The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Reading Between the Lines: A Q&A with Dyer Library/Saco Museum

Saco, ME

Children playing a game of marbles, circa 1891. Image courtesy of the Stereograph Collection, Library of Congress, cph 3b09472

As summer begins and the 2010-2011 Big Read comes to a close, we have one last Big Read program taking place at Maine?s Dyer Library and Saco Museum. Drawing inspiration from Mark Twain?s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the Saco Museum transformed one of their period rooms into a 19th-century children?s playroom with children?s toys, furniture, and paintings from 1750-1950. The opening of this exhibit kicked off a month of activities, including a community-wide scavenger hunt, panel discussions with Twain scholars, and, of course, whitewashing a fence that everyone in the community signed at the start of their program. Saco?s Big Read will continue through the end of June, but Leslie Rounds, Executive Director of Dyer Library/Saco Museum gave us an update on her experiences so far.

NEA: This is the first year Dyer Library/Saco Museum has participated in The Big Read. What drew you to the program?

LESLIE ROUNDS: It seemed like a fun program, and after reading about some of the events used by libraries down east in Maine last year to promote The Call of the Wild, we decided to give applying a try.

NEA: Why did you choose The Adventures of Tom Sawyer?

ROUNDS: Many of the works on the list seemed like rather dense reads for the target audience of young lapsed readers. The Dyer Library/Saco Museum is surrounded by schools. We thought that Tom Sawyer was a work that would be an easy ?sell? for the schools (as it turned out to be) and that it would not only match well with our museum collections, and resonate with many different types of readers, but would also lend itself to a variety of different types of programs.

NEA: What Big Read event are you most looking forward to?

ROUNDS: I?m personally most excited by two: an informational tour of a large, park-like local cemetery, called Tragedy in the Graveyard, and A Pirate Bold to Be Cardboard Boat Race, where participants have to build boats out of cardboard and try to paddle a short distance down the rather chilly Saco River. Doing the work to prepare for the cemetery tour has been incredibly instructive. The boat race remains a murky uncertainty that has kept me awake at night many, many times. Will people come? Will the boats float? Which of many complicated details have we forgotten?

NEA: What has been your community?s reaction to The Big Read?

ROUNDS: Mixed. Great enthusiasm from some; total lack of interest from others. We?ve tried to create programs that will reach different groups. Hopefully, we have succeeded!

NEA: Any last words?

ROUNDS: Ask me on June 30!

As Leslie Rounds said, Dyer Library/Saco Museum?s Big Read continues through the end of June. For more information, visit their website. To learn more about The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, visit The Big Read website.

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