Great Lakes, Great Read program announced

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Great Lakes, Great Read program announced

Will connect Wisconsinites to the Great Lakes basin through reading

The Wisconsin Water Library (WWL) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) today announced plans for Great Lakes, Great Read, a basin-wide community read program scheduled to launch in 2024.

The WWL is supported by the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute and its sister program, Wisconsin Sea Grant. Water Library director Anne Moser said the reading program is based on the need for greater education about the Great Lakes as an important natural resource. While approximately 34 million people in the U.S. and Canada live in the Great Lakes basin, recent surveys, such as the International Joint Commission Great Lakes Regional Poll in 2021, show a lack of understanding of the threats facing the greatest freshwater resource in the world.

“It’s difficult to care about something you know nothing about,” said Moser. “Education, in this case, environmental literacy, is central to cultivating stewardship of the Great Lakes and of water resources more broadly.”

WLA Executive Director Laura Sauser said the “one book, one community” model, already adopted by many libraries, is a natural fit for the idea of a basin-wide community read, and Wisconsin is the perfect state to pilot this idea, catalyzing other Upper Midwestern states and and Canadian provinces to engage and inspire passion and connection to the freshwater seas through reading.

Close-up of smiling person standing in front of book shelves.
Laura Sauser. Contributed photo.

“Wisconsinites have a deep connection to water through culture, economy, tourism and way of life.  This connection, coupled with the WLA’s network of academic, public and special libraries, gives us a strong foundation for success,” Sauser said.

Supported by a grant from WiLS, the Great Lakes, Great Read program will officially kick off on Feb. 1.  The selected titles will be announced on Earth Day (April 22) 2024. Two books, one for adults and one for children, with themes related to the Great Lakes will be announced.

All Wisconsinites will be encouraged to read these titles, and libraries around the state will be encouraged to engage their residents through book discussions and related activities. While program designs are still being finalized, Moser said the plan is to host public presentations by the selected authors and to host a website that includes book discussion questions and other ideas for engagement for anyone interested.

Join the Great Lakes, Great Read 2024 email list for program updates:  Great Lakes, Great Read email list.