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Book Club

The State Library of Pennsylvania hosts a semi-regular lunchtime book club open to state employees as well as to the public. 

The book club now meets in the format of a virtual meeting. Attendees take part in conversations about the book along with Kathy Hale, Public Services Librarian Supervisor at the State Library of Pennsylvania. Occasionally, author visits are arranged as well.

Come to share thoughts about the characters, plot, setting and impact of the book with others who have read the book or any part of it.

Interested in joining the book club? Let us know! Email your name to: You do not need a State Library card to participate in the Book Club. 

Information about the next virtual book club meeting is below. If you would like to attend (via Microsoft Teams), please email and include your name in your message. We'll provide you with a link to the virtual platform and send a meeting reminder the day before the event.

Upcoming Book Club Meetings 

Date: Thursday, August 19, 2021 

Time: Noon to 1pm 

Book: When I Was White: A Memoir by Sarah Valentine 

Book Description (as provided by the publisher): "The stunning and provocative coming-of-age memoir about Sarah Valentine's childhood as a white girl in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, and her discovery that her father was a black man. At the age of 27, Sarah Valentine discovered that she was not, in fact, the white girl she had always believed herself to be. She learned the truth of her paternity: that her father was a black man. And she learned the truth about her own identity: mixed race. And so, Sarah began the difficult and absorbing journey of changing her identity from white to black. In this memoir, Sarah details the story of the discovery of her identity, how she overcame depression to come to terms with this identity, and, perhaps most importantly, asks: why? Her entire family and community had conspired to maintain her white identity. The supreme discomfort her white family and community felt about addressing issues of race--her race--is a microcosm of race relationships in America. A black woman who lived her formative years identifying as white, Sarah's story is a kind of Rachel Dolezal in reverse, though her 'passing' was less intentional than conspiracy. This memoir is an examination of the cost of being black in America, and how one woman threw off the racial identity she'd grown up with, to embrace a new one. 

This book may be borrowed from most local libraries. Please complete the State Library’s Inter-Library Loan Book Request Form for assistance with borrowing this book via Interlibrary Loan. You do not need a State Library card to participate in the book discussion.