Texas Center for the Book Invites Communities to Join Statewide Read on “Empathy” Theme

Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Austin, TX

Graphic with road sign-style text reading “EMPATHY” and subtitle “Read Across Texas 2023 Statewide Community Read” on a background with an orange van with books strapped on top driving through a sunny desert landscape.Austin, TX – The Texas Center for the Book (TCFB) invites libraries and readers statewide to join in its 2023 reading campaign. Read Across Texas: Empathy kicks off in March, with libraries signing up to facilitate reading and discussion opportunities exploring what “empathy” could mean within their communities.

Read Across Texas: Empathy will offer libraries a broad canvas for convening individuals and groups to explore the unique questions, challenges and solidarity that can occur in communities throughout the state. During the recent years of difficulties, division, isolation and loss, the TCFB recognizes the importance of sharing our stories to build understanding and support. Literature—by definition a way of sharing in a story other than our own—can be one of the many routes to empathy.

The TCFB is excited to kick off the 2023 campaign by announcing four book selections that give communities a platform to engage in challenging, insightful and transformative conversations.

“These four titles provide a wonderful jumping-off point for communities statewide to explore this year’s theme of ‘empathy’ through literature.” said Gloria Meraz, Director and Librarian, Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). “This is a fantastic opportunity for libraries to be sites of community, empathy, and transformation through the power of reading.”

Read Across Texas 2023 Library Grants
Texas libraries are eligible to apply for grants to receive a bundle of 10 copies of one of the four chosen titles. The amount of “book bundle grants” available depends on funding, and applicants will be evaluated and awarded as fundraising progresses. Libraries are encouraged to apply for book grants and hold programming space on their spring calendars. 

These grants are made available through a generous distribution partnership with BookPeople. The BookPeople website will include a link for donations to go directly to the Center for the entire month of February. In addition, on a day in February to be determined, 10% of all in-person and online sales will go toward book grants, as well.

“BookPeople is excited for the opportunity to partner with the Texas Center for the Book on this amazing program that puts free books into the hands of Texans for important conversations,” said Charley Rejsek, BookPeople CEO. “The 2023 theme of empathy could not have come at a more timely moment. We are happy to be able to support our community bound by books in this partnership, with hope to grow it in the years to come.”

Texans can also support the program directly by donating to the Texas Library and Archives Foundation

Read Across Texas 2023 Activities
Community activities for Read Across Texas officially begin in March, but participating organizations may conduct programs any time throughout the spring and summer. Additionally, in February, organizations can access an online step-by-step facilitator toolkit that includes materials such as a how-to guide, additional recommended titles, digital resources and links to empathy-specific discussion questions. 

Stay tuned to www.tsl.texas.gov/readacrosstexas for more information. 

Established in 1987, the Texas Center for the Book seeks to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy and libraries. The Center builds partnerships with library professionals, educators, authors, publishers and booksellers who provide support to our shared mission of promoting a love of literature throughout the Lone Star State. The Texas Center for the Book is under the direction of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at the Lorenzo De Zavala State Archives and Library Building in Austin, Texas.


The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides Texans access to the information they need to be informed, productive citizens by preserving the archival record of Texas; enhancing the service capacity of public, academic and school libraries; assisting public agencies in the maintenance of their records; and meeting the reading needs of Texans with disabilities. For more information, visit tsl.texas.gov.

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Rebekah Manley
Page last modified: December 14, 2022