Our Common Reading Program

Macalester College welcomes new students to its engaged community of learners through MacReads: Our Common Reading Program. Reading and sharing ideas with others is central to the college learning experience. Through the MacReads program we introduce you to this process and some of our shared values: critical engagement with ideas, dialogue with members of the Macalester community, internationalism, and reflection on what it means to be an active, responsible global citizen.

We seek to engage incoming first year students by providing each student with a copy of a book selected each year and through that selection:

  • provide a common intellectual experience
  • instruction on how to analyze texts and engage in critical thinking
  • provide a common source for building the library/ITS instruction sessions required for all first-year courses
  • build a sense of community and connection to Macalester.

MacReads is Macalester's common reading program is focused on our first year students, but we invite the entire Macalester community to join and engage in a discussion about a selected title. During orientation there will be events related to the book. More information will be posted as dates and times become available.

Book Selection

The MacReads Selection Committee choses the common reading for each academic year based on the theme selected for the annual International Roundtable. The committee includes representatives from Academic Programs, Alumni Relations, the Dean of Students office, Campus Programs, the Dewitt Wallace Library,and the Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching.

Criteria for the selection includes:

  • Critical Thinking - to be intellectually stimulating, stretch students' minds, encourage students to think about issues they might not have before
  • Style - enjoyable, engaging, reasonable length, with an accessible writing style.
  • Content - addresses a theme/topic that can be made applicable to a wide range of students and invoke interesting discussion.
  • Relevance - relevant to first-year students, the institutional mission and values, campus initiatives, the current society, and/or the local community.

More about the selection committee

History of the Program

MacReads was reintroduced in 2010 and is co-sponsored by the DeWitt Wallace Library and Academic Programs. It is a collaborative project that involves members from Academic Programs, Student Affairs, the Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching, the Alumni Office, Campus Programs, SAC (Staff Advisory Council), and a student representative from MCSG. Our goal is to select a title each year that will connect new students to their new community at Macalester College.
View list of past book selections