WLA & Wisconsin Water Library at UW-Madison to Partner on Great Lakes, Great Read

Program Aims to Connect Wisconsinites to the Great Lakes Watershed Through Reading


Calling all Wisconsin readers!  The Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) and the Wisconsin Water Library at UW-Madison are pleased to announce plans for Great Lakes, Great Read, a basin-wide community read program scheduled to launch in 2024. Great Lakes, Great Read is designed to inspire passion and connection to the Great Lakes Watershed through reading. The Wisconsin program will serve as a pilot with the goal of being a catalyst for the development of similar programs in other states and provinces in the Upper Midwest and Canada.

There is a need for greater education about the Great Lakes as an important natural resource. While approximately 34 million people in the US and Canada live in the Great Lakes Watershed, recent surveys, such as the 2021 International Joint Commission Great Lakes Regional Poll, show a lack of understanding of the threats facing the greatest freshwater resource in the world. Greater education – greater environmental literacy - is critical to cultivating stewardship of the Great Lakes and of water resources more broadly.

Enter Great Lakes, Great Read. The program’s “one book, one community” model, already adopted by many libraries, is a natural fit for a basin-wide project, and Wisconsin is the perfect state to pilot the project. Wisconsinites have a deep connection to water through culture, economy, tourism and way of life. Wisconsinites also have access to a well-connected network of academic, public and special libraries that serve as the center of our communities.

Funded by a grant from WiLS, the Great Lakes, Great Read program will officially kick off on February 1, 2024. 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 watershed 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, the plan is to host public presentations by the selected authors and a website that includes book discussion questions and other ideas for engagement.  

Watch the WLA website and join the Great Lakes, Great Read 2024 email list for program updates:  Great Lakes, Great Read email list.