Community Read FAQs

Have questions about Community Read? We've got answers! Check out our FAQs below or reach out to Meryle Leonard at [email protected]



Consideration for Selecting a Community Read Book 


Interested in recommending a book or being considered the Community Read signature author? Please review the following criteria and submit your selection to the link below.  

Submit your suggestions here


Selecting the Community Read book is a library staff and community process. Due to the program's popularity, a succinct selection process is necessary to support year-round planning as well as meet program deadlines.  


The “Community” part of the Community Read does not refer to the author or the topics of the book. It is a program that engages all members of the community. Local authors or themes do not have priority in the selection process.  


Each year, the Library leadership team picks a theme. The Community Read team members select several books to support the theme. (See below for the criteria.) A survey is shared with the public and staff. They vote on the suggested books and recommend additional books based on the theme. The Community Read team selects a book based on the information received in the survey as well as the following: 


  • Criteria: Well-known author to encourage broad participation 

  • Fiction vs. Non-fiction 

  • Classic or Contemporary 

  • Reading level 

  • Support diversity, equity, and inclusion 

  • In print and have available quantity to order for the collection and give to the community 

  • Readily available in translation 

  • Available in paperback edition 

  • Author availability and affordability 


Companion titles are chosen by the Community Read Team.  

5 ways to enjoy Community Read in March 

Be part of a big, exciting, community-wide book club, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s annual Community Read. We’ve selected books for every age group, and there are plenty of ways to participate. 


1. Join the biggest book club in town

We’re more than a great community. We’re a book club. And with a book selection for every age group, everyone is invited to join in the fun. This year, the signature title for the program, which takes place in March 2024, is Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee. This includes a cooking demonstration at Johnson & Wales University, and a reception, presentation, and book signing at ImaginOn on March 19, 2024. The companion titles for younger readers and teens are Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp, Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte, and Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora. Take the Take the Challenge and start reading. 


Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee 

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp 

Measuring Up by Lily LaMott 

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora 


2. Join a conversation or two

There are also a lot of conversations taking place around Buttermilk Graffiti and its relevant themes. Join a conversation, use your voice, and help change the narrative of our community. 


3. Be a partner

Host your own Community Read program. Start a book club, family story time program, be a guest speaker, or volunteer at your local school. More importantly, what type of impact can you make in our community? How can your voice be heard? Share your work by using our Community Read Partner Event form. 


4. Read the books, then meet the authors!

Save the dates for these three amazing author events happening during the Community Read in March 2024. Edward Lee, author of Buttermilk Graffiti, will be in Charlotte on March 19. Lily LaMotte author of Measuring Up, will visit North County Regional on March 6, at 6 p.m. Oge Mora author of Thank You, Omu! will be at SouthPark Regional on March 7, at 6 p.m. Laekan Zea Kemp author of Between Bitter and Sweet will present an online author talk on March 14.  Events are free but limited. Registration is required for all events.  


5. Spend time with your neighbors at a local program

Community Read is so much more than reading the books – we hope you will visit your local branch to participate in a program too. With Community Read-themed story times, book discussions, and programs, there is sure to be something your whole family can experience! More so, the Library welcomes all of our community members to use the Community Read program as an opportunity to come together to discuss issues, seek understanding and create innovative solutions to community challenges beyond the program! Check out the calendar  for all Community Read programs and events. 


Read together. Share together. Be part of your community. 


Invite your friends and family to participate. Make new friends. Join book club discussions hosted around our community. Donte to the food drive happening at all of our location in March. to learn more. 



Help battle food insecurity with the Library 


The Department of Public Health and Sciences at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Government, reports that nearly 15% of Mecklenburg County’s households struggle with food insecurity. These households have reduced quality of food and may eat less due to a lack of available money and/or resources. Mecklenburg County also suffers from food deserts, where grocery stores or transportation to grocery stores are not close by, accessible, affordable, or convenient.  The 2024 Community Read program theme is, “Food as a connector. ” The theme means many things to many people including food insecurity. Please use Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina’s Pantry List as a resource to share information on available food, volunteer where needed, and support their mission to feed our community. During the Community Read, March 1-31, all Library locations will be collecting non-perishable food goods. Let’s allow food to bring our community closer together.


Find a food pantry near you