Good, evil and tolerance will be discussed during an upcoming community reading event.
The Waupaca Area Public Library is sponsoring “Waupaca Reads Mockingbird” this fall.
Area residents, summer visitors and book club members are asked to add Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” to their reading list this fall.
Then, they are invited to attend any or all of the themed events being held from Aug. 22 to Oct. 2.
Library Director Peg Burington explained why this book was chosen for the community reading event.
“We wanted to bring the community together by providing an opportunity for everyone to read the same book, talk about it in different settings and view the film based on the book. We hope that people will reconnect with the classic they may have read in high school or read it for the very first time,” she said.
Burington said the universal themes in “To Kill a Mockingbird” address the good and evil that exist in society, and the book examines the idea of tolerance.
Lee writes, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
That is a good lesson for everyone, Burington said.
“While the book was written over 50 years ago, the story has stood the test of time. It gives us a glimpse of what life was like in a small southern town during the Great Depression, when racial inequality was a way of life,” she said.
The community read event also coincides with Banned Books Week, a week when people celebrate the freedom to read and access information in a democratic society, she said.
This year, Banned Books Week is Sept. 21-27.
“Harper Lee’s book has been challenged for racial slurs, language and adult themes. The American Library Association reports that ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is one of the most challenged classics of all time and still ranks at No. 21 of the 100 most frequently challenged books of 2000–2009,” Burington said.
It has been several years since the library sponsored a community read event.
The last time was in 2010 when community members were encouraged to read “Paper Towns” by John Green.
Green was among the authors who participated in Waupaca’s first book festival in October of that year.
In preparation for this year’s community reading event, the library purchased 20 new copies of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and also borrowed 40 copies from Waupaca High School. The book is available through Infosoup.
Book discussions and two showings of the film are planned as part of the event.
The first showing of the film will be an outdoor one, at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at South Park.
The second showing will be at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, at the library.
Burington said Dr. Jack Rhodes will comment on why the film ranks 25 on the American Film Institute’s 10th anniversary list of the greatest American movies of all time.
The Oct. 2 showing will be part of the library’s First Thursday Film Series. There will be free popcorn and refreshments.
A variety of book discussions are also scheduled.
A Book to Art Discussion will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at the library.
Burington said participants will be engaged in discussing the book while working on an art project.
There will also be a coffeehouse discussion about the book at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, at Rhythm & Brews and a potluck book discussion at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, at the library.
“We’re also encouraging book groups to host their own discussions,” Burington said.