The Big Read ends

Local librarian calls event an inspiration

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This year’s Big Read, which focused on the Holocaust, was called a success by local libraries that got involved.

Several libraries within the Mid-Hudson Library System held events during the Big Read, from Oct. 20 to Nov. 17, including film screenings, book discussions, craft workshops, and a 75th anniversary community commemoration of Kristallnacht.

Gregory Callahan, director of the Hyde Park Free Library, told The Observer, “There was a certain level of excitement despite the somber theme.”

He added that the Big Read inspired much creativity on the library’s part to prepare appropriate programming to fit the theme.

Hyde Park libraries contributed film screenings, dramatic readings and knitting groups, arranged a bus trip to the Jewish Museum of New York, and gathered book groups for discussions on Cynthia Ozick’s “The Shawl,” the 1989 prize-winning novella about a woman in a Nazi death camp and the family 40 years later.

At the Staatsburg Library, voice actor Angela Henry did a reading of “The Shawl” on Nov. 8. Following that, the library held its Library Purl Jammers gathering Nov. 16, where they knitted shawls to be donated locally.

Callahan said he was “impressed by the variety of events” and the cooperation of other libraries within the Mid-Hudson Library System.

Callahan also added that he has been in talks to develop a community Big Read specifically for Hyde Park, perhaps on a slightly smaller scale but with a larger variance in themed events at the Hyde Park libraries.

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