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Centre County Reads/CALS Community Read

As part of the Center for American Literary Studies's commitment to public reading, CALS proudly partners with the Centre County Library system to sponsor a joint CALS/Centre County Reads community read annually. Information about each year's book choice and events can be found in the links below.

Shared texts constitute a key form of community building. Whether readers agree or disagree about the interpretation of a given text, the act of discussing a text, offering cogent arguments about a text, and negotiating what a text might mean brings them together.

2021 Community Read

For 2021, Centre County Reads/CALS Community Read will celebrate Deirdre Mask, author of The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power. Our programming this year will explore questions related to mobility, legislation, and public health and will include a roundtable discussion and a writing contest before we chat with Mask herself via Zoom on March 23. Details for these and other events will be posted below as they are determined. Be sure to check out the Centre County Reads website for additional info. All events are free and open to the public.

Read CALS undergraduate intern Sophie Stein's review of Mask's book in the Centre Daily Times, or listen to it on WPSU's BookMark!


Launch of the "Forms of Address" Writing Contest | All entries due March 15, 2021

This contest is part of the 2021 Centre County Reads/CALS Community Read of The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power—a Finalist for the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction—in which author Deirdre Mask examines the ways in which street addresses provide for ongoing race, class, and other divisions.

Relatedly, “forms of address” denote guidelines for how to address properly government officials and professional persons, and religious dignitaries and royal figures, among others, in spoken greetings and written documents. Inspired by the range of styles, occasions, and categories “forms of address” encompass, enter your best writing—7,500 words or less—in which someone (or something) addresses someone or something else in ways that signal and/or unsettle hierarchical attitudes, ideas, and assumptions in one of the following categories: Best Short Fiction, Best Nonfiction, Best Poetry, and Best Entry for a Writer under 18.

Winners will receive a $200 grand prize. Please send entries to and include a cover letter with your name, address, contact information, a brief biography, and contest category. Winning entries will be displayed at Schlow Centre Region Library and on the CALS website.

Congratulations to all of our winners! Read the prize-winning writing contest entries here.

Book Discussion: Focus on Public Health | Tuesday, February 16, 6:30-7:30 PM EST via Zoom | Register here


Everybody Storytime | Wednesday, March 3, 10 AM EST via Zoom | Register here

All-Ages Storytime | Tuesday, March 9, Pre-recorded | View here

General Book Discussion | Friday, March 12, 1-2 PM EST via Zoom | Register here

"Addressing Inequity" | Monday, March 15 | 4-5PM EST via Zoom

In this roundtable discussion, three invited panelists will use The Address Book as a launch point for a broader discussion about how addresses and other place markers provide, or withhold, access to power and mobility. Treating specific case studies (Black travel guidebooks;; and the U. S. postal service), panelists will suggest strategies that have been, and might yet be, employed to navigate or otherwise redress inequities that place markers of various kinds demarcate.

Featured Panelists:AI roundtable

  • Christy Pottroff, Assistant Professor of English, Boston College
  • Eunice Toh, Graduate Student in English and African American and Diaspora Studies, Penn State
  • Ashley Marie Cashion, Strategic Partnerships Director, USA, what3words


  • Robbin Degeratu, Administrative Director, Centre County Library & Historical Museum 

Following the panelists’ opening statements there will be ample time for questions and answer with the audience.

Watch the Addressing Inequity roundtable here.

Book Discussion: Focus on Legislative Districting | Saturday, March 20, 10-11 AM EST via Zoom | Register here

An Evening with Deirdre Mask | Tuesday, March 23 | 7-8PM EST via Zoom | Register here or catch the live stream on Centre County Reads Facebook

Join us for the culminating event, moderated by Lorraine Dowler, Associate Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Professor of Geography and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Penn State. Deirdre Mask will connect with the audience via Zoom to discuss her work.

Free and open to the public.

General Book Discussion | Wednesday, March 24, 7-8 PM EST via Zoom | Register here


General Book Discussion | Wednesday, April 21, 6:30-7:30 PM EST via Zoom | Register here