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Reading Together

When we read together, we grow together. Read and discuss Jerry Dennis's The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas with people from all walks of life.

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Some Final Thoughts

As we wrap up another year of Reading Together, we find ourselves once again gratified that so many residents participated in this effort, whether it was by reading The Living Great Lakes, discussing it in a book group, attending author Jerry Dennis’s presentation in March (along with 600+ other audience members), and/or participating in one or more of the other 14 programs that took place throughout the last six weeks.

Reading Together program

One thing is certain: We love our Great Lakes! Reading Together is meant to bring our community together and we saw that happen over and over again this year. We heard readers share their own stories and we witnessed a rededication to helping protect our waters. We saw young and old alike learn about the abundance provided by the Great Lakes, and we saw how the lakes influence us in all walks of life, from art and photography to volunteer opportunities and recreation.

We’d like to believe that, because of Reading Together, our community is a little bit stronger, perhaps a little more united in our commitment to each other and to these remarkable natural resources that are such an integral part of our existence in southwest Michigan.

Until next year,
Karen Trout, Reading Together Coordinator


Final Event a Reading Together First

As a Reading Together Steering Committee member, when I thought about the passion and knowledge our community has for our state and surrounding waters, I suggested hosting a team trivia night based on topics inspired by The Living Great Lakes. Our friends at Shakespeare’s Pub welcomed our idea and I’m excited to see the mix of people who will show up (those who saw Jerry Dennis speak, book clubs, librarians and Geeks Who Drink, I’m talking to you).

The evening will feature two rounds of trivia, starting at 6 pm then about 7 pm. Bring a team (6 member maximum, no minimum) to play (one or both rounds) or just show up and we’ll pair you with others to form a team. (Patrons under 21 are welcome at the Pub before 9 pm.)

The format is simple: The host reads a question, teams write their answers on a sheet, drinks are poured, food shared and at the end of the round, winners are announced, drinks are poured, food shared and the next round begins. (See sample question below.) No Internet look-ups or phone calls to friends or reference librarians allowed. Participants will not need to have read The Living Great Lakes. No advanced registration needed.

The management at Shakespeare’s arranged Great Lakes Brewing Company to have their beers on tap and the restaurant’s full dinner menu (including organic and vegetarian dishes) will be available. Prizes will include Great Lakes Brewing gifts, KPL swag and gift certificates to Shakespeare’s Pub.

Sample question: Name the object of Jerry Dennis' search in the subtitle of The Living Great Lakes

~Jim Ratliff, Reading Together Steering Committee
Librarian, Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Reading Together Steering Committee

Staying Informed about Great Lakes Legislation

Every year, I am more and more impressed with the book chosen for Kalamazoo’s Reading Together program. The timeliness of the topics and programs that these books inspire is so valuable. This year’s book, Jerry Dennis’s The Living Great Lakes is no exception. Mr. Dennis has provided the Kalamazoo community with a wonderful backdrop to the Great Lakes that gives us an in-depth perspective into current issues involving the ecology of the lakes. There currently is some major legislation being introduced and supported in our legislature to ensure that these lakes are not further damaged. 

Senator Debbie Stabenow recently announced a $40 million investment in critical conservation projects across Michigan and the Great Lakes Region. According to Stabenow, these projects have support from over 130 local partners and are a result of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, created in Senator Stabenow's 2014 Farm Bill, to protect our Great Lakes and invest in water, land, and wildlife conservation across the country.

Also, recently, Congressman Fred Upton joined Congressman Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, to introduce legislation that would reduce harmful pollution in our Great Lakes. The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 would prohibit the sale or distribution of personal care products that contain synthetic plastic microbeads, effective January 1, 2018.

Obviously, taking care of the Great Lakes is an enormous responsibility for all of us. Attending some of the Reading Together programs can help us all stay informed on this important issue.

~Judy Bosshart, Reading Together Steering Committee
Library Director, Davenport University


Reading Together Steering Committee

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2015 Photos

Jerry Dennis in Kalamazoo

EFA Student Artwork

On Video

Jerry Dennis in Kalamazoo

KCHS Auditorium, 3/3/2015
Courtesy, Public Media Network (PMN)


Davenport University, 3/4/2015


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In the News

Apr 5, 2015
Public LibraryPublic Library
is hosting a Great Lakes Trivia Night
Feb 27, 2015
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Karen Trout on The Lori Moore Show
Feb 27, 2015
Between the LinesBetween the Lines
Michigan nature writer Jerry Dennis
Feb 26, 2015
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explores 'The Living Great Lakes'
Jan 16, 2015
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Wayne Powers talks with Karen
Jan 9, 2015
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Karen Trout on The Lori Moore Show
Sep 29, 2014
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Book All About Great Lakes
Sep 4, 2014
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chooses "The Living Great Lakes"