Sarasota County’s popular “One Book, One Community” initiative is back for 2020.

The coming One Book selection is “Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women” by Kate Moore. It details the history of radium use in watchmaking, and voicing the stories of the women who were exposed to its harmful effects. This book is not for the faint-of-heart, but is an important read and an opportunity to consider the past honestly so as to make us wiser in the present and more responsible in the future. It is a true, though little-known, story that is certain to provoke conversation, motivate further learning, and inspire reaction.

“Radium Girls” is one of many untold stories of women whose history was made invisible that have found their way into the light in recent years. Your library card is your open invitation to explore these fascinating and complex stories.

Come into Elsie Quirk and check out books like “Making My Pitch: A Woman’s Baseball Odyssey: by Ila Jane Borders, et al.; “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge” by Erica Armstrong Dunbar; “Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics” by Jason Porath; or “The Queens of Animation: The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History” by Nathalia Holt. Or read these books digitally using your library card to access the cloudLibrary collection.

If you prefer movies, try “Hidden Figures”; “The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio”; “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”; “Big Eyes”; or the classic “A League of Their Own.” These are disparate but enlightening stories of women’s experiences and contributions that are often inadequately acknowledged.

Quick reads

Want more of an overview than a long read?

From the Sarasota County Libraries website, you can search our databases of newspaper, journal, and magazine articles to learn about remarkable sculptor Edmonia Lewis, pioneering computer programmer Grace Hopper, nurse and spy Edith Cavell, fierce and fascinating ruler Wu Zetian, or journalist and original “bra burner” Amelia Bloom for whom bloomers are named.

And, of course, if you don’t find what you’re looking for, or you’re not sure what you’re looking for, we invite you to step up to the reference desk and ask a friendly librarian!

J. Elke Ertle

If in-person learning is more your cup of tea, Elsie Quirk is excited to host J. Elke Ertle, author of “Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom,” at 2 p.m. Nov. 14. Ms. Ertle lived in West Berlin during the Cold War for 21 years. Join her as she shares her experiences and speaks about the factors that led to the construction and fall of the Berlin Wall.

For more information on library programs, services, and resources visit us at 100 W. Dearborn St., call 941-861-5000, or visit


Recommended for you

Load comments