A Community Read is a book club for the entire city, cultivating a culture of reading and discussion in Irving by bringing people together around great works of literature.
Designed to restore reading to the center of American culture, Irving adopted the annual community reads in response to Irving’s strategic goal of “[promoting] effective communication among all members of the community.”
Each community read continues to draw in new customers and engage the established customer base while encouraging literacy and community bonding.
Occurring in October, each year Irving Public Library hosts a variety of events for all ages that help bring the books and story themes alive. Partnering with organizations like the Irving Independent School District, National Scouting Museum, North Lake Community College, Barnes & Noble, Carter Blood Center, Four Seasons Hotel & Resort, City of Irving Animal Services, and Irving Recreation Centers, as well as other city departments and civic organizations, the Community Reads move out beyond the Library and into the community allowing the Library to continually reach new audiences.
The community reads have grown tremendously in Irving, each building on the past initiatives. The inaugural read in 2006 had over 400 community members participate. In 2009, the initiative grew to over 4000 participating. The number of free books distributed to the community during promotional activities and events has increased, as well, with over 3900 books given out to readers of all ages.
Each year the community reads feature a program website with information on the selected title, the author, schedule of events, additional resources and more.
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.