One Town, One Read is a generic name for a community-wide reading program that attempts to get everyone in a town or a city to read and discuss the same book. These programs take the idea of a localized book discussion club and expand it to cover a whole town or city. Typical activities for OTOR programs include book discussion sessions, scholarly lectures on the book or related topics, a visit by the author, exhibits, and related arts programming.
The first OTOR program in the U.S. was “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book” in 1998, started by Nancy Pearl at Seattle Public Library’s Washington Center for the Book. Other cities copied the idea, and the Library of Congress now lists hundreds of programs around the country each year. The Center for the Book at the Library of Congress tracks all known One Town One Read programs and the books they have used.