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Lafayette Reads Together

Lafayette Reads Together (LRT) began when the Lafayette Public Library was approached by a Lafayette Parish School System librarian who was interested in partnering for a community read. The library had previously participated in the National Endowment for the Arts’  Big Read, but this would be the first community-wide partnership involving several organizations throughout Lafayette Parish.

The goal of the program is to get the whole community reading, discussing, and exploring the same book. Thanks to the Lafayette Public Library Foundation, free copies of the chosen book are distributed to all interested patrons, allowing everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, educational background, race, and age, a chance to participate in the community read. Lafayette Reads Together has become an annual event with book discussions and LRT-related programs scheduled from January through March each year.

Businesses and groups can also join by simply agreeing to the distribution of books to employees or members and encouraging them to read or host LRT-related programs.

Click here for a calendar of LRT programs.

2020 – Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman


The 2020 community readDry by New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman, is an amazing, timely novel. Dry is a “cli-fi” (climate fiction) thriller that follows protagonist Alyssa and her younger brother Garrett as they face the California drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—after the taps run dry. The book explores what would happen if all the water ran out. Alliances are formed, enemies are made, and survival is threatened.

Join us for An Evening with Neal Shusterman (Ages 12 & up) on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at the Main Library (6:15 – 7:30 pm) where the acclaimed author will discuss his novel, Dry. The community read will run January 13 through March 14 and will include film showings, presentations, programs for adults and teens, and much more at library branches and throughout Lafayette Parish.

Take part in one of the LRT Pop-Up Book Clubs. These book discussions will take place on Sunday, February 16 at The Tap Room (6:30 – 7:30 pm, Ages 21 & up) and Saturday, February 29 at Carpe Diem! Gelato (6:30 – 7:30 pm, Ages 14 & up).

 

2019 – Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard


Lafayette Reads Together celebrated its fifth anniversary in a big way with Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard – the heartwarming tale about a little lost dog and the seasoned runner who saved her. Ultramarathon runner and author Dion Leonard competed in the Gobi March, a grueling 250-kilometer race through China’s Gobi Desert. On the second stage of the marathon, he noticed a stray dog following him.

An Evening with Author Dion Leonard was held at the Main Library with Chinese immersion students singing traditional songs before Leonard spoke about his journey while running an ultramarathon in the Gobi Desert. Along the way, he discovered many things about himself and China. A book signing followed the author’s talk.

Finding Gobi book discussions were held in February at the South Regional and Main Libraries. LRT-related library programs included film showings, presentations, programs for teens and children, and a special visit from Christine Duay, LPSS Director of Early Childhood, and her service dog, Willow.

 

2018 – The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The 2018 selected novel was The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. The Crossover tells the story of 12-year-old twin brothers, Josh and Jordan Bell, who are solid basketball players. Told from Josh’s perspective, the book tells of the brothers’ highs and lows both on and off the basketball court. It is a coming-of-age Young Adult novel written in free-verse poetry. The book was selected to expose the community to a different kind of literature (novel in free verse).

Lafayette Reads Together kicked off with An Evening with Kwame Alexander at the Main Library. The Paul Breaux Middle School Jazz Ensemble performed before author Kwame Alexander shared a bit of conversation, a dash of storytelling, and a splash of performance from his recent books. He shared insights and worldwide experiences in literacy, empowerment, action, and poetry. A book signing followed the author’s talk.

 

2017 – Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson (author) and Adrian Alphona (illustrator)

This year’s title, Ms. Marvel: No Normalis a graphic novel written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Adrian Alphona. It follows a Pakistani-American teen who loves comic books and longs to be noticed by her peers. When she suddenly discovers she has superpowers of her own, she realizes they’re not all she imagined they would be!

The first-ever Lafayette Reads Together Fest featured Pakistani performer Mehnaz Hoosein, Indian food tasting, and henna tattoo art at the Main Library. LRT-related library programs included film showings, presentations, programs for teens and children (including the science behind superhero powers), and more.

 

2016 – Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis

In the initiative’s second year, the selected book was Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis. The story follows four Latino students from an underfunded public high school who overcame insurmountable odds to take on MIT and other top-notch schools in a national underwater robotics competition.

Library events included a visit by author and journalist Joshua Davis, a robotics day featuring exhibitions by local schools and businesses, a presentation on ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) by Leah Hebert (UL Lafayette alumna and robotics competition judge), and robot design and programming activities in the libraries’ makerspaces.

 

2015 – A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park


In the program’s first year, presented by Cox Communications, programs focused on the New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. This survivor’s tale is inspired by the real story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who not only saved himself, but improved the quality of life for many.

This inaugural community read included a Skype conversation with author Linda Sue Park as well as a Lost Boys of Sudan photo exhibition and presentation by photojournalist Eli Reed at the Acadiana Center for the Arts.

 

 

We are excited to continue this annual community read and hope that you will read, discuss, and share these books in our community!