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Barbara Kingsolver - The Bean Trees
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About the Project

“Never have I been any prouder to be a supporter of KET and a Kentuckian! This has been an outstanding promotion simply for the reason that we have celebrated one of our own, and she proved herself worthy.”

Carrie Cinnamond, former KET Friends Board president

Thanks, partners and participants ...
Together, we made reading the “in” thing!

      After nine months of intensive work on the part of KET and more than 130 partners, our statewide reading project culminated on May 31, 2001 with the inspirational words of Barbara Kingsolver, speaking with a statewide audience from KET’s studios. She conversed with 300 in the studio and thousands in homes and at small “viewing parties” around the state, including three live-remote sites (Louisville Free Public Library, WKYU-TV in Bowling Green, and Nicholas County Elementary in Carlisle, Kingsolver’s hometown). Afterward, there were many expressions of pride in being part of a moving evening with a renowned author—and profound thinker—who’s proud to call herself a Kentuckian.
      In all, an amazing 9,739 people committed to read The Bean Trees—including more than 2,500 students at 59 high schools, 1,165 adult learners at 49 adult education centers, and 1,178 members of 89 private or library-based book clubs!
      How did all this happen? In a word: partners—more than 130 organizations working together to build community around our most valued skill: reading. We began in September 2000 when a task force representing 15 Kentucky organizations gave us advice and committed to promoting the project. From there we recruited more partners, all of whom helped get the word out in creative ways: articles in their print or online newsletters, links on their web sites, signs and brochures, messages to e-mail listservs.
Fern Creek HS marquee       KET thanks each and every partner for making this project a resounding success, particularly the following:

  • The Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives distributed signs, brochures, and books to Kentucky’s libraries and encouraged their participation. Kentucky’s public libraries were major contributors to the project’s success, displaying signage, using the book with established book groups, and promoting the campaign in newsletters and newspaper columns.

  • The Kentucky Department of Education promoted the project in schools and school libraries, resulting in the participation of 59 high schools. (The photo above is from Fern Creek Traditional High School in Louisville.) Our thanks also go to the many teachers and library media specialists who jumped on board and to many school staff members who joined in as readers.

  • The Office of Family Resource and Youth Service Centers distributed free books to its clients and organized discussion groups. Adult education and family literacy centers participated in droves, inspiring their learners to step up to challenging material. We especially thank Jan Isenhour of The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington, who helped write the discussion guides for The Bean Trees.

  • The Kentucky Press Association underwrote publication of a 16-page booklet that went to schools participating in Kentucky Newspapers In Education. We also thank the KPA for distributing PSAs and encouraging their use, as well as the many newspapers for publishing invaluable stories and PSAs. And thanks to Kentucky.com for keeping a What If banner in frequent rotation, especially during the last two months of the campaign.

  • Our public radio partners, WEKU, WFPL, WKMS, WKYU, WMKY, WRVG, and WUKY, ran PSAs for the project, and several of them broadcast interviews and simulcasted the call-in program. The Central Kentucky Radio Eye allowed its blind members to participate by broadcasting a reading of The Bean Trees.

  • Many Kentucky bookstores encouraged their patrons through signs and brochures and organized discussions of the book, and The Kroger Company distributed posters and fliers to all its Kentucky stores.

  • Last but not least, The Kentucky Humanities Council provided a grant to help fund the project, as did HarperCollins Publishers and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Future Fund.
      Thank you!

To see the additional participation and support by county,
visit our calendar of events.

Complete list of project partners

- bookclub@ket - KET Arts Programs -

600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502 (859) 258-7000 (800) 432-0951