This fall, the MIT Libraries is launching MIT Reads, an Institute-wide program that aims to build community and foster understanding through a series of shared reading and discussion events. This new initiative invites the entire MIT community — students, faculty, staff, and affiliates — to read selected titles and join open discussions.
For the 2016-17 academic year, MIT Reads will explore the theme of diversity and inclusion. Staff from the Libraries will partner with cultural and identity-based groups on campus throughout the year to select the reading and plan discussion events. A grant from MIT’s Committee on Race and Diversity is supporting the program.
“Given the nature of tragic events around the globe this past year, I think it has never been more important for us to be a truly caring and reflective community,” says Chris Bourg, director of the MIT Libraries. “When we talk about MIT building a better world, it means fostering not only innovation but social justice, empathy, and kindness. One of the goals of MIT Reads is to promote dialogue about these values.”
The first title, selected in partnership with the Gender Fluidity Group and LBGTQ@MIT, is "Redefining Realness," Janet Mock’s bestselling memoir of growing up multiracial, poor, and trans in America. Two additional titles will be announced in the winter and spring. The winter selection will be chosen in collaboration with the Black Women’s Alliance; campus groups interested in being a partner for the third selection are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Books will be made available at a steep discount to students, faculty, and staff by the MIT Press Bookstore, and each library location will have at least one copy that can be checked out.
Interested participants can attend one of two (or more, depending on demand) discussions per book, one to be held during business hours and one in the evening. Each will break out into smaller discussion groups of 10-15 led by a facilitator.
“An important dialogue about diversity and inclusion at MIT began in earnest this summer, and MIT Reads is a way to ensure that this continues, across the Institute and throughout the year,” says Nina Davis-Millis, the MIT Libraries’ director of community support and staff development.
For more information about purchasing or borrowing featured books and updates on upcoming discussion events, visit libraries.mit.edu/mit-reads.