By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager
History comes to life inside the library.
Big Thought’s Library Live! program takes its cue from that beloved city resource – the public library system. Each month we host free, interactive programs at Dallas Public Library branches for participants of all ages. Cultural traditions flourish via storytelling as well as visual and performing arts. Activities weave in seasonal themes that reinforce the pride and understanding accompanying any celebration of diverse cultural backgrounds.
Master storytellers and performers are the catalyst for books, stories, and cultural signposts. It’s a time for families to come together in the spirit of literacy, a way for mom and dad and other caregivers to encourage the life-changing grandeur of words and pages that expand the mind.
“Library Live! is designed to promote literacy in partnership with Dallas Public Library branches,” says Pholesha Johnson, Big Thought Communications Manager. “Yet the program offers so much more. It allows books to come alive, which is ultimately allowing our children the chance to be fully exposed to anything and everything.”
Library Live! launched in 1996 with the aim of increasing access among families to literacy-based programming. Twenty years later, Library Live! continues to be cozily embraced by the community. As of 2014-2015, Library Live! served 10,120 participants and offered 278 program hours at 27 Dallas Public Library sites.
For many children, the library and particularly the books it houses become friends. The characters, real or imaginary, inside those pages provide refuge from the toils of everyday life. Children explore far away lands, walk and talk with famous people, jump into a fictional story that feels refreshingly real.
“Growing up, from my bedroom window, I could see one of the many Dallas Public Library branches and would trek daily across what seemed to be a massive field to new experiences found at the Dallas Public Library,” Johnson remembers. “The library became my summer camp, my after school hangout, and my research center. It opened me up to new worlds, people and experiences.”
It still does exactly that. In March, Library Live! showcases Women’s History Month with programs highlighting First Lady Michelle Obama, human rights singer Miriam Makeba, influential Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, and many other portraits of historically famous women. You’ll also find a variety of events that will feature kids creating sock puppets, learning new dance moves, and designing a customized country flag. For a list of Women’s History Month events, visit the Library Live! page.
February was Black History Month, so Library Live! basked in the fascination of George Moses Horton, a former slave and the first African American to be published in the South; Bass Reeves, an escaped slave who became a feared lawman; and Wilma Rudolph, a record-holding African American athlete who was initially told she would never walk again after struggling with infantile paralysis.
Big Thought’s Johnson, who develops strategic marketing initiatives for Library Live!, is a tireless cheerleader for the neighborhood library. She experienced its magic firsthand, and makes sure to enrich her own children’s lives with the power of books.
“The library is an endless engine for dreaming, for creating and for experiencing,” she says. “My children have now found their own love of reading and I’m amazed at the variety of books and subjects for kids of all ages, genders and interests. The expanse of literacy and exposure to almost anything is fantastical, especially in this day and age of technological takeovers.”
Big Thought thanks the Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Foundation, The Craig & Kathryn Hall Foundation, and Enterprise Holdings for the generous support of Library Live!