Book to Action Frequently Asked Questions

What are the central themes for Book to Action 2021?
According to our Book to Action 2021 survey and other data and input, community members across California want to address these three main themes:

  • Equity / Social Justice
  • Sustainability / Environmental Justice
  • Health / Mental Health / Resilience

Book to Action provides a model where community members can explore these important issues by reading, discussing, and acting in collaboration with community partners.

Should I apply if I’m not sure what book we want to use in our Book to Action series?
As long as you and your team have a commitment to building community partnerships and engaging adults and intergenerational groups around our main themes for 2021, we welcome your application. You can review the list of possible books suggested in the survey and resulting from our Open Discussions webinars on the slides at  Please join the book selection discussion on Slack!

Can I choose more than one book?
We recommend that you select one main title to feature. California Center for the Book will purchase as many paperback copies of that title for your library’s Book to Action series as our budget allows. Let’s run some numbers. If we have $1,000 to spend per initiative, and the books cost about $15 each (with tax, shipping etc) that only provides you about 65 copies for your series. That’s one reason why we suggest selecting just one book. However, you can and should expand that single title with Recommended Reading booklists that support your theme. In fact, we suggest you make a reading list that explores the theme with works selected for all ages. Enlist your Youth Services Librarians to suggest pictures books, explore MS and YA reads, graphic novels, fiction and nonfiction too. For Book to Action 2021, we are even going to build music playlists that work for each theme. Best of all, these recommended reading lists and playlist will be built collaboratively and share among all of the participating libraries. Yes, by Slack! We’ll be talking more about ‘what book(s)’ are best for each theme and community in October 2020.

I’m worried that I cannot book the author or I cannot secure a big fancy pants speaker before the applications are due. Should I apply?
See above and yes! We have an opportunity to book some state-wide speaker events based on our themes for 2021. Those may or may not be the author, but we’ll keep you posted. Sometimes authors are a big draw and sometimes not. Sometimes a panel of community members might be more engaging. We’ll talk more about this during our Fall 2020 trainings.

I have limited staff/time/money/brain bandwidth. Will Book to Action work for my library?
It’s 2020 and we’re right there with you. We’ll be looking to collaborate and coordinate state-wide whenever possible. We handle the book orders, pay your speaker, and provide plenty of training and support along the way. If you have the passion and commitment for engaging adults, our community of California libraries can help you along with way. Build your internal team and get ready to apply.

I’m not sure how to work best with community partners, build a community engagement series, or how to start! Where’s the training? Oh no, I cannot attend one or more of the proposed webinars. Will they be recorded?
We’ve got you covered. Training and collaboration will occur through the planning and execution phases of this project. Need something else? We can either add it to the training list or recommend other options. Staff development webinars will be offered live and recorded for those who cannot attend live. See for more, highlights below.

  • Book to Action 2021 Open Discussions (Pre-Application Webinars) – View Recordings
  • Book to Action Webinar #1: Community Partnerships – Wednesday, October 21, 2020 @ 2pm
  • Book to Action Webinar #2: Designing a Community Engagement Series – Thursday, November 12, 2020 @ 2pm
  • Book to Action Webinar #3: Virtual Programming, Marketing & Outreach Ideas Exchange  – Wednesday, December 9, 2020 @ 2pm
  • Book to Action Webinar #4: Planning for Evaluation and Case Study / Reflections – Wednesday, January 13, 2021 @ 2pm
  • Book to Action Webinar #5: Pre-Launch Check-in & Kick-off Party – Wednesday, February 10, 2021 @ 2pm

Where can I find the requirements for Book to Action?
The overview and timeline can be found on the Book to Action 2021 home page. The Book to Action 2021 documents and forms (once you’re participating), along with examples of past Book to Action programs, and assets can be found in the Book to Action 2021 Toolkit.

I have another idea for a Book to Action theme that doesn’t touch on Equity, Sustainability, or Health. Should I apply in 2021?
We’re going to say meh, maybe not. We think there’s a something for everyone in the Big 3 inter-connected themes above. There are many angles and ins that will work for different communities.  Of course, we want you to use the methods of community member engagement and community partnership, but Book to Action 2021 projects addressing our Big 3 will be given heavy priority.

I’ve never used Slack. What is it?
Fear not. Explore Getting Started for New Members and just jump right in. Slack is an easy to use collaboration tool. We use it to share ideas and information. Think list-serv but more for this century! Just remember to sign up with your work email so we can verify that you’re from a California library.

Wow, this Book to Action initiative sounds amazing. Besides applying to participate in Book to Action 2021, how can I get involved?
We’re so happy you asked. We will be recruiting for the tenth member of the most awesome Advisory Council ever (opinions are ours). Stay posted in October 2020 for an announcement.

I’m ready to apply? What do I do?
Head to the Book to Action 2021 home and complete the Google Form!