Monthly Archives: February 2014

Four counties bond in ‘Mr. Penumbra’s’ secret society

Four counties bond in ‘Mr. Penumbra’s’ secret society
2014 Community Read invites readers to engage in activities inspired by the novel

CONCORD, N.C., Feb. 25, 2014 — Cabarrus, Davidson, Rowan and Stanly county residents are bonding in the bind of “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore,” by Robin Sloan. Through the 4-1-1 Community Read, the four counties will unite around one book to form one community. The project gives residents an opportunity to read and discuss a single book together for pleasure and enlightenment, while participating in more than 60 events that center around the book’s themes. The feature event is a large-scale Quest for the Code and the project will wrap with a four-county book tour by the author, Robin Sloan.

Cabarrus County Public Library System is leading the Community Read collaboration, which includes a committee of public libraries, parks departments, community colleges and other community partners from each county.

The last Community Read took place in 2012 and was centered on “The Hunger Games.” The events soared in popularity and culminated with more than 275 participants, ages 3 to 70, running a massive obstacle course.

This year’s selection, “Mr. Penumbra,” is a gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love and the secret to eternal life—mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore.

“The committee selected ‘Mr. Penumbra,’ because it covers a wide gamut of themes, including a love for printed books and the amazing things that can happen with technology,” said Dana Eure, director of the Cabarrus County Public Library System. “It’s a fun read with a mystery and a quest. There’s a lot of opportunity for discussion, as well as events that include art, technology and more. It’s appropriate for adult readers, but does have appeal for older teen audiences as well.”

The library checkout counter is just the beginning for residents who want to journey into the secret society created by Sloan.

Community Read activities are geared toward adult audiences with some programming for teens and children. They will take place in March and early April, in each of the participating counties. Take part in book discussions; technology programs, including Minecraft, Wikipedia, crowdsourcing, blogging and geocaching; and creative programs, like altered books, stamping and a photowalk. Participants can also journey on book-lover field trips and join in contests.

With “Mr. Penumbra,” participants can illuminate their imaginations and compete for prizes at the free Quest for the Code event on March 15 at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center. The Quest includes physical and mental challenges, based on the book, including glow-in-the-dark obstacle courses, black light geocaching, riddles, puzzles, trivia and more. You can participate as a team, individual or family group to solve The Founder’s Puzzle.

The book tour and presentations featuring author Robin Sloan will take place April 3-5. Books will be available for purchase and Sloan will be available for autographs. Sloan’s presentations are supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the Federal Library Services and Technology Act, as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

For a complete listing of events, visit Stay informed and become part of the 4-1-1 community by joining the project’s Facebook page,

“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” is available in hard copy or electronically at all libraries in Cabarrus, Davidson, Rowan and Stanly counties.


Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore?

mrpenumbraIt’s time to read Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore so that you will be ready to participate in our programs and events!  If you are still wondering what it is all about, here’s a summary for you:

A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life—mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from
strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for  something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.

PLUS – the book glows in the dark!!


Ready to be creative?  We have three contests for you!

Hidden Picture Contest – For children and teens age 7-17.  Use markers, crayons, or pens, color the contest image calling special attention to the hidden objects.

Photo Contest – For adults and students (ages 12-17).  Submit photos related to Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan and the themes brought out in the book such as the juxtaposition of new and old technology, the quest for immortality, and hidden messages.

Shelf Room Contest – For teens, adults and groups.  Create a “shelf room” depicting a scene from Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

Quest for the Golden Shoes @ Dan Nicholas Park

Each Saturday mornig during the months of February and March come and look for the hidden golden shoe at Dan Nicholas Park.  The first person to find it wins a weekly prize.  On April 1st the weekly winners will go into a drawing for a Nook Color.

Shoes will be hidden above ground.  Each Saturday morning a clue will be posted on the Dan Nicholas Park website that leads you into the right area.  The next clue will be avilable on February 8th.

Check out for weekly shoe clues and more information!