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Contact: Amanda Harrison Keighley

Phone: 248-650-7124

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For Immediate Release                                                                                                                

Dec. 12, 2018






Anthropologist Shares Details of Her Recent Book Project


(ROCHESTER HILLS- Dec. 12, 2018) On Tuesday, Jan. 22 the Rochester Hills Public Library welcomes Dr. Marcy Hessling O’Neil to talk about her special project, Books that Bind. What began as a small community organization in the spring of 2017 has now become a project with more than 80 participants from ages 3-85.

Books that Bind is a team of community members from Benin, West Africa and Michigan State students who have come together to translate and transcribe local and famous folktales to share and read together. The issue came to their attention when they discovered that there were no children’s book available in several local languages, and they set about trying to fix that.

“What do you do when there are no children’s books in your language? You would make them, of course,” said O’Neil. “We took all sorts of iconic folktales and set to work on translating them into 8 African languages that could in turn be shared again and again to both spread and preserve the stories.”

By preserving and publishing these stories in local languages, Books that Bind has given community members a chance to bond over storytelling and pass that knowledge along to others in their lives.

“At RHPL we know all too well how important it is to read aloud and share important cultural stories with children and adults alike,” said Community Relations Specialist Amanda Harrison Keighley. “Books that Bind takes that same idea and expands it into a area that was severely lacking the resources to participate in this kind of experience. We’re very excited to share their journey with our patrons.”

 O’Neil will take us behind the scenes with photos, videos, and recordings of the books in 8 African languages.

The program is Jan. 22 from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room and is open to everyone with an RHPL library card. This program is geared toward adults but all ages are welcome. Please register in advance at



Rochester Hills Public Library provides life-long learning opportunities, instills a love of reading, and offers equal access to information. The library serves as a community town square, where over 45,000 monthly visitors enjoy innovative ways to learn and socialize through a variety of programs including Sunday concerts, a summer reading challenge, parent-child workshops, and weekly lectures. The library’s expansive and user-friendly database system allows its 70,000 card holders to utilize eBooks, movies, and music downloads, language and genealogy services, and consumer reports from the comfort of their own home at no cost. Find more information on Rochester Hills Public Library’s unique offerings at