred spoke,” according to www.misterrogers.org ‘This is what I give. I give an expression of care every day to each child, to help him realize that he is unique… I feel that if we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health.”