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The Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library
is dedicated to promoting and celebrating books, reading, literacy, and libraries to Ohio's citizens and the book community at large.


Blog Posts

By OCB Staff on

On Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 4:00 p.m., the Get Graphic! Graphic Novel Speaker Series concludes with a lecture by author, filmmaker, Brad Ricca  Join us in the Literature Department and Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library, Main Library 2nd floor, as we close this inaugural speaker series with host comics scholar Valentino Zullo. Past speakers in this series included: Tony Isabella, Dr. Vera Camden, and Marc Sumerak.

Dr. Brad Ricca | Saturday, May 30, 2015 - 4:00 PM
"Comics in Cleveland" Did you know that Cleveland is basically the "Fertile Crescent" of comic books? Many people know that  Superman,  of DC Comics, was created by two Clevelanders--Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. But Cleveland was also home to several major newspaper cartoons, Harvey Pekar's American Splendor, authors Brian Bendis and Brian Vaughan, and newer comics like Lake Erie Monster and Apama: The Undiscovered Animal. Come learn about all of them--and why Cleveland might be the perfect place to make comics.

 Dr. Brad Ricca received his Ph.D. in English from CWRU. His book Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster - The Creators of Superman (St. Martin's, 2013) was named a Top 10 Book in the Arts by Booklist and won the 2014 Ohioana Book Award for Nonfiction.  He has spoken about comics in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, and on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." Mr. Ricca won the St. Lawrence Book Award for his first book of poetry, American Mastodon, and is also a filmmaker whose documentary, Last Son, won a Silver Ace Award at the Las Vegas International Film Festival. In 2014, Brad Ricca was awarded a Cleveland Arts Prize for Emerging Artist in Literature

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By OCB Staff on

Cleveland Public Library (CPL) is "The People's University," the center of learning for a diverse and inclusive community. CPL's vision is to be the driving force behind a powerful culture of learning that will inspire Clevelanders from all walks of life to continually learn, share and seek out new knowledge in ways that are beneficial to themselves, their community and the worldOhio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library (OCFB), as an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is dedicated to promoting and celebrating books, reading, and literacy.  The YWCA Greater Cleveland (YWCA) states as its mission a dedication to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.  The YWCA’s values are courage, accountability, integrity and social justice. Throughout its history, the YWCA has been at the forefront of many major movements in the United States as a pioneer in race relations.

These exceptional institutions have come together in partnership to present: It’s Time to Talk: Cleveland Book Clubs, “Improving Cultural Competency through Community Reading Experiences.” Book clubs are one of many options offered by the YWCA’s “It’s Time to Talk” programs, and offers a unique experience for individuals and organizations willing to talk about the complex issues of race. It is an effort to increase awareness, knowledge and levels of cultural competency in the workplace and the community.  Cultural competency has been defined as: the ability to interact with persons from cultures and/or belief systems other than one’s own.  It is the ability to understand and appreciate the differences that make us unique. 

It’s Time to Talk: Cleveland Book Clubs are a way to engage in thoughtful and intelligent dialogue, where people--co-workers, community members of different racial and ethnic backgrounds-- can sit down together to discuss selected books on race-related topics.  The intent is to get people listening to one another, which will lead to greater understanding.  This is a worthwhile effort, given that recent research by scientists involving emotional transportation, i.e., how sensitive people are to others' feelings, have concluded that reading literary fiction can improve empathy.  After all, the ability to put oneself in someone else's shoes—the capacity to understand what others are thinking and feeling—can be a first step toward becoming stronger in race relations.  Click on the speech bubble above to download/print a copy of the OCFB Book Set Titles on Race. Click on “Read More” for details about the book kits and how to borrow them.

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By OCB Staff on

On June 10, 2015, Ohio Center for the Book (OCFB) at Cleveland Public Library will begin a series of lunchtime book club discussions with guest reader Valentino Zullo, featuring Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards (AWBA) winning titles. One book discussion will be held each month, June through August 2015, on Wednesdays at noon, and will take place in the Literature Department and OCFB at Cleveland Public Library, Main Library, 2nd floor.  The book talks begin Wednesday, June 10 at 12:00 p.m., with the 1952 AWBA-winner The Wall by John Hersey. Other books in the series are: The Boat by Nam Le and Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan. For more information, contact the Literature Department at 216.623.2881. Click here to view, print or download the flyer.

Special Brown Bag Book Club. In collaboration with Popular Library's African American Brown Bag Book Club, a discussion of Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley will be held August 2015 at 12:00 p.m. Discussion of this 1998 AWBA-winner takes place in Popular Library, 1st floor, Main Library.

Valentino Zullo is a PhD student in the English department at Kent State University. He holds a Master of Arts in English and Women's Studies from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Science in Social Administration from The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. He is also a student pursuing psychoanalytic training at the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center. A comics scholar, Valentino hosts the Get Graphic! Graphic Novel Speaker Series, and serves as guest reader for the very popular Get Graphic! A Graphic Novel Book Club discussion series; both are presented by Cleveland Public Library and Ohio Center for the Book. Valentino believes in Literature, Social Justice and the Superhero Way!

Edith Anisfield-Wolf, a former Cleveland Public Library Board of Trustee,  established AWBA in 1935; it  is the only juried book prize that addresses racism and diversity of cultures. The 80th AWBA ceremony will take place Thursday, September 10, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. in the Ohio Theater of PlayhouseSquare, 1511 Euclid Avenue.

A complete set of all of the past winners is housed in Special Collections, Main Library, 3rd floor.  For more information about the AWBA, visit the website at 


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