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On the Same Page – Amherst joins NEA Big Read: Pocumtuck Valley

Published on 2021-03-21 by crockerfarmpgo Uncategorized


The Jones Library celebrates its ninth On the Same Page community reading program by joining with the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (PVMA) and 40 other organizations and businesses in Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties in the National Endowment for the Arts NEA Big Read:  Pocumtuck Valley program as we read and explore Emily St. John Mandel’s novel Station Eleven.   

This 2014 novel is set in a dystopian post-pandemic world. PVMA chose it from a list of NEA Big Read offerings before COVID-19 hit.  PVMA Outreach Coordinator, Sheila Damkoehler notes, “Now that we’re experiencing an actual pandemic, the NEA Big Read of this fictional story provides an opportunity for local communities to discuss our real pandemic experience, as well as the role the arts play in our lives (a central theme in Station Eleven).” 

A variety of programs are being offered by the Jones Library and other participating organizations to enrich the reading experience of this title and to encourage dialog about the themes the book presents.  The following series of programs will be held virtually during April and hosted by the Jones Library.  For complete program descriptions and registration information, visit the program’s webpage at   

Learn more about the NEA Big Read: Pocumtuck Valley and find the developing event schedule listing the programming offered by all participants on PVMA’s website at  The keynote author event is to be held via Zoom on Tuesday, April 27 at 7:00 pm and will be hosted by New England Public Media, as a Watch & Learn Event.  Registration information will be available soon on the NEA Big Read: Pocumtuck Valley webpage listed above. 

Schedule of Jones Library Hosted Events: 

Thursday, April 8 at 7:00 pm – online via Zoom 

Station Eleven and Surviving Pandemics – Sarah Taylor, Associate Profession in the UMass-Amherst Department of History, will reflect on cultural survival as a central theme in Station Eleven

Tuesday, April 13 at 7:00 pm – online via Zoom 

Book Discussion of Station Eleven – Join us for an in-depth discussion of our selected title, led by Jones Library librarian, Linda Wentworth. 

Wednesday, April 14 at 7:00 pm – online via Zoom 

Book Discussion of Station Eleven – Join us for an in-depth discussion of our selected title, led by Jones Library librarian, Linda Wentworth. 

Thursday, April 22 at 7:00 pm – online via Zoom 

Travels with Station Eleven‘s Shakespeare – Sally Sutherland, Senior Lecturer Emeritus in English at Mount Holyoke College, will reflect on the meaning and timelessness of Shakespeare’s work as woven throughout Station Eleven. 

Copies of Station Eleven can be borrowed from the Jones Library, requested and checked out from the C/W Mars library catalog, or purchased at Amherst Books in Amherst.  Find all the details at

Emily St. John Mandel is the author of five novels, including Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel.  Station Eleven was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and has been translated into thirty-two languages. She lives in New York City with her family.  

On the Same Page – Amherst and its programs are made possible with special funding from the Friends of the Jones Libraries.   For further information about On the Same Page – Amherst, please contact Janet Ryan at

About the NEA Big Read:  An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. 

About the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association:  Founded in Deerfield, Massachusetts 150 years ago as the first historical society in Western Massachusetts, PVMA is a vibrant regional organization, supporting the Memorial Hall Museum and Library, Deerfield Teachers’ Center, Indian House Children’s Museum, and Community Outreach projects. This is PVMA’s seventh NEA Big Read.

The NEA Big Read: Pocumtuck Valley Partners:  The PVMA is pleased to partner for this project with Tilton Library in South Deerfield and 20 other Libraries in the Woods libraries, five All Hamptons Read libraries, the Jones Library in Amherst, Springfield City Library, Holyoke Library, Springfield Public Forum, The Care Center, UMass-Amherst, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, Piti Theater, Exploded View, Great Falls Discovery Center, Musica Franklin, Pioneer Valley History Network, RiverCulture, The Rendezvous, Sweet Lucy’s Bakeshop, and Boswell’s Books. 

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