GLOUCESTER READS: Many Readers, One Conversation Addressing Our Climate Crisis


The Sawyer Free Library is inviting readers of all ages to be a part of something big this summer as it officially kicks off the first annual Gloucester Reads: Many Readers, One Conversation. This citywide collaborative reading program aims to unite and energize the community around the important issue of climate change through reading, discussion, and action.  

From Monday, June 22 through Tuesday, September 15, 2020, Gloucester Reads will explore the topic of Addressing Our Climate Crisis with the Hope of Building a Better Future. The inaugural reading program will feature two award-winning books, Falter by Bill McKibben and The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline. The program will encourage the Gloucester community to dive deep into critical issues surrounding our climate and environment both on Cape Ann and beyond. 

“Today, as we are stand in the long shadow of the COVID pandemic, the importance of addressing climate change, another looming global crisis, has been illuminated. The time frame is different but just as urgent,” said Beth Pocock, Assistant Director of the Sawyer Free Libary. “It is our hope that Gloucester Reads will bring together Gloucester residents of all ages to read these thoughtful books, engage in conversations about climate change and determine what steps we can take together to ensure a cleaner, more sustainable future." 

Presented by the Sawyer Free Library as a part of The Civic Hub, and in partnership with Backyard Growers, Gloucester Education Fund, Manship Artist Residency + Studios, Maritime Gloucester, Ocean Alliance and TownGreen 2025, Gloucester Reads offers residents the opportunity to read about and discuss this important issue with local experts.  Discussion groups will be held online during the month of July. It’s the partnerships’ collective goal to open books and open minds, by bringing people together to begin conversations, engage, and learn more about what they can do to help combat climate change. 

Gloucester Reads will culminate on Tuesday, September 15 with a live stream public presentation and Q&A with Bill McKibben, the award-winning author, and founder of, a global grassroots climate change movement. McKibben has won the Gandhi and Thomas Merton Prizes with The Boston Globe, calling him "America's most important environmentalist." This event will be open to the public, with details forthcoming.

The nonfiction book selection for Gloucester Reads’ inaugural year isFalter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben (Henry Holt 2019). In this book, McKibbon surveys the state of the havoc caused by climate change identifies those institutions and individuals that ignore or actively abet it and turns his attention to new technologies poised to change the very essence of what it means to be human. He also finds a measure of hope for the future, relying on the power of cheap energy and nonviolent resistance.

The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline (Dancing Cats Book 2017) is the program's featured fiction book selection. The young-adult novel imagines a dystopian future where global warming has ravaged the earth and, with it, most people's ability to dream. Indigenous people, who can still dream, are hunted for their marrow to create a serum for others. The story follows Frenchie, a teenager on the run. After his brother is captured, Frenchie must create an ad hoc family and fight to preserve his people.

Even children are encouraged to participate in Gloucester Reads: “SFL staff chose a YA novel to most effectively engage readers around this challenging topic,” Pocock says, "but we have also selected and have available a variety of books written to captivate and inform children of all ages and their families. We're trying to get everybody at every age level to understand that we all have a role to play in addressing our climate crisis with the hope of building a better future.”

From June through September, copies of the books will be available at the Sawyer Free Library in print, ebook, and audiobook formats. Throughout the summer, the Library has organized virtual discussion groups moderated by local environmental and community leaders, which are open to all.   

For a complete list of Gloucester Reads programs, and for more information on climate change, visit

Gloucester Readsis a part of the Sawyer Free Library's, "The Civic Hub", which has been made possible through a grant given by The Institute of Museum and Library Services and distributed through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. The purpose of The Civic Hub is to create opportunities that foster civic engagement and discussion on issues facing our community locally and beyond.