The Big Read is a big hit. People in the western suburbs of Chicago have really responded positively to this reading program focusing on The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. When the shared eight-library effort was proposed last summer, I thought it was an idea worth trying, but I never expected the amount of interest it has generated. I am amazed.
I had thought 10 copies of The Devil in the White City would be enough for our small library, but as soon as we started promoting the program, it became obvious that we needed more. We added 10 copies more, but we were still short. There were never any copies on display. A third order was made. We now have 39 copies, and 2 books are actually available at this moment. When the Thomas Ford Memorial Library opens today, they will disappear.
You should have seen our crowd yesterday. 135 people came to hear Jane Clarke, an architectural historian formerly from the Art Institute of Chicago, present her slide lecture The White City: From Swamp to the City Beautiful. We knew we needed to move our program out of the library when we had more people on the waiting list than the registered list. The Village Club, a private club in Western Springs next door to our library, generously offered their hall. Thanks to the club we made twice as many people happy.
Registration for all but one of the originally listed programs at the eight libraries is closed, so libraries are adding more programs. You can see what programs are open by going to the program's web site www.thebigread.org.