Library Common Read offers lectures, speaker sessions

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The Common Read will host events throughout the semester.

By Rocky Garza Jr.

Lee LeBlanc, director of library and technology services, doesn’t see the Library Common Read as an initiative that only brings people together to read a book and sit in a circle discussing their favorite authors.


LeBlanc said the common read allows the campus community share similar experiences and reap the benefits reading provides.

The two year program, created by Sobia Kahn, dean of academic success, has gradually grown since fall 2020, but LeBlanc said the goal is to increase turnout.

“We want to keep growing the program, educate our students that reading is great for your health,” LeBlanc said. “It’s like when you go to the gym, you reap the benefits if you go consistently and post-workout, your mind and body start changing. With reading, you learn how impactful your mind is affected and gaining that knowledge helps you long-term.

LeBlanc said, besides promoting reading on the campus, they hope someday they partner with local bookshops and the community to offer reading services for everyone. He understands that reading may not be liked by some but wants everyone to realize how much can be read in a day without you realizing it.

“Whether it is your social media feed, your H-E-B receipts or text messages, you’re constantly processing information and reading something,” LeBlanc said.

This semester, the book for the common read program is “The War for Kindness” by Jamil Zaki. The theme is empathy.

So far, 280 books have been distributed. There are still copies available in-person or via curbside services at this college’s library.

Common Read events will be throughout the semester, including discussions on the book. The first event is 3:05-4 p.m. today via Zoom.

To register, visit

Derived from the book, participants will be given empathy challenges at the events, have an opportunity to meet the author, enter art contests and have a chance to win prizes ranging from $100 to $300, and earn an empathy badge.

For those unfamiliar with the empathy badge, it is an earned digital badge that serves as a micro-credential on Alamo Colleges resumes. Rolled out in May, the program is designed to provide students skills they will need in their careers.

Digital badges can be earned through a completion of a micro-course or within a college-accredited course. Once completed, it showcases skills to others.

Other digital badges this college offers to students include communication, critical thinking, empirical and quantitative skills, teamwork, personal and social responsibility, performance and leadership.

To learn more, visit

For more information on the common read events, visit


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