Read Across Lawrence

Join our annual, community-wide reading event that encourages everyone in Lawrence read and talk about the same book!

Read Across Lawrence uses literature as a springboard to launch community conversations about important issues of our times. Each year, we distribute 1,000 free copies of the selected book and invite cornerstone community institutions to host lectures, panels, discussion groups and film screenings throughout Lawrence.


In 2012, Read Across Lawrence broadened its scope to include teens and children with books related thematically to the adult selection.

In 2017, in partnership with KU’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and KU Libraries, ​we received a $14,000 grant to host the NEA Big Read in Lawrence. A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Lawrence Public Library was one of 77 organizations to receive a grant to host a NEA Big Read project between September 2016 and June 2017. The 2017 NEA Big Read in Lawrence focused on In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez.

Previous Read Across Lawrence Selections

2018 | Wonder by R.J. Palacio
2017 | In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
2016 |The Martian by Andy Weir
2015 | The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
2014 | Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
2013 | The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
2012 | Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
2011 | To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2010 | Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama | Kansas Reads
2009 | The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard | Kansas Reads
2008 | Kansas Curiosities by Pam Grout
2007 | Revolutionary Heart by Diane Eickhoff
2006 | The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty
2005 | Blue Horses Rush in by Luci Tapahanso