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Southside Reads: About Southside Reads

What is Southside Reads?





After a successful Big Read grant in 2019 led to increased interest in community reading, a faculty member’s suggestion led librarians, with campus and community partners, to develop a monthly theme-based reading challenge. The Southside Reads Reading Challenge began in January 2021 and was entirely virtual due to COVID protocols. 2022 saw a transition to in-person meetings and more community engagement. Today, Southside Reads continues through Facebook interactions and monthly in-person book discussions. 



In The News

Longwood’s Greenwood Library receives national grant for small and rural libraries, Longwood University News & Articles, 1/26/2021, http://www.longwood.edu/news/2021/national-grant-for-small-and-rural-libraries/

Greenwood Library Launches Reading Challenge, Farmville Herald, 1/29/2021, https://www.farmvilleherald.com/2021/01/greenwood-library-launches-reading-challenge/

Greenwood Library Finds Humor in Southside Reads, The Rotunda, 4/22/2021 http://www.therotundaonline.com/features/greenwood-library-finds-humor-in-southside-reads/article_7723dee6-a387-11eb-93fd-2bf254f174df.html

Southside Reads Encourages Literary Community, A Common Place, Longwood Literary Magazine, 11/3/2021, https://acommonplacelitmag.com/2021/11/03/southside-reads-encourages-literary-community/

Report from Board of Visitors Meeting, December 2, 2022, Lee Millar Bidwell, Faculty Representative to the BOV: http://solomon.longwood.edu/media/faculty-senate/solomon/Report-from-Board-of-Visitors-Meeting-12-2-22.pdf 

Report from Faculty Representative to the Board of Visitors, December 2, 2022, Lee Millar Bidwell, Professor of Sociology, https://longwood.box.com/s/6dqrsfbfdlob8czypm2tz27ma64gtl0v 


Browning, N. & Reynolds, S. (2022, November). #SouthsideReads: Engaging a community through reading during uncertain times. Information session presented at the Library Marketing and Communications Conference, Indianapolis, IN. 

Reynolds, S., Browning, N., & Lea, V. M. (2021, October). #SouthsideReads21: Bridging the town-gown divide with a reading challenge. Poster session presented at the Virginia Library Association Annual Conference, Richmond, VA. https://pheedloop.com/2021VLA/site/sessions/?id=SESQ85H777BJYAQA4.

Reynolds, S. & Roberts, B. (2021, August). Southside Reads. Presentation to the Farmville Rotary Club, Farmville, VA. 

Grant Funding

Southside Reads received grant funding from May 2021- July 2021. The funding provided programming, supplies, stickers, and t-shirts. 

Reynolds, S., Browning, N., & Palmer, V. (2020). Application for Libraries Transforming Communities. American Library Association (ALA). [Funding $3,000].

Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) that provides community engagement resources and opportunities specific to the needs of library workers serving small and rural communities.

Community engagement is the process of working collaboratively with community members – be they library patrons, residents, faculty, students, or partner organizations – to address issues for the betterment of the community.



The Greenwood Gab podcast often features Southside Reads. 

Listen on most podcast platforms and on YouTube. Relevant YouTube episodes are tagged with #SouthsideReads.



Past Themes


At the start of the Southside Reads challenge, we had several partners who assisted by providing spaces, prizes, and support. The following local entities were valuable partners in 2021:

Link to Libraries Transforming communities website
Robert Russa Moton Museum
Link to Central Virginia Regional Library website
Fishin Pig logo with link to website
Link to Farmville Downtown website
Link to Bortz Library website
Link to Mainly Clay website
A Great Escape Logo