The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri

Celebrate The Big Read and Edgar Allan Poe with the Library in April

A raven has landed on the Mayor of Springfield.

KY3 weatherman Brandon Beck is engrossed in a gross tale. Mother’s Brewing Co.’s Jeff Shrag is hatching a dastardly plot with Edgar Allan Poe. The Art Museum director is in on it, too. So are a popular banker and a certain songstress.

Now you’ve got a picture of the zany fun the Library has launched for the annual Big Read, a one book, one community celebration April 1-30. This year we’re encouraging everyone to read the “Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe.” They’re stories to enjoy alone or with the family – one goal of this national literacy effort. It’s a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest; Friends of the Library gave us additional support.

What about the Mayor and the others? All good sports, they agreed to pose with a life-size Poe cutout and some Halloween props to help promote the Big Read and encourage others to get involved. Watch for their photo posters around the community in April.

The Big Read combines serious study of Poe’s works in book discussions with livelier fare -- a Poe impersonator on April 13, a Poe trivia contest on April 25 and an April 30 visit from Margaret Stohl, co-author of the book and now a movie, “Beautiful Creatures.” Free tickets to her talk at the Springfield Art Museum will be available Wednesday at all library branches.

The celebration kicks into high gear on Friday at two downtown Springfield events. For those 21 and over, Mother’s Brewing Co., 215 S. Grant Ave., will tap a special Poe-inspired first brew at 6 p.m. and share it in the tasting room, free.

Also at 6 p.m. at the Park Central Branch, all ages can watch Victory Trade School teams compete in the annual Iron Chef Cook-off. At 7 p.m., bakers decorating cakes with Poe themes will compete in the annual Edible Books Festival. Everyone votes, we crown a winner and we all eat cake.

On Saturday, it’s Ghostly Stories for Grown-ups at 1 p.m. at the Midtown Carnegie Branch; 4 p.m. at the Strafford Branch and 7 p.m. at the Library Center.

See the full schedule at, or in the Bookends catalog.

Kathleen O'Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at

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