‘The Personal Librarian’ unveiled as Sarasota County One Book selection for 2023

One of the authors to participate in two community events on Friday, March 3

The Personal Librarian by Victoria Christopher Murray and Marie Benedict is the 2023 “One Book, One Community” selection, Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources (LHR) has announced.

The book tells the story of Belle da Costa Greene, who, at age 26, was hired by financier and investment banker J. P. Morgan for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library, a news release explains.

“She became a fixture in New York City society and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works to create a world-class collection,” the release adds.

“However,” the release continues, “da Costa Greene had a secret”: She was not born Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener, the daughter of Richard Greener, “the first black graduate of Harvard University and a well-known advocate for equality.” Her complexion was not dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage — which let her pass as white. Instead, it was because she was African American, the release points out.

“She left a lasting legacy that truly enriched our county,” said LHR Director Renee Di Pilato in the release. “This title was an obvious and crucial selection for the One Book program, which fosters the expression of ideas and the shared love of reading.”

The release explains, “Throughout the years, the One Book committee has selected the title and hosted public events with the author and readers. The selections have recognized local authors, as well as national and world-renowned writers.

This annual celebration includes follow-up programs at county libraries and other venues.” Members of the entire community can participate in the One Book program by attending a library event or hosting their own book discussions, the release notes.

For the 2023 One Book season, one of the authors of The Personal Librarian, Victoria Christopher Murray, will be speaking on Friday, March 3, at two separate events, the release says:

  • 10:30 a.m. at the Suncoast Technical College Conference Center, located at 4445 Career Lane in North Port, which is adjoined to the Shannon Staub Public Library.
  • 7 p.m. at Selby Public Library, standing at 1331 First St. in downtown Sarasota.

In addition, younger readers are encouraged to participate in the program by exploring companion books: Library Babies by Puck, Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Anne Carol Moore, and Library on Wheels by Jan Pinborough, the release points out.

“All of our selections illustrate the various ways libraries can connect with people and communities,” Di Pilato added in the release.

For more information call 311 or visit scgov.net.