In 1990, R.E.M. were featured on a poster for the American Library Association’s READ campaign to promote the pleasure and importance of reading—and it became an instant collector’s item for anyone lucky enough to get one. The READ poster campaign gave Bill, Peter, Mike, and Michael a chance to promote their love of reading and to share some of their favorite books and authors with the public. It’s a beloved image from along the way, now 30 years ago.
Whether home in Athens or out on tour, we were always excited to hear from friends and fans that the poster was hanging in their public library, community center, local bookstore or in a classroom where their children attended school.
Now, with permission from the American Library Association (ALA) and Tom Hill, the photographer who took the classic photo of Berry, Buck, Mills, and Stipe, the original image will be used for a 1,000-piece READ puzzle, manufactured by the Athens-based Very Good Puzzle Company.
All R.E.M. proceeds from the sale of the puzzle will benefit the ALA and Books for Keeps, an Athens, GA-based grassroots effort to get books into the hands of children who might not otherwise have books at home.
“The American Library Association (ALA) is thrilled with R.E.M.’s continued support of libraries and literacy,” said ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. “Thirty years ago, ALA published R.E.M.’s celebrity READ poster—now a collector’s item—and we’re delighted with how they’re giving it new life. The proceeds they’re donating to us will help support ALA’s mission, including providing youth with reading materials that transform lives and minds.”
“It’s a thrill to be allied with one of Athens’ most storied musical acts and stalwart supporters of public education–and to work with another Athens standout, the Very Good Puzzle Company, in the process,” said Leslie Hale, Books for Keeps Executive Director. “We’re overjoyed that the purchase of something as simple as a puzzle will support students’ access to books, another time-honored way of passing the hours at home whether you’re waiting out a rainy day or a pandemic.”
The puzzle retails for $30 and will be available exclusively in the band’s online store at REMHQ.com. We are accepting pre-orders now and expect to have puzzles ready to ship in time for the holidays. Be sure to do it soon to avoid disappointment later.
About the American Library Association
American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.
About Books for Keeps
Since 2009, Books for Keeps has given more than half a million books to children from low-income families in grades Pre-K through 12. For 10 months of the year, we collect, inspect, sort, and box books, only to give them all away each spring. Books we can’t use are sold at our annual BFK Sale each August. For more information, visit http://booksforkeeps.org/.
About The Very Good Puzzle Company
Our puzzles are printed with soy-based inks and made with recycled cardboard. Our durable, double-thick chip board results in fully interlocking pieces and assure that you’re putting together the best quality puzzle available. More verygoodpuzzle.com