Clallam County Reads program begins in October

'To Kill a Mockingbird' first book in community reading event

  • Tuesday, March 18, 2014 7:05pm
  • News

This book club could be the size of the county’s population.

It all depends on whether or not people pick up a copy of Harper Lee’s "To Kill a Mockingbird" and participate in events scheduled by the North Olympic Library System for people to interact and discuss the famous modern novel.

The Clallam County Reads program is set to begin in October and library organizers are encouraging those interested in participating to get a copy of the American novel and start turning pages.

"It’s a program that invites everyone to participate regardless if they are avid readers or not," said Jayne Downie with the library system. "’To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a modern classic that is accessible by those in middle school on up, which is why it will make a great first book for the program."

Downie is part of a special committee that organized the program and hopes to see it continue in years to come. Other libraries have started similar reading programs with Lee’s novel and it has been the text in many book circles.

"It has a proven track record to get people talking," Downie said. "The program is all about that, encouraging the community to read great literature and providing a forum for them to express what their experience was in reading the text."

The library system scheduled discussion group times, screenings of the 1962 major motion picture, a performance of the movie’s score and a forum with Fracaswell "Cas" Hyman, the Los Angeles-based director of the "To Kill a Mockingbird" play that ran in Seattle last year.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" is a poignant coming-of-age tale set in the South in the 1930s. In it, Lee tells two stories. One is of a young girl discovering her own goodness in the world, which is spliced with another of her father, a lawyer who is defending an unjustly accused man.

"The book is one that may have been in many people’s high school reading requirements, but is also one that can mean different things to people at different stages of their life," Downie said. "The library system has really made an effort to make sure everyone can participate."

Extra copies of the book are in each branch, which are available for checkout. Organizers also are periodically placing stacks of read and return copies that do not require a library card for use while supplies last.

They only ask that the books be returned or forwarded to another reader for the program.

"We have also brought in large print copies, audio copies and those translated into Spanish or Braille," Downie said.

Two discussion groups and a movie screening are scheduled in the Sequim Library throughout October while other events go on in Port Angeles, Clallam Bay and Forks.

Mayor Laura Dubois and Pacific Mist Books owner Marti McAlistair-Wolf will be leading the two Sequim discussion groups. Questions to consider while reading the text are available in a flyer at the library branches or online at

"Also, we are really hoping those in Sequim will come over to Port Angeles and hear from Cas Hyman, who will speak to the subjects of the book and his experiences with directing the play," Downie said.

Hyman said he has a very deep, personal connection to the book, which he had even before taking on the production of its play in Seattle.

The Clallam County Reads schedule of events for "To Kill a Mockingbird" in the Sequim Library, 630 N. Sequim Ave., and the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St.

• Movie and discussion at 7 p.m. in Sequim on Oct. 3 and Port Angeles Oct. 4.

• Book discussions at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 in Sequim and Port Angeles Oct. 10 and at 11 a.m. in Sequim Oct. 15 and Port Angeles Oct. 11.

• Movie music performance at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Port Angeles High School auditorium.

• Discussion with "To Kill a Mockingbird" play director Fracaswell Hyman at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 in Port Angeles.

• More available online at or at any library system branch.

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