Greenwood Library launches reading challenge

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 29, 2021

Longwood University’s Greenwood Library has been selected as one of 200 libraries to participate in “Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries,” an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that helps library workers better serve small and rural communities.

The competitive award comes with a $3,000 grant that will help the library launch a year-long reading challenge, Southside Reads. Each month features a different theme. Participants can read any book that fits the theme, leading to vibrant and diverse discussions. January’s challenge is to read a book with a number in the title. Each month, virtual discussions will connect readers through the shared theme.

“It is an honor to be selected for this grant,” Dr. Brent Roberts, Greenwood Library dean, said. “We look forward to bringing community members together and connecting through rich discussions of books and ideas.”

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More than 300 libraries applied for the grant.

As part of the grant, Greenwood Library staff will take an online course in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to library work today. Staff will then host monthly discussions with residents about the books read for each month’s theme and use the grant funds to sponsor special events.

This month’s virtual book discussion will be held Thursday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The Southside Reads website also offers suggested books for various age groups.

After the success of the NEA Big Read, Longwood University’s Greenwood Library is excited to continue community conversations through shared reading experiences. Echoing Longwood University’s deep commitment to diversity and equity, participants are encouraged to read books written by or about someone different than themselves. The conversations that will arise through discussing these various books will help to expand our understanding of the different voices that make up our community.

To get involved or join the conversation, please visit the Southside Reads website, join the group on Facebook or contact Librarian Sarah Reynolds at