The Kansas City Public Library is bringing back The Big Read this year, and you needn’t plunk down cash to buy in. You can download e-book versions of this year’s selection, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain from the Library’s website to keep and use on your e-reader free of charge.
For the fourth year, the Library has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help fund a series of public programs to get everyone reading and talking about the same book. This year’s Big Read selection hits closer to home than ever before.
In fact, it’s going to be hard to escape the sounds of Sawyer this fall in Kansas City. One of the first productions in the brand-new, gush-worthy Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts  will be the world premiere of Tom Sawyer – A Ballet in Three Acts, performed by Kansas City Ballet . As a special treat for our community of readers, the Library is partnering with KC Ballet to bring patrons a preview of the production, featuring Tony-winning composer Maury Yeston. Other Big Read events – including a visit from Autobiography of Mark Twain Vol. 1  editor Robert Hirst – will be announced soon.
Though the Big Read doesn’t officially begin until September 2011, you can get an early start on reading by firing up your Nook, Kindle, tablet PC, or smartphone and equipping it with a public domain e-book version of the Mark Twain classic.
Instructions: Search by title and click the Download button (look for the full-length version). You will be asked to either save the file or open it in a program. If you’ve used our downloadable e-books collection before, you can open the e-book in Adobe Digital Editions, then transfer it to your e-reader. (Download the software here .) This e-book is yours to keep – and it even has illustrations.
If you’re a Kindle user, our e-books collection won’t work with your e-reader, but sites such as Project Gutenberg and ManyBooks offer Kindle versions of the e-book. Download a Kindle-compatible copy of Tom Sawyer from ManyBooks .
And stay tuned for opportunities to participate in community discussions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer at the Library and online. Be sure to follow us on Twitter  and like us on Facebook  to stay on top of the latest news.
More about the Big Read: The Big Read  is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. Support for The Big Read has been provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the Boeing Company, the Poetry Foundation, and the Ford Motor Company. Additional support for The Big Read in Kansas City comes from the Kauffman Foundation.