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Identity & Community

Reading Day In Pittsburgh

Reading will be celebrated at the Carnegie Library in Oakland Tuesday October 7th as the Community College of Allegheny County joins forces with local libraries, high schools and correctional institutions to promote literacy in our county through its program The Big Read in Pittsburgh.

“Literature is transformative by its very nature, but to have different people and races connect with a novel, it allows them to ignite a love of reading through engaging activities,” said Barbara Evans, Big Read Project Director at CCAC. 

Throughout October students at CCAC and Allegheny County high schools will read Fahrenheit 451 and participate in poetry, essay and art competitions. CCAC administrators will hold book discussions and film screenings among inmates at the State Correctional Institution in Pittsburgh, and with residents at Shuman Juvenile Detention Center.

Fahrenheit 451 written by Ray Bradbury published in 1953 remains a classic for its frightening depiction of censorship within a community.

“When you see in those different areas how they respond to the novel and make personal connections to the theme in the book, you really get a sense that a book is a powerful tool that people can use to reflect on their lives,” Evans said.

Jonathan R. Eller, director of the Indianapolis Center for Ray Bradbury, will be the keynote speaker. Students from CCAC will do a dance presentation, and Sounds of Steel will perform.

The project was made possible through a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. CCAC was the only organization in Pennsylvania to receive one of the 77 grants.

“It’s been wonderful to see with the $15,000, how far it reaches,” Evans said. “We’ve distributed about 1,400 books. It really goes a long way.”

Last year CCAC had 2,500 participants outside of the college community.