Berkeley County Supervisor Dan Davis and the Berkeley County Council will soon proclaim March, 2012 "Berkeley Reads Month". Berkeley County residents will share the joy of reading when "Berkeley Reads" embarks on its fifth annual community reading program. With the year's theme being "Letters," the 2012 selections will have county residents and celebrating the connections that come from written communication via books specially chosen for all ages to enjoy.
The Berkeley Reads program sponsored by the Friends of the Berkeley County Library in conjunction with the Berkeley County Library System and the Berkeley County Schools encourages the community to read one or more of the selected books and to participate in special events and book discussions at the local libraries and schools. Community reading programs foster a love of reading and aid in the fight against illiteracy as people enjoy reading and talking about books together. Programs such as Berkeley Reads also serve to remind us of the vital importance of public libraries in the educational development of our communities. The Berkeley County program is unique because of its strong partnership between the library system and the school district.
The Berkeley Reads inaugural program in 2008 had residents of all ages delighting in Marley and Me; it has since been followed by programs each March with the themes of Mysteries, Pirates and Heroes.
For this year's theme - Letters - the committee has chosen four books for the public to read to promote participation by every age group and to focus on family literacy:
- Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters From Obedience School, by Mark Teague - a fun read aloud for kids up to Grade 3.
- Dear Mr. Henshaw, by Beverly Cleary - Adults will enjoy this book as well, making for some great family reading. For grades 4 -- 6.
- Tales of a Totally Lame Vampire, by Tim Collins - Told in illustrated diary format, the title tells it all! For grades 6 -- 8.
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows -- Set in 1946, an English writer corresponds with the diverse inhabitants of Guernsey, following the Nazi occupation. For ages high school to adult.
All of these selections can be checked out at your local Berkeley County Library Branch or purchased through the Berkeley County Friends of the Library.
Berkeley County Libraries will also have many activities related to this year's focus on letters. The kick off activity will be a talk by Carol Poole about the importance of letters and what they tell us about the life and attitudes of the times. This will take place on March 1 from 6:30 -- 8:00 PM in the Berkeley County Government Assembly Room in Moncks Corner. Other activities at the libraries include calligraphy classes, book discussions, and letter-themed movie showings.
A Million Thanks program will sponsor a session for participants to write letters to American servicemen and women.
The Berkeley County School District also has many letter-themed activities planned for the month, including a competition for students to write letters between authors or characters in books.
For details and a complete schedule of library activities, visit www.bcls.sc.gov.