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Celebrate National Library Week and the Big Read with the Library

We're celebrating National Library Week beginning today, and this year’s national theme, "You belong @ your library," applies to every week, especially this one.

Why? Because programs in the next seven days will feature nationally known author Bruce Hale, birds of prey, free computer skills classes, storytimes for little tykes, a genealogy workshop, book discussions, tax assistance, a forensic science lesson and a festival on Commercial Street. We’ve got something for every age and interest.

We celebrate the week annually to remind everyone how libraries help transform lives – they’re technology hubs with computers, e-books and job-search databases; they’re home to traditional resources and great entertainment – like our upcoming programs.

Kids and adults are in for a treat when children’s book author Bruce Hale takes the stage at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Library Center. Hale, author and illustrator of the popular Chet Gecko Mysteries and more than 25 books for kids, will weave storytelling and a cartooning lesson into his presentation, "Dream Big: The Story Behind the Storyteller."

The story is that Hale was a terror of a kid who hated books until "The Day the TV Died" and his parents began reading to him. It took several, but when he heard "Tarzan of the Apes," he was hooked.

"I believe that all it takes to create a reader is the right book," Hale says. "For reluctant readers, it's important to find stories that grab their interest and are easy enough to read. Series books, funny books, and books with lots of action are particularly effective."

His visit is part of the month-long Big Read celebration, and courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, and the Friends of the Library.

The Big Read is going community wide. From 3-10:30 p.m. on Saturday, the art and business community of Historic C-Street, Commercial Street, will conduct a street festival, "Big Read on Street: The Maltese Falcon." Venues will offer music, art activities, discounts for library card holders, a fashion show, scavenger hunt, trivia contest and more, all based on the theme of the Big Read title, "The Maltese Falcon."

For details about all of the events planned this week, pick up a Bookends catalog, or go online to thelibrary.org/bigread.

Kathleen O’Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at kathleeno@thelibrary.org.

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