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Quincy Public Library is excited to announce the Quincy Community Read in partnership with Quanada. The Quincy Community Read is an initiative that hopes to broaden our understanding of the world, our communities, and ourselves through the power of a shared reading experience. Quincy Community Read will be giving away 1,000 copies of Stephanie Land’s Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive starting on October 26th. Our goal is to inspire conversations by highlighting the community can read together, discover different perspectives, and facilitate meaningful conversations. We will also give away 500 copies of Dear Librarian by Lydia M. Sigwarth to our younger readers.
Individual copies will be handed out during the Community Read Kick-Off on October 26, 2023! Books will be distributed on a first come, first served, and no extra copies will be available.
After October 26th, the following five weeks will provide opportunities for the community to further participate in programs, book clubs, and events hosted by QPL and community partners to further conversations around the books’ themes. Maid and Dear Librarian were chosen to engage and inform the community about single parenthood, domestic violence, housing insecurity, and barriers to access.
We encourage everyone in the community to participate, read a book, share perspectives, attend a program, engage on social media, and build a stronger community together. #QuincyCommunityRead2023
Registration for all programs and events will be opening soon!
At 28, Stephanie Land’s dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer quickly dissolved when a summer fling turned into an unplanned pregnancy. Before long, she finds herself a single mother, scraping by as a housekeeper to make ends meet. Maid is an emotionally raw, masterful account of Stephanie’s years spent in service to upper-middle-class America. “I’d become a nameless ghost,” she writes about her relationship with her clients—and yet as she learns more about their lives—their triumphs, tragedies, and deepest secrets—she begins to find hope in her own path.
Driven to carve out a better life for herself and her daughter, she cleans by day and takes classes online by night, writing relentlessly as she works toward earning a college degree. Piece by piece, her compassionate, unflinching writing gives voice to the “servant” worker, illuminating the untold stories of millions of Americans just like her. She writes of surviving on food stamps and WIC coupons for food, of government programs that provided her housing, but doubled as halfway houses. Of government employees who called her lucky for assistance when she did not feel lucky. Above it all, she writes about pursuing the American Dream from the poverty line, all the while slashing through deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.
As empathetic as it is eye-opening, Maid is Stephanie’s story, but it is not hers alone. It is an inspiring testament to the courage, determination, and ultimate strength of the human spirit.
Stephanie Land is an American author and activist whose writing focuses on social and economic justice, as well as parenting under the poverty line. Her debut book, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, was a New York Times bestseller and was adapted into a limited series on Netflix.
The book details Land’s personal experience with poverty, relying on government assistance programs to support herself and her daughter. It received critical acclaim and was included on Barack Obama’s “Summer Reading List” of 2019. The Netflix series adaptation reached 67 million households in its first four weeks and became the streaming service’s fourth most-watched show in 2021.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline was mentioned after each episode of Maid and received more calls in the month of its premiere than any other month in its entire 25-year history. Land’s work has been featured in numerous outlets, and she is a frequent speaker at colleges and national advocacy organizations. Her second book, Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education, is set to be published in November 2023.
When Lydia was five years old, she and her family had to leave their home. They hopped from Grandma’s house to Aunt Linda’s house to Cousin Alice’s house, but no place was permanent. Then one day, everything changed. Lydia’s mom took her to a new place — not a house, but a big building with stone columns, and tall, tall steps. The library.
In the library, Lydia found her special spot across from the sunny window, at a round desk. For behind that desk was her new friend, the librarian. Together, Lydia and the librarian discovered a world beyond their walls, one that sparkled with spectacular joy.
Dear Librarian is a thank you to anyone who has offered a child love and support during a difficult time.
Lydia M. Sigwarth is an author and children’s librarian in Wisconsin. Being a librarian has been her dream job since she was a small child.
She currently lives in Platteville, Wisconsin with her family. Dear Librarian is her debut picture book. She’s been featured on This American Life, BookPage, MPR and LitHub.