California Center for the Book
Community Conversations with Veterans 2019 - Toolkit

Last Updated: July 18, 2019


Community Conversations with Veterans is a partnership between California Center for the Book and Veterans Connect @ the Library. We are offering 15 California libraries the opportunity to connect more closely with veterans and their families, while also helping veterans and their families connect to the community and resources.

Expand the reach of your Veterans Resource Center with funding for books and community programs through California Center for the Book! Collaborate with a community partner and fellow librarians to design programs that promote the Veterans Resource Center and reach veterans and their families in your community. Libraries who currently provide or plan to provide Veterans Resource Centers at their location will be given preference in the application process.

Programming Inspiration, Background Reading, and Possible Partners

This Programming Librarian blog post, NYPL’s Community Conversations: Dialogue-Driven Programming is highly recommended reading. A 1-hour webinar is also available and links to the Libraries Transforming Communities resources for more information.

Community Conversations with Veterans programs, designed in collaboration with your community partner, might include: interpretive or interactive exhibits & other arts-related activities and discussions, readings/speaker discussions, panel discussions, film viewings and discussions, book discussions, workshops (writing, poetry, other), oral history projects, restorative/trauma informed yoga workshops or presentations, mental or physical health related panel discussions, workshops or presentations, and civic engagement or volunteer projects that encourage conversation and discussion during or after the activity.  Input and feedback from partners, veterans, and the War Comes Home project staff demonstrates that arts programming is an effective conduit for dialogue and discussion.

Please be sure to review the Programming Ideas and Resources information from the Veterans Connect @ the Library project.  Reach out to your local community college Veterans Resource Center coordinator or CSU/UC Veterans Resource Center coordinator and any related departments (art, social work, nursing, mental health) as you develop and market your programs. Explore the resources and booklist below for ideas. Consult the Military and Veterans Events Calendar from the Veterans Connect @ the Library project for possible tie-ins. For example, March 13 is National K9 Day, the third week of March is Women’s Military History Week, May is National Military Appreciation Month, and June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day.  Speak with your community partner about programming paths and marketing. Be sure to invite your city council, county officials, and any California legislators in your area. Remember, your TWO Community Conversations with Veterans programs must take place between January - June.  Share your ideas with us and we’ll add them here!


Help us build the Community Conversations with Veterans booklist!
See also the Veterans Connect @ the Library Recommended Books. Thank you to Ingram Library Services collection development librarians for building and sharing the Veterans & Military Families list, from which we borrowed! The titles below have been recommended and will ship direct to libraries from Ingram Library Services, which the exception of the Visions of Warriors DVD which will ship from the production company to your library. Let us know what books might inspire conversations with veterans and community members, and what might support your programming for Community Conversations with Veterans.




15 Years of War: How the Longest War in U.S. History Affected a Military Family in Love, Loss, and the Cost of Service

Schellhaas, Kristine


The Beauty of a Darker Soul: Overcoming Trauma Through the Power of Human Connections

Mantz, Joshua


The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Van Der Kolk, Bessel


Craig & Fred: A Marine, a Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other

Grossi, Craig


Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier’s Story

Kerstetter, Jon


The Fighters

Chivers, CJ


Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit

Martinez, JR; Fleming, Alexandra Rockey


Here, Bullet

Turner, Brian


The Honor Was Mine: A Look Inside the Struggles of Military Veterans

Heaney, Elizabeth


Journey: Memoirs of an Air Force Chief of Staff

Schwartz, General Norty


The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War

Rubin, Richard


Leaving War, Finding Love: A Veteran's Transition

Sigrist, Hillary


The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows

Castner, Brian


Mission Entrepreneur: Applying Lessons from Military Life to Create Success in Business Startups

Griswold, Jen


Redeployed: How Combat Veterans Can Fight the Battle Within and Win the War at Home

Fleming, Brian


Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital

Kraft, Heidi Squier


Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman's Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front

Hegar, Mary Jennings


Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War

Thorpe, Helen


Thank You for Your Service

Finkel, David


The Things They Carried

O'Brien, Tim


Touching the Dragon: And Other Techniques for Surviving Life's Wars

Hatch, James; D'Andrea, Christian


Tough as They Come

Mills, Travis


Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

Junger, Sebastian


Tuesday's Promise: One Veteran, One Dog, and Their Bold Quest to Change Lives

Montalvan, Luis Carlos; Henican, Ellis


U.S. Veterans in the Workforce: Why the 7 Percent Are America's Greatest Assets

Schindler, Michael


Vets and Pets: Wounded Warriors and the Animals That Help Them Heal

Guerin, Dava; Ferris, Kevin; et al.


Visions of Warriors  - DVD.  Includes screening rights, discussion guide (email for password) and press kit. See info above about CA producer/director program option.  Ships direct to libraries.

Lai, Ming, Producer


War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars

Carroll, Andrew


The War at Home: A Wife's Search for Peace (and Other Missions Impossible): A Memoir

Starnes, Rachel


What It Is Like to Go to War

Marlantes, Karl


When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans

Caplan, Paula J


When the War Never Ends: The Voices of Military Members with PTSD and Their Families

Wizelman, Leah


The White Donkey: Terminal Lance

Uriarte, Maximilian


2020 Book list Suggestions/Additions include (to date):

IMLS and Statewide Aligned Program Goals & Outcomes - Required Surveys

Feedback from patrons is essential. Survey results can also be used to fine-tune future programs and demonstrate the program value for your community, your library, and CCFB.  For each Community Conversations with Veterans program you hold, distribute and gather the surveys, record the number of participants, and plan to report those online by JULY 15, 2020. There will be a brief final report that you’ll complete online for California Center for the Book.

Sharing and Marketing

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The Californians: Community Conversations with Veterans Toolkit is a living document.  We welcome your ideas and additions! Please let us know how we can improve this toolkit by dropping a line to

Support Statement

California Center for the Book is a program of the California Library Association, supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.