One Book One Valley has the community talking about “Lab Girl” |

One Book One Valley has the community talking about “Lab Girl”

Virtual event with author Hope Jahren is Saturday

Red Cliff Mayor Duke Gerber is one of many locals caught reading “Lab Girl,” this year’s One Book One Valley selection.
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You’ve heard of One Book One Valley, haven’t you?

That was the goal of Vail Public Library’s Lori Barnes when launching the community reading initiative that is celebrating 10 years with this year’s selection, “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren.

“This is not One Book One Valley Vail — it’s One Book One Valley. It’s all about every community,” Barnes said ahead of Saturday’s virtual event with Jahren, one of many programs and events that are part of One Book One Valley happening this year. “I’ve always hoped for One Book One Valley that it would grow.”

The community book club was awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Big Read grant for its 10th anniversary, helping fund the purchase of copies of “Lab Girl” to be distributed within the community free of charge. (There are still copies available at the Vail library.) Barnes credits Colorado Mountain College’s Katy Walker with helping secure the grant.

The Vail Public Library’s Lori Barnes launched One Book One Valley to bring the community together each year to discuss a book that usually has powerful themes relevant to Eagle County.
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Barnes and her staff travel up and down the valley each year distributing books.

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“Every year people look forward to the One Book One Valley road show because I make my way to all of the towns,” she said, calling it “Lori’s Roadshow.”

Over the years, One Book One Valley has added partnerships within Eagle County as well. With new partners like Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Walking Mountains Science Center, the town of Vail’s environmental department and others, One Book One Valley is getting the community talking about “Lab Girl.” Traditionally, each town signs a proclamation each year to support One Book One Valley.

While most events and discussions have been virtual, including Saturday’s event, small groups have gotten together in person, Barnes said, usually bringing together businesses and their employees to discuss the book’s themes.

“There’s been a lot of book discussions in this valley since this book came out,” Barnes said.

“Lab Girl” is a 2016 memoir by Jahren, who is a geochemist, geobiologist and professor. One of the themes Jahren bestows on readers is to go out and plant a tree.

“Well, we’re going to have a tree planting here in Vail in May,” Barnes said of more upcoming One Book One Valley events in addition to Saturday’s virtual discussion with Jahren.

One Book One Valley encourages discussions within the community about “Lab Girl.” On Saturday, a free virtual event will take place with the author, Hope Jahren.
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It’s been a labor of love for Barnes and her team presenting One Book One Valley to the community for a decade.

“We never thought we’d be 10 years old, but we’re not done yet,” Barnes said. “One Book One Valley will be back for its 11th year.”

There’s still plenty of time to enjoy “Lab Girl” before next year’s One Book One Valley selection is released closer to December.

And whether it’s because of “Lab Girl” by Jahren or “Doc” by Mary Doria Russell, you’ve heard of One Book One Valley, right?

Virtual author discussion

What: Virtual discussion with “Lab Girl” author Hope Jahren

When: Saturday, 10 a.m.

Cost: Free

More information: The virtual presentation is being hosted by the Miami Book Fair Online in partnership with other organizations such as One Book One Valley. Registration is required, and the presentation will be recorded so attendees can watch at their leisure if unable to attend Saturday morning. Visit and click on the event in the cycling panel on the main page.

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