Big Read 2018

2018 Big Read: Educated by Tara Westover

Each fall we encourage our community to read the same book and talk about it.  Offering free books and engaging programming this is a wonderful opportunity to connect with a book - and each other. 

The 2018 Big Read Book Selection is Educated by Tara Wesover. 

"Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others."— NEW YORK TIMES

"Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable. Her new book, a heartbreaking, heartwarming, best-in-years memoir about striding beyond the limitations of birth and environment into a better life.— USA TODAY

Growing up in a secluded survivalist home, Tara Westover had no birth certificate, had never seen a doctor and received no formal education. She helped her family prepare for the end of the world and assisted her mom with herbalism and midwifery. However, as she grew and endured harrowing ordeals at home, she realized she could gain education outside of what her family was giving her. She taught herself enough math, science and English to take the ACT and attend college. She went on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.  Her story is truly remarkable. This book will make you question family relationships, education and more. We cannot wait to talk about it with you!

The Friends of the Library generously donate 50 copies of our Big Read book for us to give away to our community on September 8. If you receive a book, please attend some (or all!) of the programs we offer. The months of September and October are filled with programs that help us better understand the concepts touched on in the book and give us a chance to talk with each other. 


Big Read Book Giveaway

Saturday, September 8, 9:30 am

We begin handing out copies of Educated at 9:30am.  (Note - the library now opens at 9am. We are giving the books away beginning at 9:30am and encourage you to stay for the 10am program.)

Do you want to participate in this year's Big Read? Thanks to the Friends of the Library, we give away 50 copies of Educated. Large print available. First come, first served. Arrive early! We do not allow pre-reservations. Not able to be here on giveaway day? You may call (608) 437-5021, ext. 100, starting at 9:30am. Please speak with someone. Leaving a message does not guarantee a book.

Jerry Apps will speak at 10am. Though not the author of this year's Big Read book, he will be speaking about his time teaching at UW Wisconsin, which ties into education.


Jerry Apps: Once a Professor

Saturday, September 8, 10:00 am

 Jerry Apps, Once a Professor: A memoir of teaching in turbulent times. Beloved Wisconsin author and storyteller Jerry Apps talks about his years teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 1957 to 1995, Apps experienced the protests and riots of the 60s, conflicts surrounding tenure and faculty governance, and the constant pressure to secure funding.  Through it all, he formed a personal philosophy of education. This morning is sure to make you smile, think and recall your own memories of education.  Spending time listening to Jerry is a true delight.





herbal salve photo*Herbal Salve and Lotion Making with Linda Conroy

Thursday, October 4, 6:30 pm

Try your hand at making your own herbal salves and lotions with Linda Conroy of Moonwise Herbs. Registration Required. Space is limited. Please call 437-5021 to reserve your place.


Author Skype Visit with Tara Westover

Monday, October 8, 6:30 pm

Photo of Tara WestoverTara Westover, author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller Educated, joins us live via Skype (video)Educated is our library's Big Read selection for 2018.

Registration recommended.  Please submit questions for the author to by October 1. (Based on the number submitted, all may not be selected.) There will also be limited time for additional questions during the evening.  Funded in part by Beyond the Page. Westover photo by Paul Stuart.


The History of American Education with Kyle Steele

Monday, October 15, 6:30 pm

School photoAmericans spend billions and billions of dollars annually on tax-supported, public education. Why? What are the true purposes of public education? Historian of education and assistant professor Kyle Steele (UW Oshkosh) will lead a discussion, ranging from the Founding Fathers to the near-present, that will use our past to contextualize--and perhaps even answer--these questions.



Ways of Knowing with Psychiatrists Dr. Scharrer and Dr. Vu

Thursday, October 18, 6:30 pm

How do we know what we know is true?  How does one's family of origin shape the lens through which we view the world? Join Drs. Scharrer and Vu for a conversation exploring the relational and psychiatric themes presented in Tara Westover's #1 NYT Bestseller, Educated.   (Trigger warning: Due to the subject matter of the book, discussion topics will include mental illness and child abuse/neglect.) Dr. Melanie Scharrer and Dr. Vuong Vu are senior psychiatry residents at the University of Wisconsin.


Herbal Medicine PhotoHerbal Medicine with Dr. Greta Kuphal

Tuesday, October 23, 6:30 pm

Learn about safe uses for herbs in medical treatment today.  Dr. Greta Kuphal, UW-Health, brings samples, talks about formulations, and discusses what to look for in a good product.


Resilience in Times of Stress with Dr. Robert McGrath

Saturday, October 27, 10:00 am

Stress Happens! Dr. McGrath will discuss a range of strategies you can use to increase your resilience during times when the stress level in your life goes up. Robert McGrath, Psy D, ABPP is a licensed psychologist providing Mind/Body Wellness Services at University Health Services. Robert has expertise in health psychology, positive psychology, authentic happiness, mind/body wellness and stress management.




Big Read Community Book Discussion

Monday, October 29, 6:30 pm

Join your friends and neighbors to discuss Educated by Tara Westover. All are welcome, even if you didn't finish the book.







Some of our events are sponsored by Beyond the Page, an endowment fund that supports humanities programming in libraries. For more information on this fund, please visit their website.