For immediate release | October 9, 2020

Iconic R.E.M. READ® poster becomes a puzzle to support literacy and U.S. libraries

ATHENS, Ga. - In 1990, R.E.M. posed for the American Library Association's READ campaign to promote the pleasure and importance of reading—and it became an instant collector's item. The READ poster campaign gave indie rock artists Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe a chance to promote their love of reading and to share some of their favorite books and authors with the public. This iconic image, taken over 30 years ago, will now be available in puzzle form to R.E.M. fans and a new generation of readers.

“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,” said R.E.M.

The American Library Association (ALA) and Photographer Tom Hill have permitted R.E.M. to re-release the image as a 1,000-piece READ puzzle, soon to be manufactured by the Athens, Georgia, based Very Good Puzzle Company just in time for festive family gatherings.

All R.E.M. proceeds from the sale of the puzzle will benefit the ALA and Books for Keeps, an Athens, Georgia, based grassroots effort to get books into the hands of children who might not otherwise have books at home.

Multiple studies show that the amount of time children spend reading out of school is linked to strong literacy skills. Access to books and magazines is directly related to higher academic achievement and lifelong learning.

“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.”

The puzzle retails for $30 and will be available exclusively in the band's online store at Fans may pre-order now with orders to ship shortly before the holidays.

"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."

To learn more about R.E.M. and their efforts to advocate for literacy, please visit

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

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

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 at

Related Links

R.E.M. HQ .com


Macey Morales

Deputy Director

Communications and Marketing Office