Urging people to take a look, in a book, the annual UCSB Reads program is offering 2,000 free copies of Pietra Rivoli’s The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy, which are available today in the lobby of Davidson Library.

Founded last year, UCSB Reads distributes copies of a book selected for its relevance to research and academic pursuits at UCSB. A series of conversations on the material will ensue in the following weeks at Davidson and other libraries in the area. These free events are open for public discussion of the book with professors and other scholars of the topic.

In addition to these events, UCSB Arts & Lectures will sponsor a free lecture from the book’s author, Pietra Rivoli, which will take place in Campbell Hall on March 5.

Through this year’s theme, “Globalization and World Citizenship,” Rivoli’s book focuses on the global industry’s production of America’s consumer goods as explored through “the story of the people, politics and markets that created my cotton T-shirt.”

Sociology and global & international studies professor Dr. Richard Appelbaum said he feels that the book illuminates the obscure path consumer goods take on their way to the U.S.

“I think this book is a good choice because it forces us to look at where the goods we use come from,” Appelbaum said. “It forces us to look at the global supply chain and see that the our goods come from all over [the world].”

Speakers at the kick-off ceremony on Jan. 11, including Chancellor Henry T. Yang and Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas, lauded the program not only for its capacity to engage its participants intellectually on the subject of globalization, but also for the spirit of communication it fosters.

“We want it to become a true community event,” Chancellor Yang said.

This year, UCSB Reads is holding a T-shirt drive that will take place in the Davidson Library lobby. Art Dept. Chair Kim Yasuda’s undergraduate classes will use the clean, donated T-shirts for a project inspired by the book’s themes. Any unused T-shirts are donated to charity.

While there are similar programs at other universities, Davidson Library Director of Development and Outreach Kimberly Thompson said UCSB Reads is unique in that the Davidson Library spearheaded its creation.

“The library is central to an academic research university,” Thompson said. “We wanted to have a program that involved the entire university.”

Thompson also said that in response to this program, the American Library Association is awarding the UCSB Reads program the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award.

The 2,000 copies of the book, as well as the other activities in the UCSB Reads program, are sponsored by Patagonia – the clothing company – the Santa Barbara Public Library and the executive vice chancellor’s office.