Write On, Door County is proud to collaborate with Door County Libraries on the 2018 Door County Reads program, bringing people together through the reading of a common book. This year’s selection is The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Tina Kakuske, Director of the Door County Libraries, about the selection and this year’s program. We both hope to see you at several of the wonderful Door County Reads events planned for January and February!
Write On: This is your first year as the director of the Door County Libraries and heading the Door County Reads program. What has been most exciting to you about your new position?
Tina Kakuske: There has been so much exciting about the new position, that I cannot choose a “most exciting” aspect of the job. Being in Door County, meeting wonderful people, leading 8 branch libraries…these are all exciting things to me. Seeing my dream come true is also very exciting!
WO: Can you tell us about this year’s Door County Reads selection, The Latehomecomer? What inspired the committee to select this book?
TK: The Latehomecomer is a book about family, perseverance, dreaming big and striving to succeed, and overcoming great odds to find a home. The committee considered several books and ultimately chose The Latehomecomer because these themes will be discussable, and learning about an unfamiliar culture (from both the American and the Hmong aspects) helps us understand and grow as a people.
WO: There are numerous programs planned as part of Door County Reads.Is there a particular one you are looking forward to and, if so, why?
TK: I am really looking forward to the keynote address by the author of “The Latehomecomer”, Kao Kalia Yang, on February 8 at 7 p.m. at Stone Harbor Resort and Conference Center. Ms. Yang was at the recent Washington Island Literary Festival, and the word is out that she is a wonderful speaker and has the ability to reach listeners through both prose and poetry.
WO: I have heard several people say that the only book they read all year is the Door County Reads selection. That must be both gratifying and frustrating. How do you inspire reluctant readers to pick up a book?
TK: To reach reluctant readers, you must have a readable book containing themes with which anyone can identify. During any “one read” event, the challenge is to find a book that fits all reading styles and interests. This varies from person to person, and age group to age group. We also have the additional challenge of making sure that various formats are available. The Latehomecomer fits the bill in many ways. It is an adventure story, a coming of age story, a family means everything story, a hard work reaps rewards story. It uses everyday language and is a manageable length. It comes in print, audio CD, audio download and readable download, with the downloads being free from Hoopla which is accessible at the library website.
WO: As either a patron or a staff person, do you have a favorite library memory you would like to share with our readers?
TK: My most favorite library memories involve fulfilling the needs for our patrons. When we are able to help someone find what they need, when no one else was able to or wanted to help them, it gives you the most wonderful feeling of fulfillment that you have provided a service that really made a difference in someone’s life.