‘Big Read’ finale cheers reading with novel fun

Skyler Jones

November 1, 2013

LAURINBURG — A big push to spark the love of reading in Scotland County’s young people and adults ended Friday with an arts-and-crafts and discussion session at the county’s public library, sponsored in part by the Storytelling & Arts Center of the Southeast.

The month-long “Big Read,” a program of The National Endowment of the Arts, culminated with a celebration of the novel “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury.

“We have enjoyed bringing this one book to the community,” said Jennifer McRae, the center’s director. “We hope it brings about a discussion about books, free thinking and literature.”

A grant from the endowment landed 600 copies of the novel in Laurinburg, to be distributed throughout the month at events held at the center, at local book clubs and from the front desk of the library. The novel soon will be available in Scotland High School and Scotland Place Senior Center.

McRae helped children create their own books, draw characters from their favorite books, and do a unique project called rock stories. Smores and other kid-friendly treats were up for grabs alongside copies of the novel, which is about censorship and a world without books and ultimately illustrates the importance of independent thought.

“It gives the community an opportunity to read a book that is science fiction in nature but really political satire about what’s going on in the world,” said Leon Gyles, director of the Scotland County Memorial Library.

“If you lived in an environment where the government was the only source of information, period — where you couldn’t be a free thinker and anything that allowed you to be a free thinker, like a book, was taken away, would you really want to live in the world?”

For information about The Big Read, visit

Skyler Jones works for Civitas Media as an intern for The Laurinburg Exchange.