Thank You

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May 27, 2021

On behalf of Hennepin County Library, we want to extend our deep gratitude to everyone who participated in our inaugural season of the Mary Ann Key Book Club and helped make it a success.  

Over the past several weeks, more than 3400 patrons downloaded an e-book or e-audio copy of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, and hundreds more checked out print copies from our collection. Forty-eight patrons participated in virtual book club discussions facilitated by community leaders, and nearly 950 participants joined our panel discussion on May 18th with Star Tribune columnist Myron Medcalf and community leaders. What an incredible turnout! Mr. Medcalf facilitated a truly meaningful night of conversation with community leaders on that evening of the panel event. What a wonderful way to bring closure to our first season!  

Thanks to Myron Medcalf, Elder Mahmoud El-Kati, Shannon Gibney, Ramona Kitto-Stately, Dr. Artika Tyner, Terri Thao, Lissa Jones-Lofgren, the Friends of Hennepin County Library, the Star Tribune, our library staff planning team, and all our community members who participated this spring. We couldn't have done it without you!


Mary Ann Key Book Club Screenshot

Catch the replay

Didn't have a chance to join last week's live event? You can watch the discussion at your convenience through August 2021.


Reflections from Myron Medcalf

Portrait of Myron Medcalf

"I’m still in awe of the energy Isabel Wilkerson committed to this comprehensive book. Caste is a massive project. The research it demanded and the scrutiny it entailed will contribute to our collective understanding of the way race is processed, policed and politicized. I do not think Caste has all of the answers. But it does not intend to provide all of them. More than anything, it asks us to continue this journey. I don’t think we’ll ever know and understand everything. But Caste has only encouraged my desire to learn more, to read more, to think differently and to evaluate accordingly. I think that’s the conclusion I hope we all reach after reading this book. We should pursue growth."

- Myron Medcalf


Reflection and discussion

What do you know now about systemic racism and societal inequities that you did not know or understand prior to reading Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents and what will you do with this new information? 


Share your feedback and questions

Tell us your thoughts about the Mary Ann Key Book Club. Share your feedback, reflections or questions. Title suggestions for future book clubs are welcome. Responses and questions may be shared with Myron Medcalf and library staff, and quotes may be shared with readers through our newsletter.


What book club members are saying about the panel event

“I found the book fascinating and enlightening, and I was eager to learn about the reactions of others. I appreciated hearing the different perspectives of the panelists. Their extensive knowledge and their respectful differences of opinion modeled discourse I hope to see more often.” 

It has been so enriching to read something within a community and hear so many others weigh in on this book and ground it in our state and the greater Twin Cities area, a place we all can see is not immune to systemic racism, but at ground zero. I so look forward to more from the Mary Ann Key book club!” 

Listening to a variety of excellent highly intelligent panel members has greatly increased my knowledge. It has encouraged me to continue to seek more information to help me grow and contribute to changing my community positively. 


Stay tuned for our fall book club

Hennepin County Library will be selecting and announcing the fall title for the Mary Ann Key Book Club this summer. Stay tuned for more information about the book and fall programs. 


Resources for reading, listening, and learning

Contact panelists

Book club members have expressed an interest in connecting directly with panelists. Use the links below to get in touch:


Thank you, Friends.

Friends of Hennepin County Library Logo

The Mary Ann Key Book Club receives generous financial support from Friends of the Hennepin County Library. Thanks to Friends members like you, the library is able to offer expanded access to digital and print editions of Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. You can help expand access to more books, programs and resources, by supporting your library today. GIVE NOW


Star Tribune Logo

The Star Tribune is a valued partner of the Mary Ann Key Book Club and has made Mr. Medcalf's book club columns available to all readers, no subscription required. Mr. Medcalf is leveraging his column to further engage our community on the truths of the past, our challenges in the present, and the possibilities of the future.

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