Delaware County Community College, Serving Delaware and Chester Counties

College-Wide Reading Program

College-Wide Reading

The College-Wide Reading Program is an initiative intended to provide a common reading that encourages thought, discussion, and collaboration at Delaware County Community College. All members of the College community are invited to nominate books for the program and to participate in related activities throughout the academic year.

2021-2022 Book

About Us book cover The College-Wide Reading Committee is excited to announce that the 2021-2022 book choice for the theme of Race and Race Relations in the United States is Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. This "memoir-in-verse" was first published in 2014, and it quickly earned Woodson a number of awards, including the National Book Award. It is available in a variety of affordable formats: paperback, Kindle, hardcover, and audiobook. The book itself includes a multitude of narrative and image-rich poems that stitch together the story of Woodson's childhood in the 1960s and 1970s, as her family moved from Ohio to South Carolina to Brooklyn.

Brown Girl Dreaming captures the young poet's burgeoning identity as a writer, her complex search for the meaning and feeling of "home," and her deep reverence for the value of family. It also charts the earliest moments of her political awakening, as she confronts the injustices of segregated American life, the ugliness of racism, and the hope inspired by those who courageously fight for justice. Ultimately Woodson shows us the power in finding one's voice, telling one's story, and speaking out for a better world.   

Upcoming Events

Mural Mile Walking Tour in Philadelphia
Friday, October 1
10 a.m.

Join Professor Matt Brophy, faculty fellow of the College Wide Reading Program on the Mural Mile walking tour in Philadelphia.  The tour begins at 10 a.m. in the Lenfest Plaza Courtyard of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (128 N Broad St, Philadelphia) and concludes at 11:30 a.m. (near 8th and Sansom). Participants will meet Prof. Brophy at 9:45 a.m. There is NO transportation provided. The cost is $10. This trip is for students only, 1 ticket per person.

To sign up at Marple Campus: Pay your fee at Enrollment Central and bring the receipt to the Student Center (Room 1180) to reserve your seat & sign the waiver. To sign up at Branch Campuses: Visit your campus cashier to pay the fee & sign the waiver to reserve your seat.

Don’t wait! This trip is limited to 11 students. Tickets are non-refundable unless Campus Life Office cancels the trip. For more information, call 610-359-5341 or email [email protected].

Philadelphia Poet Yolanda Wisher
October 5, 2021
12:15-1:15 p.m.

The College-Wide Reading Program and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are happy to announce that Philadelphia-based poet, singer, educator, and curator Yolanda Wisher will share some of her poetry with us, discuss her creative process and answer your questions in this online event.

Register in advance through Zoom and an invitation to connect will be sent to you via email. 

Screening 'Amend' (Episode 1) starring Will Smith
Downingtown Campus, Room 105
10 a.m.-Noon

Come join us at the Downingtown Campus for a live, in-person screening of the first episode from the Netflix docuseries "Amend," starring Will Smith. This series explores the history and importance of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which broadened the definition of American citizenship and guaranteed "equal protection under the law." The screening will be followed by a discussion moderated by Professors Kevin Cahill and Matthew Brophy. For those who can't attend in person, the episode may be streamed for free via YouTube and you can join the discussion via Zoom at 11:10 a.m., Meeting ID: 931 8905 0798; Passcode: 415657.

About the Program

The goals of the program include:

  • Promoting a habit of reading
  • Encouraging the exploration of diverse experiences and perspectives
  • Providing a common discussion point for all members of the College community
Titles selected meet the minimum standards listed below.
  • Readable by our entire population, including developmental and ESL students
  • Available in paperback
  • Cross-disciplinary appeal
  • Ability to be incorporated into curricular and extracurricular activities
  • Presents diverse or unique perspective

Nomination Process

Students, faculty, staff, and all other college community members are invited to nominate books for future College-Wide Reading Programs. Once the particular year’s theme is announced, we invite you to nominate any and all titles you feel would lend themselves to positive college-wide reading, discussion and programming.


The College wide reading program began as the brainchild of the Reading department in the spring semester of 2003. James McBride spoke on campus at the request of faculty who were teaching his memoir The Color of Water. After the success of the author’s visit, Professor Lisa Barnes worked with fellow Reading Professors Dianne Shames, Sandy Connelly and Valerie Schantz to expand the reach of the program.

The first college-wide book selection was The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (chosen by a committee of librarians, the Reading department, and English faculty volunteers). This book ran from spring 2004 to fall 2004. Discussion groups were led by members of faculty and staff from various departments and events began around the book, including serving the food mentioned in the book at a small reception. Swarup Raman gave a seminar on issues of immigration raised in Lahiri’s book.

For the next year’s pick, the program moved to following the academic year (to facilitate faculty adoption). The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime was chosen for the fall semester of 2005 through spring 2006. This year saw the first larger scale "tie-in" events co-sponsored by the Delaware County Intermediate Unit. Math Professors Dotty Russo and Jill Spellina delivered a seminar on the importance of numbers in the book. Our Director of the Office of Disability Services, Ann Binder, spoke about students with learning differences and the program hosted an essay competition.

Things Fall Apart was selected in 2006-2007; at this point, librarians began to prepare Library Guides for the program (available via the links above). Flags of Our Fathers began in partnership with the Delaware County Library System (DCLS) in 2007-2008.

With Courage and Cloth and Having Our Say were chosen for 2008-2009. There was an additional author visit by Chris Bohjalian (who wrote Skeletons at the Feast) as a tie-in appearance sponsored by a Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the partnership with DCLS.

The Glass Castle was chosen as the 2010-2011 choice. Over the years, the program has evolved and its name has changed from the One-Book One-College program to its current name, the College-Wide Reading Program. Titles were not selected in 2009-10 or 2014-15.

The College-wide Reading Program is now housed under the Institutional Diversity Committee. The current Faculty Fellow for College-Wide Reading is Professor Matthew Brophy. Past fellows include Professor Liz Gray, Tina Shaffer of The Virginia M. Carter Center for Excellence in Teaching, and Librarian Ellie Goldberg.


2020-2021About Us book cover
About Us: Essays from the Disability Series of the New York Times
Edited by Peter Catapano and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson

Secret History of Wonder Woman cover

The Secret History of Wonder Woman
Jill Lepore

Stuffed and Starved cover

Stuffed and Starved
By Raj Patel
Library Guide

Just Mercy cover

Just Mercy
By Bryan Stephenson
Library Guide

Butterfly Boy cover

Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa
by Rigoberto González 
Library Guide

Garbology book cover

by Edward Humes
Library Guide

Water by the Spoonful book cover

Water by the Spoonful 
by Quiara Alegria Hudes
Library guide

Girl In Translation book cover

Girl in Translation 
by Jean Kwok
Library guide


2011-2012: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot Library guide
2010-2011: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls Library guide
2008-2009: With Courage and Cloth by Ann Bausum and Having Our Say by Sarah L. Delany, A. Elizabeth Delany and Amy Hill Hearth
2007-2008: Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley (with Ron Powers)
2006-2007: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Library Guide