In the past decade, Mansfield Reads! has featured books about Texas, football, the Depression, a murder mystery and presidential trivia. This year, the Friends of the Mansfield Public Library are going to the dogs - and the cats.“This is something completely different for us this year, it’s off the literary beaten path,” said Paula Highfill, president of the Friends, which hosts the annual event.The Friends chose not one book, but two for the first time this year, choosing Abilene author Glenn Dromgoole’s “What Dogs Teach Us” and “What Cats Teach Us.”Based on the One City One Book program, which asks the community to read the same book, Mansfield Reads! has become a popular affair for the Mansfield library. For the past five years, the library, which can hold up to 165 people for the event, has maxed out its capacity, Highfill said. The Friends want to get even more residents involved, so they went for something that everyone can identify with -- their pets.“We’re trying to include as many people as possible,” Highfill said. “Everybody loves dogs, and he has a cat book, too. This might be our chance to get people put off by a big thick book. ‘What Dogs Teach Us’ was a New York Times bestseller.”Unlike previous books chosen from the Mansfield program, “What Dogs Teach Us” and “What Cats Teach Us” don’t even have a plot.“They’re not very big and have a lot of pictures,” said Jenny Elliott, Reads! chairperson. “They are what I call miniature coffee table books. They contain wisdom that humans should look at an apply to their lives.”The idea is to get more people into the library, Elliott and Highfill said.“With a topic like this, it gets people who don’t even think about the library involved,” Highfill said.“Our stated purpose is to promote the library and to encourage a dialogue in the community on the importance of reading and books and the place the library plays in the community,” she said.Everyone is invited to the author reception, featuring Dromgoole, on April 19. The event is free, but participants must RSVP to www.friendsofmansfieldlibrary.org to secure a seat. The Friends are also planning a pet day at the library with an animal safety program and a pet photo contest on Facebook, Highfill said, with giveaways and prizes. Details on the pet program and contest are still being refined. Watch the Friends website for updates, she said.
Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451 Twitter: @AmandaRogersNM