In honor of Black History Month, the Leon County Public Library hosted its annual African-American Read-In on Sunday.
The African American Read-In is the nation’s first and oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature. It was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month.
More than 50 people were in attendance in the Leroy Collins Leon County Public Library to highlight the importance of African-American lives through a series of read-ins.
The African American Read-In was put together by the youth services coordinator, Mary Douglas, who said it was essential for everyone to come out and celebrate the diversity of literature.
“It was important for us to celebrate diversity in literature and this is the month we celebrate black history. All of the books we read today were authored by African Americans. Also, I wanted the read-in to encourage children that reading is important and should be done everyday,” Douglas said.
The purpose of the African American Read-In is to share the unique experiences found in African American literature with residents from pre-k to adults. The read-in gives students a chance to come together to share books or take part in public readings that feature professional African American writers.
Carol Elkins was one of the readers during Sunday’s African American Read-In. She is also a retired youth service librarian and started the black history program at the Leon County Public Library. She said it was important to keep the history alive and to let children learn the importance of reading on a regular bases.
“It was important for me to read at today’s event in order to keep our history alive and to also let children see me reading so that they will know and learn the importance of reading on a regular bases,” Elkins said.
As the read-in event came to an end, the Leon County Public Library closed out the event with special performances with steppers, dancers and drummers.
Tallahassee resident Taliyah Moore said she enjoyed the African American Read-In and will start attending more black history events moving forward.
“I loved everything about this event. You can learn and grow when you participate in programs like this. Reading is very vital and the more you show the children how to read, it helps them to enhance the importance of reading. Moving forward, I will be attending more black history events throughout the month,” Moore said.