Local read-in celebrates black culture


It’s impressive what can happen when you experience black culture through the joy of reading.

The African-American read in, held Saturday at the county library’s main branch, inspired members of the community to appreciate the significance of black literature and honor African-American authors.

Community leaders and participants shared a diverse selection of readings, including, fiction, non-fiction, urban-fiction, poems and children’s books. During the discussion session, participants were encouraged to share thoughts and impressions of the literature.

Brittany Hawes, a young published author and employee at the Leroy Collins library, had shared her book entitled, “Twisted.” Hawes said she was excited for the opportunity to use her publication as a platform to create dialogue.

 “We are overjoyed to bring in members of the community so they can bond over the joy of reading. It is very important to remember how significant our culture and heritage is, and this is a great way to incorporate that,” said Hawes.

The highlight of the event was the children’s corner. The children were able to express their love and passion for reading, as they shared their favorite novels. Carolyn Elkins, a library science graduate of Florida A&M University, led the young patrons with her selection, “Read and Rise” by, Sandra L. Pinkney. Her love for literature began as a student assistant in Coleman Library.

“I am still in the process of working with parents and children, particularly parents. I’m trying to get them to understand that the earlier the children learn to read, the better they will do in school.”

Pinkney retired as a young service librarian from the Leon County Public Library. Although she’s retired, her love for reading has not changed.  She always and will continue to be an advocate for children’s literature. Pinkney continues her work in local churches and community gatherings. Her message is to remind the public that reading is the most important fundamental tool for children.

“I really stress learning to read at an early age. Read to them every day if you can, it’s not how long you read, it’s just establishing a pattern of reading to the children. That’s how they learn the joy of reading and the importance of reading, which will last them throughout a lifetime,” Pinkney said.