Attractive Statesville

Local History Notes

Notes about the history of Iredell County by Joel Reese, Local History Librarian.

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Dec 23

Big Read in 2008

Posted on December 23, 2019 at 4:12 PM by Jenny Levins

One of the few things I miss about being in school is the discussions that were held in class. I especially miss those in which the whole class talked about a book or story that we had all read. Today when I finish reading something I still have that desire to talk about what I have read. The problem of course is there is usually no one around that has read the same book or at least read it recently enough to want to talk about it. I think a lot of readers feel the same way. Just the other day I was having lunch when someone began telling me about an author they liked. I could tell by their enthusiasm how much they enjoyed the books. What if you went out though one day and everyone you saw had just finished or was reading the very same book you were?

That is exactly what we hope will happen in February of 2009 when Iredell County celebrates “The Big Read,” The Iredell Friends of the Library received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to fund Iredell County’s participation in “The Big Read” for Iredell County in 2009. The Harper Lee novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been selected as the book that hopefully all of Iredell County will be reading in February. In an article entitled “The Strange Career of Atticus Finch” that appeared in “Southern Cultures” in the Summer of 2000, critic Joseph Crespino said, “In the twentieth century, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism.”

“The Big Read” is an initiative of the National Endowment of the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest. The goal is to get people to read for both enjoyment and enlightenment. The idea is to have everyone in the county read the same book at the same time. There will a month-long series of programs such as public readings, discussions groups, theatrical presentations, art and writing contests, movie screenings, contests, and displays to help highlight the book and “The Big Read” project. Imagine being able to walk up to anyone in a shopping line or restaurant and say, “Well, what did you think about that book?” and have their eyes immediately light up. 

Several groups are already working with the Iredell County Public Library in preparing for Iredell County’s “The Big Read” event. Among those already signed on to participate are the Iredell Friends of the Library, Harmony Friends of the Library, Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce, Iredell-Statesville Schools, Mitchell Community College, Mooresville Public Library, Statesville Human Relations Commission, and the Statesville Record and Landmark. If you are involved in a group, business, civic organization, or club and would like to participate please contact Peggy Carter at 704-878-3098 or at

In preparation for “The Big Read” event the Iredell Friends of the Library is sponsoring a “To Kill a Mockingbird” bookmark design contest. Middle school, high school, and home-schooled students, grades 6 through 12 are being asked to submit designs for a full color bookmark based on the themes or characters in the novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The winner will have their design and name used on the bookmarks that will be given to those who join the Iredell Friends or renew their membership in 2009 and will also receive a $50.00 cash prize. The deadline is October 15, and the entry forms are available at the Iredell County Public Library. Completed entries can be dropped off at the library or may be mailed to Iredell County Public Library Bookmark Contest, c/o Peggy Carter, P.O. Box 1810, Statesville, N.C. 28677.

September is library card sign up month at the Iredell County Public Library. Your library card is the “smartest card” in your wallet and the one card you carry that really does provide you with free services without leaving you potentially bankrupt. With your library card you can check out books, DVD’s, CD’s, audio books, and other items free of charge saving you money and providing you with both entertainment and knowledge. If you get your first library card during September, or if you bring a friend or family member to the library to get their first card, you will receive a free book from the Friends of the Library book sale. At the Statesville library new card holders will also be eligible to enter a drawing to win a nice gift basket, and kindergarteners who get their first library card will get a free library pencil and a gift card for a free donut. School age children will receive a tie-dyed arm bracelet.

Joel Reese, Local History Librarian

Iredell County Public Library

This article appeared in the Statesville Record and Landmark as “Iredell set to turn pages for The Big Read” on Sept. 24, 2008