In 1985, the American Library Association (ALA) launched the READ™ campaign which has proven immensely effective in promoting literacy among all age groups. Comedian Bill Cosby was the first notable to appear on a poster; since then, more than 150 celebrities have donated their images for these posters, which convey the simple, but potent message—READ. Although endorsements by popular stars have certainly been effective, the ALA encourages libraries throughout the U.S. to use local community leaders—adults as well as youngsters—as “celebrity models.” The ongoing response to the program has been so consistently and overwhelmingly positive that READ™ has become one of the most successful grass roots literacy campaigns ever created.
The Sierra Madre Library launched its READ™ campaign in January 2011, which featured Jeffrey L. Throop, the 2010 President of the Tournament of Roses®, who posed with Afghanistan/Iraq War veteran Marcus Luttrell’s memoir, Lone Survivor. Every quarter throughout 2012, a new poster will feature one or more Sierra Madre residents who are active in the local community, usually posing with a favorite book. Souvenir bookmarks bearing the same design as the poster are also made available for takeaway at the Library.
This winter our local READ™ campaign is dovetailing with One Book One City and will feature Sierra Madre resident Barry Schwam as Sherlock Holmes. Barry is an actor who has played nearly 50 character roles on stage, television and in films. He also works as a voiceover artist and can be heard as the voice of the automatronic Col. Sanders at the Colonel Sanders Museum in Kentucky. Barry is an accomplished musician, and is well-known for his skill on the theremin, the only instrument in the world that is played without touching it. Barry’s favorite Sherlock Holmes story is The Hound of the Baskervilles.