Cover Photo Image
Everyday Conversations. Extraordinary Ideas.

Because extraordinary ideas often come out of everyday conversations, we’re eager to have you join us for the next “chapter” of A Book for the ‘Burg, a community-wide reading, learning, and engagement experience. We’ve found that what we read and the conversations we have inspire us to think differently and inform our actions.

We hope you’ll find this year’s topic–the significance of pollinators and their declining numbers—a compelling one. Our approach to the reading experience this year is different. Rather than a single book, our libraries will each have an array of readings available about pollinators, and we’re sure there’s something for everyone.

Pollinators captivate us because of the profound role they play in ecosystems and how essential they are to our food supply. Because we often come together over food to celebrate culture, to cultivate relationships, and to build community, we expect to have lively and meaningful conversations about the relationship between people and the rest of nature.

There are countless opportunities to contribute to a sustainable future in our neighborhoods, communities, and around the world, but the issues and decisions can be complicated. For many of us, the challenge is determining what we can do as individuals to help. A Book for the ‘Burg will let you engage with others in the community to discover the fascinating lives of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, and to explore what you can do to protect these essential creatures.


A Book for the ‘Burg Community Planning Committee
Amanda Bodle, James Madison University; Brittany Clem, Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation; Marci Frederick, Eastern Mennonite University; Deborah Pugh, James Madison University; and Susan Versen, Massanutten Regional Library

A Book for the ‘Burg JMU Faculty Advisory Committee
Amanda Bodle, Sustainability Specialist; Amy Goodall, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Geography; Mary Handley, Ph.D., Professor of Integrated Science and Technology; Carole Nash, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Geographic Science; Maria Papadakis, Ph.D., CEM, Professor of Integrated Science and Technology; Michael Renfroe, Ph.D., Professor of Biology; Mikaela Schmitt-Harsh, Ph.D., Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies; and Wayne Teel, Ph.D., Professor of Geography and Integrated Science and Technology




Sorry, there are no items to display right now. Please check back soon!
Read More
Read. Learn. Engage.

A Book for the 'Burg is a community-wide reading program launched in 2013 to engage our community in conversations around a thought-provoking theme. Community members are encouraged to explore the libraries' book selections and attend a number of related events and activities.

For 2018, A Book for the 'Burg joins a national conversation already underway about the importance of pollinators and their declining populations. Our approach to the reading selections this year is a unique one; rather than a single book selection, our community libraries will each have an array of books related to pollinators available, and new this year are K-12 selections. Please visit the Massanutten Regional Library, the James Madison University Libraries, or the Eastern Mennonite University library for an inspiring selection of books.

Programming includes workshops, guest lectures, a film screening, youth activities, and facilitated dialogues. Programs are free, open to the public, and do not require participants to have read the recommended books. Both the readings and events will challenge us to think about how environmental stewardship is and can be integrated into our lives, and to recognize that our choices have significant ethical implications for our own lives, for the lives of those we know in our community, and for the lives of many others in this interconnected world.

A Book for the 'Burg is the result of a partnership between James Madison University, Eastern Mennonite University, Massanutten Regional Library, and the City of Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation.

For questions and comments, please contact the JMU Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World at or 540-568-5265.

Back to Top