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One Book, One Holliston Goes High Tech

by Yvette Cain
February 5, 2019

The Holliston Public Library presented Abdi Iftin, author of One Book, One Holliston’s 2019 selection, Call Me American, in a live Skype conversation on Monday evening at the Park and Recreation Center on Washington Street.  One Book, One Holliston is the annual community reading program.

The Holliston Public Library presented Abdi Iftin, author of One Book, One Holliston’s 2019 selection, Call Me American, in a live Skype conversation on Monday evening at the Park and Recreation Center on Washington Street.  One Book, One Holliston is the annual community reading program.

More than 30 members of the community attended the event, sponsored by the Friends of the Library.  Leslie McDonnell, library director, welcomed everyone and explained how the evening would progress.  “There’s no need to go home without an answer to your question,” McDonnell commented, as she would convey all questions to Iftin from the rear of the Park and Rec “theater.”

Call Me American is a memoir of Iftin’s immigrant journey from war torn Somalia to a permanent home in Maine.  McDonnell asked a variety of questions, eliciting the motivation for writing his story, asking for an update on his progress toward citizenship, his future plans, his hope’s for his homeland.  Iftin was candid and articulate in his thoughtful responses.  The Skype format presented the illusion that Iftin was in the room with us--that we were having a private audience with this bright young man.

McDonnell spoke of the sadness of the state of present day Somalia and wondered if there is an avenue for the future of women leaders in the country.  Iftin answered the question by raising the name of Ilhan Omar, a Somali American woman presently serving as Congresswoman from Minnesota.  “She is a breakthrough,” he said.  “Now Somalians will see things not seen by this culturally conservative community.”   

The audience reacted with great joy when Iftin reported that his brother is being sponsored by a Canadian church and will be arriving in 3 to 4 weeks.  Although Iftin, as a green card holder, may not travel out of the US to visit his brother, he will be able to visit with him in a small Vermont border town’s public library.  The ability of a public library to provide a gathering spot for these two was warmly applauded.  And so it goes that Holliston’s Public Library shared a gathering spot for all of us this evening (albeit in the Park and Rec Center) to discuss our thoughts and questions about one life very different from our own through a common read that touched us all.

 

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Comments (2)

This was a great program and a wonderful book. Kudos to the Leslie and the Library Staff for arranging this Skype conference call. Mr. Iftin is a wonderful, engaging speaker and the session was enjoyable and informative. Well done!

- Ginny | 2/5/19 8:55 PM

Our library staff is great at providing good programs for all ages! Thank you for all the hard work and service for the town and we love having you downtown!

- Christina | 2/5/19 4:06 PM

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