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The Great American Read Launches in WNY & Southern Ontario

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Great American Read poster

May 22, 2018


WNED ǀ WBFO Media Contact: Heather Hare

Director, Corporate Communications

(716) 845.7155 • hhare@wned.org



The Great American Read Launches

in WNY and Southern Ontario

The Great American Read, a national PBS initiative, launched today in Western New York and Southern Ontario by WNED-TV, the Buffalo & Erie County Public Libraries, Talking Leaves Books, and Just Buffalo Literary Center. Local initiatives, including opportunities for readers of all ages to potentially appear in the national PBS series, a regional Facebook book club, and an upcoming community wide Reading Invasion, were announced today at the downtown Buffalo Central Library.

Designed to spark a national conversation about reading and the books that have inspired, moved and shaped us, The Great American Read encompasses an eight-part PBS television series, community reading programs, and a wide range of digital and social media initiatives, nationally and in communities across North America. Featuring testimonials from notable figures from the entertainment, sports, news and literary worlds, the series culminates in October with the results of the first-ever national vote to choose “America’s Best-Loved Book.”

The two-hour premiere episode airs tonight at 8 pm on WNED-TV after which voting will be live. Readers can vote every day on a variety of platforms including social media using the hashtag #GreatReadPBS. The list of 100 best-loved books, ranging from “Moby Dick” and “Little Women” to “Harry Potter” and “Ready Player One,” was compiled from the results of a national survey and is available online, as well as at The Buffalo & Erie County Public Libraries, Talking Leaves Books, and Just Buffalo Literary Center. (Visit wned.org for voting, the book list, and more.)


Local activities include the collection of stories and thoughts about favorite books from WNY and Southern Ontario residents on videotape that could be used at a local screening or in the national PBS series. In particular, WNED-TV is seeking stories about sharing the love of reading or of specific books across generations. You can sign up for a 20-minute time slot at wned.org to have your stories videotaped in the Buffalo Central Library's recording studio. Other activities include a Facebook group and a Reading Invasion at the downtown Buffalo Central Library:

  • TODAY at 8 pm: The Great North American Read, two-hour premiere on WNED-TV
  • Ongoing: Vote for your favorite book at wned.org and via Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #GreatReadPBS
  • Ongoing: The Great North American Read book club on WNED-TV’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2095725184014857/
  • Wednesday, June 27: Videotaping, 9 am to 1 pm at Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, recording studio, main floor. Reserve a time slot at wned.org.
  • Wednesday, July 11: Videotaping, 10 am to 2 pm at Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, recording studio, main floor. Reserve a time slot at wned.org.
  • Saturday, July 21: Videotaping, 11 am to 2 pm at Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, recording studio, main floor. Reserve a time slot at wned.org.
  • Thursday, Aug. 9: Videotaping, 6 to 8 pm at Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, recording studio, main floor. Reserve a time slot at wned.org.
  • Thursday, Aug. 9: Reading Invasion, 7 to 8 pm at Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, outside on the Washington Street Ramp
  • TBA: Facebook Live book debate
  • TBA: The Great American Read documentary and local filming screening, WNED Studios, 140 Lower Terrace, Buffalo

The PBS series will continue airing in the fall as it investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience. The finale, in which the results of a nationwide vote to choose America’s best-loved book are announced, will air in October. 


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The WNED | WBFO family of stations broadcasts PBS, NPR and Classical music programming throughout the Western New York and Southern Ontario regions. These high-quality programs and community outreach services inform, enlighten, entertain and educate our local and regional communities. Our member-supported stations include WNED-TV (PBS), WBFO-FM 88.7 (NPR), Classical 94.5 WNED, JazzWorks, WNED thinkbright Create and PBS KIDS 24/7. WNED-TV is also a national producer of award-winning documentaries. Additional information about WNED ǀ WBFO can be found at wned.org.


About The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System

There are 37 Buffalo & Erie County Public Libraries and the Library on Wheels bookmobile with 3.2 million materials available for borrowing including books, eBooks, DVDs, CDs, audio books, downloadable music and more.  Libraries are places of information with free WiFi, public computers, job training resources, family literacy programming, rare collections, exhibits, books clubs, health and wellness fairs, makerspaces, lectures and more.  Free library cards (traditional and eLibrary) are available to Erie County, New York residents and to those who work and/or attend school in Erie County, NY.  Follow the library on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr and on our podcast All Booked Up!  For more information call: 716-858-8900 or visit http://www.buffalolib.org.


About Talking Leaves… Books

Talking Leaves...Books is Buffalo's oldest independent bookstore, providing a diverse and eclectic selection of books for readers of all ages, while participating in and fostering community partnerships in support of reading, writing, and literacy, since 1971. Visit us at 951 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, at book events all over town, and online at www.tleavesbooks.com.  Independent bookstores nourish independent minds.


Just Buffalo Literary Center believes in the love of reading, the art of writing, and the power of the literary arts to transform individual lives and communities. Established in 1975, Just Buffalo Literary Center serves the region with author readings and conversations, literary events, writing workshops, interdisciplinary performances, and student publications. Its signature author series BABEL has been recognized as“...the most exciting literary series Buffalo has ever seen;” and its newest program, the Just Buffalo Writing Center, offers after- school writing workshops, mentoring, and a year-round writer-in-residence to teens in downtown Buffalo. More information is available at: justbuffalo.org or by calling (716) 832-5400.