The Big Read 2013 Schedule of Events

The Big Read will move you beyond reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Attend one or more of these events to experience the Roaring ’20s, discover more about the author, enjoy amazing jazz from the era, learn about other interesting people from the 1920s, experience art from that time, watch a film or join a book discussion.


Roaring Twenties Film Series | Kids Programming

Friday, February 1 | 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM | Sabatini Gallery
The Great Gatsby First Friday ArtWalk
Enjoy music of The Great Gatsby era, along with refreshments and conversations about art.

Friday, February 1 | 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM | Marvin Auditorium 101A and First Friday ArtWalk Galleries
Big Read Great Gatsby Kick-Off Event

Join us for a reception to launch our community wide reading of The Great Gatsby. Enjoy music of the era, refreshments and conversations about the book. At 6:30 pm, a showing of the 1974 film starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow will be shown in Marvin 101BC.

Saturday, February 2 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM | Fairlawn Plaza Mall
Big Read Great Gatsby Roaring in 1920s Classic Car Show

Browse through classic cars of the 1920s era. At noon dancers from The Dance Factory perform. Be on the lookout for a gang of Charleston-dancin’ mobsters. Take part in some fun photo opps and have a roaring good time.

Monday, February 4 | 1:00–3:00 PM |  Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Knit/Crochet a Gatsby-era Cloche & Discuss the Book

Make a 1920’s fashion statement. Learn how to knit or crochet a cloche hat. Patterns and basic instruction provided. Be fashionably dressed for The Big Read in February when we read and discuss The Great Gatsby. Knit or crochet along online.

Wednesday, Feb 6 |  7:00–8:00 PM  |  Menninger Room 206
Kansas Brewers and Breweries
Cindy Higgins, local journalist and Kansas historian, presents the history of Kansas brewers and breweries. Check out her book on the topic at

Saturday, February 9 | 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Marvin Auditorium 101B
Art Deco Zentangles
Teens and adults will learn the creative process and study 1920s Art Deco to inspire your zentangle designs. A zentangle is way of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is enjoyed by all ranges of skill, interest and age and often inspired by Art Deco designs.

Sunday, February 10 | 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM | Marvin Auditorium 101ABC
Remembering Gatsby and Fitzgerald
The Big Read book of the year comes to life via a multimedia, historical discussion on the author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his classic novel, The Great Gatsby. Bring your questions to stump our librarians.

Wednesday,  February 13  |  7:00–8:30 PM  | Lingo Story Room
Wednesday, February 20 | 1:30–3:00 PM  | Marvin Auditorium 101C
Fashion Plates 1920’s Style

Using reproductions of fashion plates from our collection of 1920’s magazines, participants will add a swash of watercolor or some shades of colored pencil to create a frameable Gatsby-style artwork. Registration required 580-4606.

Thursday, February 14 | 7:00–8:00 PM |  Marvin Auditorium 101C
Aaron Douglas The Ray of Hope

Explore the creative expression of this artist often called the Father of African-American Art. Learn of his early influences in Topeka as well as his adult life in New York during the  Harlem Renaissance. Presented by Joan Wilson, Brown v Board Ranger.

Sunday, February 17 | 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM | Marvin Auditorium 101ABC
Big Read presents Keynote Kirk Curnutt

Author-scholar and Fitzgerald expert will give a keynote lecture on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life, works, cultural context, and critical reception.

Thursday, February 21 |  7:00 PM – 8:30 PM | Brown v Board of Education National Historic Site
The Evolution of Jazz

Dennis Winslett, professional musician and historian, will highlight the Jazz Age, music of the Gatsby period, and the evolution of Jazz. Cosponsored by Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.

Saturday, February 23 | 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM | Marvin Auditorium 101C
Author Laura Moriarty

The Kansas novelist introduces her latest title, The Chaperone, a captivating story about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922. The author discusses writing about characters set in the 1920s and any comparison or influence of The Great Gatsby.

Sunday, February 24  | 2:00–3:30 PM  | The World Cup Café, 21st and Washburn
Coffee with Gatsby

Coffee + you = a great discussion of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Join us to talk about this classic jazz age book over food and drink. Registration required. Contact Erin at 580-4425.

Sunday, February 24 | 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM  | Marvin Auditorium 101ABC
Angela Hagenbach and The Great Gatsby

The Big Read presents Angela Hagenbach, KC jazz singer extraordinaire, who returns to help celebrate the wonderful novel, The Great Gatsby. Ms. Hagenbach brings a unique look at the music, story, and culture of The Great Gatsby.

Tuesday, February 26 |  7:00 PM – 8:30 PM | Marvin Auditorium 101C
Art & Architecture of the 1920s

Topeka is rich with art and architecture from the period of Gatsby. Come for a very visual presentation. Continue the experience with a self-directed auto tour (maps provided) of Topeka buildings exhibiting Art Deco and other architectural elements of the 1920s.

February 26 – March 3, 2013 | Around Town
The self directed auto tour of the 1920s architecture in Topeka will be continuing throughout the month following the introduction program on February 26 (above). Check for a map and more details as they become available.

Tuesday, February 26  |  7:00–8:30 PM  |  PT’s Coffee17th and Washburn
Bean There, Read That

Join this book group for folks in their 20s and 30s. Relive book discussions from your English classes, but with books you want to and honestly will read this time – plus food and drink (alcoholic or otherwise). This month we’ll be reading our Big Read selection The Great Gatsby. Provide your own copy or pick one up at the Reference Desk, first come, first-served.

Thursday, February 28 | 1:00–2:30 PM | Hughes Room 205
Big Read Great Gatsby Book Discussion

Discuss The Great Gatsby. What makes Gatsby tick? Why so much secrecy surrounding his past? What do you think are some of the fundamental lessons to be learned from this classic novel? Bring your thoughts and opinions to this discussion.

Friday, March 1 |  7:00 PM – 9:00 PM |  The Great Overland Station
The Great Gala at the Great Overland Station
It’s time to put on your “Gatsby style” and enjoy a delightful evening set in the RoaringTwenties: music, dance, food, drink  and an Art Deco exhibit. Be our guest at this NOTO First Friday event and dress in 1920’s style. The Great Overland Station locale will inspire you to learn the Charleston as you swing with Cliff Manning and the One O’Clock Jump band. The Fuzion School of Dance and Dance Factory students will perform. Catered by Abouds. Bar service available for purchase.

Saturday, March 2 | 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM | Marvin Auditorium
Queen Bey
Stars in Bessie’s Blues
Hailed as Kansas City’s Ambassador of Jazz, Queen Bey brings to life the legendary Bessie Smith the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s. She and a trio of musicians will perform. Learn about the life and career of Bessie Smith. The show is directed by Kevin Willmott, professor of film at The University of Kansas

Film Series

Friday, February 1 | 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM | Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Big Read Film Series – The Great Gatsby (1974)
Our film series will include a screening of The Great Gatsby at our Kick-off event for our First Friday ArtWalk evening. A showing every Friday night of other versions and related films will be held at the Library.

Friday, February 8 |  6:30 PM – 8:30 PM | Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Big Read Film Series – Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994)

Friday, February 15 |  6:30 PM – 8:45 PM | Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Big Read Film Series – Chicago (2002)

Friday, February 22 |  6:30 PM – 8:45 PM | Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Big Read Film Series – Midnight in Paris (2011)

Events for Kids and Teens

Monday, February 4 | 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM | Story Zone
Wonderstruck: Wonders in the Making
We will be encouraging our 8-12 year olds to read an era companion book, Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. At this program they craft items represented things found in a Cabinet of Wonders.

Monday, February 11  | 4:00–5:00 PM  | Marvin Auditorium 101AB
Great Gatsby Party [11–18 years]

Be like Gatsby and step back into the 1920s with music, dancing, food and fashion of the time. While you are there get your gangster on with a game of poker or some target practice (nerf gun style).

Tuesday, February 12 |  3:30 PM – 5:00 PM | Story Zone
Wonderstruck: Wonderful Words
This program for tweens focuses on different ways of communicating: hieroglyphics, sign language, slang words from the 20’s, the 60/70’s, and today.

Monday, February 25 | 3:30–4:30 PM |  The Edge
Flapper Headbands [12–18 years]

Capture some Gatsby glamour by making a 1920’s flapper headband. Use beads, ribbon, feathers and more to create beautiful and fashionable headbands inspired by the book The Great Gatsby.

Tuesday, February 26 | 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM | Lingo Story Room
Wonders Revealed
Children 8-12 will get a chance to enter the forbidden tomb just like the characters experience in this captivating book.

Saturday, February 9 | 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Marvin Auditorium 101B
Art Deco Zentangles
Teens and adults will learn the creative process and study 1920s Art Deco to inspire your zentangle designs. A zentangle is way of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is enjoyed by all ranges of skill, interest and age and often inspired by Art Deco designs.


A public relations professional, editor and writer, Lisa shares the library story in her blog posts, in the bimonthly Library News, and media interviews. A self-described social media and news nut, Lisa harnesses that passion to raise awareness and understanding of the library's vital role in this community.