NOTICE: The Children’s Room at Central Library is currently closed due to a water leakage. Children’s programming at Central Library has been canceled until further notice. 

NOTICE: The Eastwood Branch will be closed on April 29th & 30th for maintenance needs. 

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Readers are Leaders–Take the Challenge with Oliver James

February 14–April 18, 2024

Readers are Leaders book challenge


Take the Readers are Leaders Reading Challenge with Oliver James!

Kalamazoo Public Library is hosting a community event in collaboration with reading role model Oliver James, known for chronicling his self-taught journey on TikTok of learning how to read as an adult. Since 2022, he has amassed over 301,000 followers and continues to grow every day.

James gained recognition for his efforts and was awarded the Barbara Bush National Honors Literacy Award by the American Library Association in 2023. Additionally, he successfully accomplished his personal goal of reading and completing 100 books.

James’s visit to Kalamazoo aims to draw attention to the widespread issue of illiteracy in the US. The library has partnered with James to educate the public about the relevance of illiteracy in our community and the various disadvantages it brings to social dynamics, mental health, and generational progress. Through our collaboration, the community will be introduced to several organizations already diligently working to empower adult readers and provide them with the confidence, dignity, and support needed to make a meaningful impact on illiteracy and inequity issues in Kalamazoo and the wider United States.


Challenge Guidelines

Pick up your Readers are Leaders Reading Challenge bookmark at any KPL location or affiliate locations listed below or download it here.

  • Choose any of the five titles below, share your choice on social media, and challenge someone to join!
  • Readers can check out titles from a KPL branch or community organization affiliate.
  • After reading, return the book to the library or community organization affiliate, place it in a Little Free Library, or keep it!
  • Nominate a new challenger for each completed title.

Tag KPL and Oliver James on social media!

#ReadingRoleModel
#KalamazooLiteracy
#LiteracyAndCommunity
#Oliverspeaks1
#KalamazooPublicLibrary


Challenge Titles


Community Organization Affiliates


Oliver James Speaks Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

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