Here at UPK, we have two main priorities: books and community. For the past 75 years, we’ve been publishing books about our entire state—from far east to far west—and telling the narrative of Kentucky’s rich and complex culture and heritage. We continue to cultivate the importance of these stories to our readers in the Commonwealth and our extended community all over the nation and the world.
In honor of National Reading Month, which celebrates and accelerates children’s interest in reading, writing, and literacy, we are sharing a few of the influential reading programs and independent booksellers in our Lexington community.
After you’ve reviewed our list, we’d like to hear from you! So whether you’re from the Bluegrass or another region, share with us via Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter some of your favorite reading programs and/or people who have cultivated your love of books. Use the hashtag #UPKreads to share your post with us!
New to the community but already a literary hub, Brier Books is focused on bringing the community and reading together. They have hosted a number of events including, book clubs, poetry workshops, and author nights. As they have said themselves, They are going “back to the basics, the words & stories we’ve
always loved, and we want you to share your favorites—
yours or someone else’s—we want you here,
with us, helping us create this brier bookshop/
story swap/community gathering space
“Empowering people to explore and express their voices through imaginative learning and the literary arts.” Are you a writer, artist, or some form of a creative enthusiast? Then this center may be for you! This center offers an array of classes, from how to write poetry, edit your own work, as well as poetry readings and tutoring sessions for kids of all ages. Whether you are a novice or an unparalleled professional, the Carnegie Center will help build the skills you need in order to write your next inspirational novel! One of the many things this center does well is hosting the Annual Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame! Many of our authors have been apart of this award.
If you would like to be more involved in your community, this is a great way to learn through volunteering. Each program caters to a variety of needs and gives flexibility to those looking to get more involved with Fayette County and their local library. Become a volunteer or sign up to be paired with a volunteer. If you are homebound adult or in a nursing home, consider signing up for a Book Buddie. Foreign Languages & ESL learners program is a wonderful way for those who struggle with the English language and want a safe community in which practice adult literacy. If your hear is towards the children in your community, consider signing up to become a Storytime Bus driver!
“READ out loud with a child, READ to the child, and LISTEN to the child read.” This organization is focused on cultivating a love of literature in children. Focused primarily on immediate community, this organization is committed to equipping leaders in Kentucky to inspire children to have adventures and pursue their dreams of success.
What better place for reading and community than a local neighborhood coffee shop? UPK author Crystal Wilkinson and her partner Ron Davis are owners of this unique coffee house and bookstore in downtown Lexington. They host open mic nights, seminars, author signings, and many other events. To learn about their upcoming events, visit their Facebook page. This coffee shop promotes diversity, culture, empowerment, coffee, and reading! It is a one-of-a-kind kind of place.