Stark Library Leads the Conversation on Addiction in Stark County with Elizabeth Vargas

August 7, 2019 (Canton, Ohio) – This fall, Stark Library will bring the community together to host a series of conversations on the important topic of addiction. This issue is top-of-mind in the residents of Stark County – a recent poll suggests that 1 in 4 residents have express growing concern surrounding the opiate addiction in our community. A staggering 1.1 MILLION people, or 1 in 10 Ohioans, are facing a battle with alcohol or drug addiction. Because of the stigma surrounding this disease, only about 25% of addicts will seek help.

“It is so important to bring addiction out of the shadows and to speak frankly about this disease and its impact on families and communities,” states Marianna DiGiacomo, Director of Community Services for Stark Library. “We need to work together as a community to understand addiction and reduce the stigma around it; we are pleased to be working with Stark Mental Health and Addiction Recovery to bring these authors and events to Stark County”

The two featured authors are Emmy-Award-Winning correspondent and author, Elizabeth Vargas, who

kicks off the fourth season of the Dr. Audrey Lavin Speaking of Books Author Series, and author David Sheff, whose book Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction was chosen as this year’s One Book, One Community book selection. These events will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Canton Palace Theatre on September 12 and October 30, respectively.

Elizabeth Vargas is a hard-hitting journalist known for anchoring live, breaking news including Hurricane Katrina’s devastation and Emmy-winning coverage of the Elian Gonzalez case. In 2016, she went public with her struggle with alcoholism, anxiety, and recovery on a special edition of 20/20.

Vargas will discuss her bestselling memoir, Between the Breaths, whichdetails her downward spiral, the high cost of her addiction, and her eventual recovery with honesty and vulnerability. It was a winner of the Books for a Better Life Award in the First Book category and an instant New York Times and USA Today Bestseller. Vargas continues to be successful as an author, host on A+ E Investigates and speaks on her past to help break the stigma of mental health and addiction and misconceptions about the disease.

David Sheff’s honest, hopeful book, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction, whichwas also made into a movie, offers raw insight into the world of addiction, relapse, and recovery through the eyes of a parent.

A series of additional addiction, mental health, and recovery events will take place in the community:

A Stark Conversation on Opiates: What you need to know as a parent
Kent State University—Stark Campus
October 10 at 6:30 p.m.
A community update and open discussion with treatment providers, school personnel, law enforcement, and community leaders around increasing protective factors and watching for warning signs as you guide your child to adulthood.

Breaking Barriers: Stand United for Addiction Awareness
Lake Branch on October 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Perry Sippo Branch on October 16 at 6:30 p.m.
Join Travis Bornstien as he discusses how the Breaking Barriers program is working toward safer communities, healthier families, and ending the stigma of addiction every day.

Let’s Go to the Movies: Beautiful Boy
Perry Sippo Branch on October 23 at 6 p.m.

Start Talking Presented by C&A
Plain Branch on October 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Learn the best ways to start the conversation with your children and teens about living healthy, drug-free lives.

These events are made possible by our sponsors Stark Mental Health and Addiction Recovery (Stark MHAR), Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health, Kent State University Stark, CommQuest and Phoenix Rising.

The Speaking of Books series brings acclaimed writers to Stark County who inspire lively— and challenging— community conversations. The 2019-2020 season will host two additional evenings at the Canton Palace Theatre that are sure to spur a lively conversation. Each bestselling author will speak about their book, followed by a wide-ranging question and answer session and book signing.

Emmy Award-winning Anchor and Author
Robinson shares her inspirational journey from a poverty-stricken town in Missouri to becoming one of the most respected and admired journalists in northeast Ohio.

Poet and NTY Bestselling Author
The poet and NYT bestselling author of 32 books writes for children of all ages. He’ll join us to discuss his work, including the highly celebrated Crossover.

Reserve your FREE seats at



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Inviting. Informing. Transforming.  At Stark Library, we invite everyone into a welcoming place, inform them with resources that will help them grow, and then send them back out to change and transform the world. We think of this ongoing, lifelong process as OUR PURPOSE.

One of the 9 largest library systems in Ohio – and the county’s oldest library – Stark Library serves the community through 10 locations, six mobile libraries, and a 24/7 digital branch.

A 2009 winner of the prestigious National Medal for library service, Stark Library serves more than 240,000 residents, annually circulating nearly 4 million items from its 1.5 million item collection and providing access to an additional 66 million items from lending networks throughout Ohio. Each year the library presents more than 8,000 programs for 150,000 attendees and provides 195,000 computer sessions on the publicly available computers found in each branch. In 2018, Stark Library served nearly 2 million visitors at all locations and online.

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