The Great Read

The Great Read for 2018 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 book about MLK or the Civil Rights Movement, you can enter a drawing to win a fantastic prize.

Our Kick-Off event is scheduled at the Romeoville Branch on Thursday, February 1, 2018 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. It features Storyteller Linda Gorham who will introduce us to young Martin, a boy growing up in the South, who would one day become the most visible spokeperson and activist of the Civil Rights Movement.  Light refreshments. Appropriate for school age children with their parents, teens, and adults. 

The finale event is An Evening with Maggie Brown at the Joliet Black Road Branch, 3395 Black Road on Wednesday, February 28, 2018. Vocal artist, songwriter, and educator, Ms. Brown will share her songs to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s impact and legacy. Doors open at 6:00 pm. Art contest awards presentation will be followed by Ms. Brown's program at 6:30 pm. Refreshments and book giveaways!

In the spirit of giving and peace, please bring canned goods or supplies to the opening and/or closing events to benefit Bags of Hope, Morningstar Mission of Joliet and St. John Food Pantry. For a list of needed supplies and more information, please visit visit

In addition to the spectacular Kick-Off and Finale, a plethora of themed programs are being offered at each of the participating libraries. Please view the Calendar of Events on the Great Read website for detials.

The Art Contest

The Great Read wouldn't be complete without its annual art contest. A key component of the monthlong celebration is the creation of original art -- the best of which is exhibited at the Finale on February 28th. These are the rules: Create an original piece of art inspired by the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Entries can be any medium (up to 2 feet in height and width with a weight limit of 5 pounds) or a digital presentation up to 2-1/2 minutes. Applications are available January 8, 2018.  Artwork is due at your participating Library on or before February 14, 2018.

Your art will be judged at the local level where the winners will go on to be judged again at the Great Read level. Local level prizes of $20.00 gift cards to Barnes & Noble will be awarded to the best entries in each age level. The three Great Read Finale winners will each receive a $50.00 gift card to Barnes & Noble, which will be presented at the Finale.  

The Great Read has been promoting literacy,reading, and conversation in the community since 2004.  This year’s Great Read is planned by the White Oak Library District and these partner organizations: 

Previous initiatives include: