Joplin Public Library launches free community reading program

Jan. 3—Joplin Reads Together, a new initiative aimed at bringing the community together by fostering a love for reading, is being launched at the Joplin Public Library later this year.

Joplin Reads Together marks the library's first Community Read, a program that's designed to connect community members with different organizations and people through a monthlong book reading event. The program is offered free to anyone, even if they don't have a library card.

"While this is new to the Joplin Public Library, Community Read is very common at public libraries throughout the country," said Sarah Turner-Hill, adult programming coordinator. "For example, the Springfield-Greene County Library does one annually, and the National Endowment for the Arts funds one every year. It's pretty popular, and from our research, communities really enjoy it."

In April, readers will engage in discussions on a selected title for adults and participate in accompanying programs, including a visit from the author of the book. This year's book title will officially be made public on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

"A Community Read is focused on one book, which the library will announce later this month, and for us, our Community Read will be centered on an adult book," Turner-Hill said. "Our read will take place in April, and it will correspond with events and programming in the library that will be related to the book in some way, like book discussions."

Community members can participate by reading the selected book, tracking their progress on the Beanstack Tracker website and joining programs offered throughout the month of April.

For this first year, Turner-Hill said she'd like to see at least 100 people participate in Joplin Reads Together.

"Our current goal is around 150 participants, and this can be anyone who registers with us through Beanstack, which is what we use for our summer reading program," she said. "Beanstack is an online tracking book website, and we'll be using it for Joplin Reads Together for anyone who wants to track their progress. We also hope to draw people to the specific events we have for the book."

Joplin Reads Together aims to increase awareness of the library and its services, provide a shared experience and connect the community to its organizations.

"We wanted to do a Community Read because we wanted to highlight the library and all of the services it has to offer, but we also wanted to promote reading, literacy and our organizations in the community," Turner-Hill said. "It will give participants an opportunity for a shared experience within their community, especially for those who enjoy reading."

Turner-Hill said that at the end of April, the author of the selected book will visit Joplin to engage with readers, answer questions and sign autographs.

Copies of the selected book title will be available at the Joplin Public Library in physical, ebook and audiobook form. The free events and the programs related to the Community Read are being funded through the Joplin Public Library.

To receive information on the book announcement or for more information, visit

To register on Beanstack, visit