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Placer County Library to Kickoff 'The Big Read' in April

March 18, 2010

If you haven’t read Ray Bradbury’s novel “Fahrenheit 451,” there isn’t a better time than now. Join other Placer County residents in a mass reading of this famous book in celebration of National Library Week (April 11-17).

During April, all branches of the Placer County Library are sponsoring a community-wide reading project titled “The Big Read – Fahrenheit 451.”

“The idea behind ‘The Big Read’ is to build a series of book discussions and events surrounding a single title to bring a community together,” said Mark Parker, Director of Library Services. “The library chose to feature this book in ‘The Big Read’ project because it focuses so strongly on the importance of books and reading. The book has timeless themes and it appeals to all ages from teens on up.

“For those who have already read ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ this is the perfect opportunity to revisit the book and join in discussions,” Parker added. “Thanks to the grant we received, we have 400 copies of the book at the Auburn library and we can purchase up to 400 more if the demand is there. We are able to purchase them at a discount and can re-sell the extra books at a later date.”

“The Big Read” is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Library and Museum Services through a $7,000 grant.

Many free public events and activities are planned, including a kick-off celebration, a movie screening and numerous book discussion groups. Placer County’s library website,, will be updated regularly with the list of events and activities. The following activities have been confirmed:

The Auburn Branch Library will host a kick-off event, on Sat., April 10, from noon to 3 p.m. District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes and Auburn Branch Manager Terri Pilate will lead a discussion for adults on "Fahrenheit 451.” For young children, Judy Sierra will read “Wild About Books.” There will also be dramatic readings from “Fahrenheit 451” and a class on book care and repair. The Auburn Fire Department will provide fire safety training for children beginning at noon.

Author and noted Bradbury biographer Sam Weller will be the featured keynote speaker at “The Big Read” event scheduled for the Rocklin High School Theater, 5301 Victory Lane, on Sat., April 17 from 4 to 6 p.m. Weller is the author of the “Bradbury Chronicles.” U. C. Davis Professor Jack Hicks and U. C. Merced Professor Jan Goggans will participate in a panel discussion. Entertainment will include dancer Drea Pacot performing a Flamenco Dance to live guitar accompaniment.

Book discussion groups, which are open to the public, will occur at a variety of locations and times:

  • Granite Bay Library book discussion, 6475 Douglas Blvd., on Sat., April 3, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.;
  • Rocklin Library Book Club, 5460 Fifth St. in Rocklin, on Tues., April 6 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and a second group from 5:30 to 7 p.m.;
  • At LaBou in Auburn, 2150 Grass Valley Hwy., Mon., April 12, from 10 to11 a.m.;
  • Paperbacks on Wild Dan’z Pizza’s Pooch-Friendly Patio, 5514 Pacific St., Rocklin, on Thu. April 15, from 2 to 3 p.m.;
  • Peet’s Coffee and Tea at Quarry Ponds, 5550 Douglas Blvd., Granite Bay, on Sun., April 18, from 11 a.m. to noon;
  • Depot Bay Coffee Co. in Auburn, 893 High St., on Tues., April 20, at 2 p.m.;
  • Borders Café in the Borders store, 2030 Douglas Blvd., Roseville, on Wed., April 21, from 6 to 7 p.m.;
  • Applegate Library, 18018 Applegate Rd., on Sat., April 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.;
  • Auburn Library at 350 Nevada St., on Sat. April 24, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.;
  • Meadow Vista Library Book Club, 16981 Placer Hills Rd., Meadow Vista, on Wed. April 28, from 6 to 7 p.m.;
  • Club Maidu at the Maidu Library, 1530 Maidu Dr., Roseville, on Sat., May 1, from 11 a.m. to noon.

Some libraries are also hosting a “Companion Read” at story time for young children, featuring the book “Wild About Books,” by Judy Sierra. Sites include:

  • Meadow Vista Library, 16981 Placer Hills Rd., Ste. B-6, on Tues., April 13, during pre-school story time from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.;
  • Applegate Library, 18018 Applegate Rd., on Wed., April 21, during pre-school story time from 11 a.m. to noon;
  • Rocklin Library, 5460 Fifth St., on Thur., April 22 during pre-school story time from 11 a.m. to noon.

Some libraries will show the 1966 movie “Fahrenheit 451”starring Julie Christie and Oskar Werner, directed by Francois Truffaut:

  • Sat., April 10, at the Auburn Library, 350 Nevada St., from 3 to 5 p.m.;
  • Sat. April 24, at the Rocklin Library, 5460 Fifth St., from 1 to 3 p.m. The Rocklin Fire Department will provide safety information prior to this presentation.

Teens are invited to attend a workshop on altered books. An altered book is created by taking an old book and transforming it into an original work of art using craft materials, pictures, stamps, ribbons, beads, magazines and other items to inspire creativity. Classes will take place at the Auburn Library, 350 Nevada St., on April 7, 8 and 9 from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

High school students can also receive community service credit for silently reading “Fahrenheit 451” at the library during open hours during April. Those locations include the Auburn Library at 350 Nevada St., the Granite Bay Library at 6475 Douglas Blvd. and the Rocklin Library at 5460 Fifth St. Interested students should call or come by the library to schedule their hours and reserve copies of the book.

Book clubs may request a kit which includes 10 copies of the book, 10 reader’s guides, two audio CDs that discuss the book and bookmarks. Book Club Kits and individual copies of “Fahrenheit 451” can be checked out at any Placer County Library branch. There are enough kits available for 20 to 30 book club groups on a first-come, first-serve basis. Kits also will be made available to schools.

For more information about “The Big Read” see

“Fahrenheit 451” was written by Ray Bradbury in 1953. The number “451” refers to the temperature at which book paper burns (although in actuality, book burning temperature is actually 450 degrees Celsius or 842 degrees Fahrenheit. Bradbury chose Fahrenheit over Celsius for his book title.) The book envisions a world in which media saturation and thought control have displaced reading and critical thinking. The book is considered a classic and was a National Book Award winner. In 2004, Bradbury received the National Medal of Arts, a presidential award administered by the National Endowment for the Arts. He also received the National Book Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the lifetime World Fantasy Award and the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award. Bradbury, a craftsman, blends his ideas about the future with dramatic tension, a sense of foreboding, a terrific chase scene, and an ultimate conclusion that restores one’s faith in humanity.