About The Big Read

Enjoy Music, Dancing, Great Stories and an Auto Self-guided Tour Inspired by The Great Gatsby

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library invites the community to experience the Roaring Twenties by reading the “Great American Novel” The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Thanks to a $12,800 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), The Big Read initiative inspires people to pick up a good book and talk about it. The library was one of 78 organizations nationwide to receive a grant and will have hundreds of copies of the book available to read. Books will also be given away at the February1, First Friday ArtWalk and at other signature events all month long.

The Big Read provides many opportunities to experience the post-World War I era by attending events that will entertain both readers and the non-readers. The 1920s-inspired events include a self-guided architectural tour of Topeka’s ‘landmarks, an antique car show, literature discussions and live jazz performances from Feb. 1 to March 2.

“We’re bringing the Jazz Age back. A tribute to Bessie Smith, the female Louis Armstrong of the era, features Kansas City jazz legend Queen Bey at the library. Another extraordinary KC jazz singer, Angela Hagenbach brings her silky smooth voice and authentic period costuming to the library,” said Nancy Overmyer, Event Resources manager. “We invite the whole community to catch the flavor of the era at The Great Overland Station for the Great Gala party, which features live music by Cliff Manning and the One O’Clock Jump, with dance performances by Fusion and The Dance Factory Schools of Dance at the March 2 First Friday ArtWalk.”

These memorable experiences wouldn’t happen without community sponsors, listed on tscpl.org/bigread and in the February/March Library News, our bimonthly newspaper. It also includes a complete list of the 29 Big Read events.