This year’s community read focuses on the life and lasting legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister, social activist in the Civil Rights movement and the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. By attending any Great Read program, or by reading a MLK, Jr. book, you can enter a free drawing to win a Barnes & Noble gift card.

In the spirit of giving and peace, please bring canned goods or supplies to The Great Read Kickoff or Finale to benefit those in need. For more information, visit

All of the events listed below are drop in and do not require registration. 

The Great Read Kickoff
Thursday, February 1, 6–8 p.m.

White Oak Library, Romeoville
Many people only think of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a passionate Civil Rights leader and are unfamiliar with his upbringing as a young boy growing up in the south. Professional storyteller Linda Gorham will tell the story of Dr. King’s youthful experience with segregation that likely inspired him and gave him the impetus to march, write and speak out so that the laws in the United States could be changed to protect all people.

The Great Read Finale
Wednesday, February 28, 6 p.m.

Joliet Public Library, Black Road Branch
Vocal artist, songwriter and educator Maggie Brown will perform songs linked to and inspired by the Civil Rights movement and Dr. King’s impact and legacy. The winners of The Great Read Art Contest will be announce, and there will be refreshments and book giveaways, while supplies last.

The Great Read Art Contest
Now–Wednesday, February 14

Create an original piece of art inspired by the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Submit your artwork along with an entry form at our Information Desk by February 14 for a chance to win a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card. Entries can be any medium (limit 24″ in height and width, a weight limit of five pounds or length of 2.5 minutes). Click here for official Art Contest rules and to download an entry form. Entry forms can also be obtained at the Information Desk.

Great Read Events at Lemont Public Library

The Freedom Riders & Civil Rights Today
Wednesday, February 7, 7:00 pm
Thomas Armstrong, author of Autobiography of a Freedom Rider: My Life as a Foot Soldier for Civil Rights, discusses his first-hand experiences in the Civil Rights Movement.

Books on Tap Discussion– The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
Thursday, February 8, 7:00 pm
For participants ages 21 and over.  Discussion will be held at Pollyanna Brewing Company in Downtown Lemont.



Caught between her poor neighborhood and her fancy prep school, sixteen-year-old Starr Carter becomes the focus of intimidation and more after witnessing the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a police officer.



Painting Party: I Have a Dream
Monday, February 12, 6:00 pm
Paint a chalkboard with a frame “I Have a Dream.” Material fee is $15, payable at registration and includes wine and light appetizers. Ages 21 and over.

Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Saturday, February 17, 10:30 am
Ages 7-10
We will explore the life of Dr. King with books and other activities. Make an “I Have a Dream” journal to take home.

Teen Book Discussion — Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Thursday, February 22….6:30PM


Writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seventeen-year-old college-bound Justyce McAllister struggles to face the reality of race relations today and how they are shaping him.




Book Buzz Discussion — Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
February 27, 7:00 pm
All ages are welcome.


In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis.