About Us


The Great Books Foundation is an independent, nonprofit educational organization whose mission is to empower readers of all ages to become more reflective and responsible thinkers. To accomplish this, we teach the art of civil discourse through the Shared Inquiry™ method and publish enduring works across the disciplines.

The Great Books Foundation was established in 1947 to promote the reading and discussion of great literature by the general public. In 1962 the Foundation extended its mission to children with the introduction of Junior Great Books. Since its inception, the Foundation has helped hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States and in other countries begin their own discussion groups in schools, libraries, and community centers. Today, Foundation instructors conduct hundreds of professional development courses each year in which educators and parents learn to lead Shared Inquiry discussion as well as a variety of classroom activities that improve students' critical thinking, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and writing skills.

The Great Books Foundation's courses in Shared Inquiry help people get the most from discussion. Participants learn how to read actively, pose fruitful questions, and listen and respond to others effectively in discussion. All participants also practice leading a discussion and have an opportunity to reflect on the process with others. For more information about Great Books materials and course, call1-800-222-5870.

Quick Facts

Founded:

1947 by Mortimer Adler and Robert Maynard Hutchins

Designation:

Independent, nonprofit educational organization, 501(c)(3).

Mission:

To empower readers of all ages to become more reflective and responsible thinkers. To accomplish this, we teach the art of civil discourse through the Shared Inquiry™ method and publish enduring works across the disciplines.

President:

George L. Schueppert

Programs:

  • Great Books Read-Aloud K–1
  • Junior Great Books Series 2
  • Junior Great Books Series 3–5
  • Great Books Roundtable™ (6-8)
  • Introduction to Great Books (9-12)
  • Great Books in college classrooms and continuing education
  • Great Books for book groups

The Great Books Community:

  • More than one million students in Great Books programs each year
  • 35,000 teachers use Great Books in the classroom
  • More than 800 book groups
  • Eleven Great Books councils

Shared Inquiry:

Great Books Foundation Shared Inquiry is a discussion method, a teaching and learning environment, and a way for individuals to achieve a more thorough understanding of a text by discussing questions, responses, and insights with fellow readers.

Alliances:

The Foundation establishes alliances with like-minded organizations, institutions, and corporations. We collaborate on a variety of projects that serve students and teachers from kindergarten through college and adult readers in all walks of life.