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Everyone Invited to Join The Big Read

H.G. Wells, author of “War of the Worlds” and other science fiction classics, warned that “human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”  The Big Read is a program that hopes to head off the latter by emphasizing the former—and doing it in a pleasurable way.

“The Big Read” was developed in response to a 2004 report from the National Education Association indicating a critical drop in American adults who read just for the fun of it. The National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and in cooperation with Arts Midwest, found a way to get entire communities excited about reading.  Other community reading programs exist, but after only three years The Big Read is the largest of them all.

And now The Big Read comes to central Oklahoma in a series of October programs and events produced by Rose State College and the Metropolitan Library System.  Sharon Saulmon, Director of the Rose State Learning Resources Center/Library and former Chair of the MLS Library Commission, chose as this year’s Big Read Ray Bradbury’s celebrated science fiction classic “Fahrenheit 451.”

  “Dr. Terry Britton, RSC President, will officially kick-off our Big Read month on Thursday, October 2 at 10:30 a.m. in the Rose State Humanities Building,” Saulmon said.   “We’ll be  distributing free copies of the book on a first-come first-served basis while quantities last.  The Rose State distribution point will be in between the Social Sciences and Humanities buildings on Thursday, October 2, at 10:40 am. Local firemen will be there to distribute the books, as well as Readers’ Guides and CDs.”

Why firemen?

“Fahrenheit 451” is a dystopian tale of a time in the near future when citizens are made apathetic by government issued drugs and endless televised propaganda.  Education is thoroughly discouraged and “firemen” of the future are so called because they set fires, not put them out.  Their job is to burn books and those who read them.

Originally published in 1953, the book has been called “more relevant than ever a half-century later.  ‘Fahrenheit 451’ has achieved the rare distinction of being both a literary classic and a perennial best seller.”

But while the book’s themes are serious, the events Rose State and the Metropolitan Library System have planned are fun and highly imaginative.

“The Big Read is an amazing opportunity for Oklahoma City to explore one of the great works of literature,” said Emily Williams, MLS’ Big Read events coordinator. “The library is hosting all kinds of fun Big Read programs in October to help bring people together as a community, and to encourage them to share ideas.  The Metropolitan Library System also has the movie version of ‘Fahrenheit 451’ people can check out, and we have an audio book version as well so you can listen to it in your car.”

For more information about all the local Big Read events, and about the Big Read concept, check out The Big Read website at www.neabigread.org/ 

Schedule of Big Read Events 

Sunday, September 28 – Wednesday, October 15
Ray Bradbury Exhibit and Bibliography
Location: Rose State College Learning Resources Center, Midwest City, Oklahoma 73110

An exhibit of banned books will be on display, along with an exhibit on Ray Bradbury’s works, biographical information and criticism of his works.  A bibliography will be available for distribution.

Wednesday, October 1 – Wednesday, October 15
Big Read Art and Essay Contest
Location: Warr Acres Library, 5901 NW 63rd, Warr Acres, Oklahoma 73132

For Teens 12-17

Students are invited to participate.  Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” is the theme of this year’s contest.  Pick up an entry form at Warr Acres Library’s Reference Desk.  Entries must be submitted by October 15, 2008, at 9:00pm.

Thursday, October 2
10:30 am "Fahrenheit 451" Kick-Off Event
Location: Rose State College Humanities Building, Midwest City, OK 73110

10:40 am Firemen arrive and begin distribution of books, Reader’s Guides and CDs to  students and those entering and leaving the building on a first come, first served basis.

10:45 am Everyone welcomed everyone, overviews Big Read activities on campus

10:50 am Dr. Terry Britton introduces the book, “Fahrenheit 451”

11:00 am Continue distributing books – coffee available  

6:00 pm
"Fahrenheit 451" Book Discussion
Location: Choctaw Library, 2525 Muzzy Street, Choctaw, Oklahoma 73020
7:00 pm
"Fahrenheit 451" Book Discussion
Location: Bethany Library, 3510 N. Mueller, Bethany, OK 73008

Saturday, October 4

9:00 am
Banned Books Week Book Giveaway
Location: Belle Isle Library, 5501 N. Villa, Oklahoma City, OK 73112

Come and get your copy of “Fahrenheit 451” in celebration of Banned Books Week and The Big Read!  Books are available while supplies last.

10:00 am
Choctaw Pageturner's Club Book Discussion
Location: Choctaw Library, Choctaw, OK 73020

Tuesday, October 14

10:00 am
Firefighter Visit
Location: Choctaw Library, Choctaw, OK 73020

Kids, come see a fire truck and meet real firefighters from the Choctaw Fire Department at the library.

10:00 am

Censorship Today

Location: Oklahoma City Community College – College Union


Wednesday, October 15

12:30 pm
"Fahrenheit 451" Book Discussion
Location: Rose State College Learning Resources Center, Midwest City, OK 73110


6:00 pm
"Fahrenheit 451": The Movie
Location: Downtown Library, 300 Park Avenue, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102


Thursday, October 16

7:00 pm
"Fahrenheit 451" Book Discussion and Prizes Awarded for Essay Contest
Location: Warr Acres Library, 5901 NW 63rd, Warr Acres, OK 73132

Saturday, October 18

1:00 pm
"Fahrenheit 451" Movie Screening and Book Discussion
Location: Edmond Library, 10 S. Boulevard, Edmond, Oklahoma 73034

Monday, October 20

7:30 am
Altered Books Exhibit
Location: Rose State College, Midwest City, OK 73110

An Altered Books Exhibit by area high school art students will be on display at the Rose State College Learning Resources Center.
3:00 pm
"Fahrenheit 451" Book Discussion
Location: Village Library, 10307 N. Pennsylvania, The Village, OK 73120


Tuesday, October 21

7:30 am
Altered Books Exhibit
Location: Rose State College, Midwest City, OK 73110

Wednesday, October 22

7:30 am
Altered Books Exhibit
Location: Rose State College, Midwest City, OK 73110


Thursday, October 23

7:30 am
Altered Books Exhibit
Location: Rose State College, Midwest City, OK 73110
7:30 pm
"Fahrenheit 451" Reader's Theatre
Location: Rose State College H. B. Atkinson Theatre, Midwest City, OK 73110

Rose State College drama students and the community theatre troupe will perform the reader’s theatre version of “Fahrenheit 451.”

The Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County includes 12 libraries and five extension libraries.  Libraries include Belle Isle, Capitol Hill, Ralph Ellison, Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library and Southern Oaks in Oklahoma City, as well as Bethany, Choctaw, Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Village and Warr Acres.  Extensions are located in the communities of Harrah, Jones, Luther and Nicoma Park and include Wright Library in Oklahoma City.  You can also reach us at www.metrolibrary.org