Encouraging a city to read

How do you get everyone in a city to read? It’s not an easy thing to do, but two programs in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas are providing different ways of encouraging residents to crack open a book (or download an e-book or listen to an audio book).

Big D Reads

The tagline for this program is “One City, One Book,” and for the last 2 years, D Magazine (a Dallas city publication) has offered the people of Dallas the opportunity to read a book together as a community. This year’s selection is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, the 1967 coming-of-age story of two rival gangs, the Greasers and the Socs.

All events are being held during April 2014 and culminate in a festival at the end of the month. The author, S.E. Hinton, has been invited to talk about her book at a brunch, school visit, and discussion event.

The Dallas Public Library is supporting this program with special events at various branch libraries to encourage conversation and interaction. These include movie screenings, art workshops, storytimes, book discussions, and community read-ins where people can read the novel out loud.

When I visited the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library at the beginning of April, a librarian gave me a free paperback copy of the novel that had been especially printed for the program. So there were no excuses not to read this book!

Read more about Big D Reads.

Worth Reading 365

Every library has a Summer Reading Program for children, but the Fort Worth Public Library has taken the traditional concept several steps further. It created “Worth Reading 365,” an initiative that encourages not only children but adults and teens throughout Fort Worth to become involved in a reading program every four months throughout the year.

In partnership with community organizations, it supports the program with storytimes, movies, programs, workshops, and activities. Participants are encouraged to take part by attending events and filling in an activity card, which, when completed, is entered into a draw to win prizes, such as e-readers, tablet PCs, books, gift cards, and more.

Youth and Teen Services Coordinator Cindy Gray at the Forth Worth Central Library told me that the first year they piloted the program it only drew a few thousand readers, but it has now caught on with almost ten thousand participants.

Read more about Worth Reading 365.