Story by Erin Gutzwiller
Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County are among the 127 communities that are participating in the Big Read in the month of March.
The idea of the Big Read is to commit children, adults and teen-agers to read for pleasure and gain interest in American culture and its literature. According to the Census Bureau in a 2002 survey entitled Reading at Risk, less than half of adults read literature. College graduates’ reading levels have decreased by 15.4 percent, and among the steepest decline of reading done is the ages between 18- 24. The Big Read aims at fixing these statistics and encouraging both children and adults to read more.
The featured book in March is the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird. Published in 1960, this fiction book deals with class difference, racial inequality and issues that hit the core of the Deep South. Libraries and school systems in Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County are participating in the Big Read, as well as Stone Soup Books in Downtown Waynesboro.
The Waynesboro Library will be hosting events that correspond with the featured book for the Big Read. The Book Club will hold discussion about To Kill a Mockingbird on March 19 at noon and 7 p.m. Nick Patler, the author of the Jim Crow and the Wilson Administration, will speak on the banning of the book on March 26 at 7 p.m.
The Big Read is a partner with the Institute of Museum Library Service and is granted by the National Endowment for the Arts. Community members are encouraged to participate in the Big Read and read for fun.
Erin Gutzwiller is an Augusta Free Press intern.