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Georgia Reitmire, managing librarian, speaks to Y/Our Story book club attendees on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, at Yakima Central Library in Yakima, Wash. (Evan Abell, Yakima Herald-Republic)

YAKIMA, Wash. — A three-person panel will steer a dialogue about race and racism Tuesday at Yakima Central Library.

The topic selected for February is the second in Yakima Valley Libraries' Y/Our Story program. Each month, everyone in the community is invited to read a book or watch a film about the preselected topics listed on the library’s website. Since the events are intended to encourage conversation, advanced research is not required to attend.

The discussion starts at 5:30 p.m. at 102 N. Third St. Serving on the panel are Randie Gottlieb, multicultural education specialist and executive director of UnityWorks; David Morales, vice chairman of the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs; and Rodrigo F. Renteria-Valencia, assistant professor of anthropology and museum studies at Central Washington University.

Go to for more information, a list of suggested book and film titles, as well as topics planned for the coming months.


At the same time everything gets underway at the downtown Yakima location, members of the book discussion group at Naches Community Library will settle in to discuss Markus Zusak’s “The Book Thief.”

The group has been running for the past six years. The meet from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. the second Tuesday each month in the Yakima Valley Libraries’ Naches location at 303 Naches Avenue, said Katherine Ulmer, the library’s supervisor.

Anywhere from five to eight participants — ranging in ages from their early 30s to their 70s — regularly attend the meetings.

“Lifelong learning is certainly a mission statement goal that is achieved, as well as access to a wide array of ideas and information,” Ulmer said. “Our book club enjoys the group space as a place to share ideas and enjoy other community members.”

Following discussion of Zusak’s book club favorite, the group plans to read “Bold Spirit: Helga Espy’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America,” by Linda Hunt. “The Light Between Oceans,” by M. L. Stedman and Heather Morris’ “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” are set to follow.


In Selah, Emily Ruskovich’s “Idaho” is February’s read for a group that meets from 6 to 7 p.m. the first Wednesday each month at Selah Community Library, 106 S. Second St.

A member of the library’s staff serves as moderator for the group, which has met regularly for the past eight years. However, there’s always enough group participation that discussions usually carry themselves, said Mary Ann O’Connell, Selah library assistant.

“Everyone has commented that they enjoy the group because we read books that they would not have normally checked out on their own,” O’Connell said. “And the discussions are interesting and flow easily, sometimes ranging into different areas all together.”

Depending on the weather, about 10 to 15 people regularly attend. And with ages ranging from their 40s to their late 70s, O’Connell said participants are almost exclusively women.

“But we do have a few brave male souls, and always welcome more,” she said.

Following March discussion of Ruskovich’s title, anyone who misses tomorrow’s meeting in Selah will have a second chance at “The Book Thief,” which those in the Naches group will be reading in March.