The Big Read


What is the Big Read?

This fall, the Olathe Public Library, along with other Kansas City-area libraries, is presenting The Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Showcasing a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery. Learn more at The 2017 Big Read selection is The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.

What is The Things They Carried about?

This semi-autobiographical book traces the tour of one American platoon during the Vietnam War. Considered one of the finest novels on the subject, it is not just a chronicle of the war. The award-winning novel is far from a combat story of pride and glory; it is a compassionate tale of the American soldier, brimming with raw honesty and thoughtful reflection.

How do I get a copy of The Things They Carried?

The Things They Carried will be available from the library in print, eBook, audiobook, and large print formats. A limited number of complimentary books will be available starting September 17 at the Kick-Off at Indian Creek from 4 pm to 9 pm. Extra copies will be available at both locations beginning September 18. 

What other ways can I participate in the Big Read?  

  • Attend an event or activity at the Olathe Public Library or any of our partner locations. Browse Olathe events in our digital catalog below or discover activities throughout greater Kansas City at

  • Watch the PBS documentary series, The Vietnam War. The 10-part, 18-hour series, directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, premieres September 17 on KCPT - Kansas City Public Television. 
  • Engage on social media. Connect with participating KC-area libraries on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. Join other readers and share your Big Read KC experiences by tagging your posts with #bigreadkc. You can also follow the latest updates on the Big Read KC Facebook Group.  
  • Share your story with the "Vietnam Voices" KCPT Storybooth. The Olathe Public Library is partnering with KCPT to collect and share stories exploring local perspectives on the war. Share your stories, experiences and thoughts about the Vietnam War at Indian Creek between October 24 - November 6. Selections from the booth will be made available at  



   Local resident's Vietnam story

Olathe Resident Thuy is one of many who came to a new life during the turbulent decades of the Vietnam war. In a special interview with the Olathe Public Library, Thuy shares her story of growing up in Saigon, her journey to America and new life as a business owner. Watch Thuy’s story below.