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The library is pleased to partner with AGAR once again this year to present The Big Read, featuring Zora Neale Hurston's THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD.  Activities will take place throughout the community for all ages.  For a list of all activities, visit  The activities below are taking place at the library.


The Big Read: Zora Neale Hurston THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD Kickoff

September 18, 2014 6:30-9:00  Madison Heights Library

Emmy-winning writer, scholar, and performer, Evelyn Moore, ED.M., will deliver the keynote lecture.  Following her address, the library will screen a Harpo Films Production of THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD starring Halle Berry. 

Zora Neale Hurston, The Harlem Renaissance and Cecilia Smith Jazz Premiere: A Panel Discussion and Concert

September 22, 2014  7:00-9:00  Amherst Library

The evening event will begin with a panel discussion of the Harlem Renaissance movement and the works or the writers, composers, and visual artists.  Speakers will be Shaun Spencer-Hester, President of the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum in Lynchburg, Cecilia Smith, New York composer and jazz vibraphonist, and Leanne Zalewski, PhD, Assistant Professor of Art at Randolph College.  The second half of the evening will be a concert led by Cecilia Smith who will perform pieces from the Harlem Renaissance period as well as a world premiere piece she is writing improvised around the words of Zora Neale Hurston.  Preforming with Ms. Smith will be the Lew Taylor Trio from Lynchburg, VA and students from the Amherst County High School Amherechos and band.

BIG READ to Children:  Folk Tales Collected by Zora Neale Hurston

November 8, 2014  10:30-12:00  Madison Heights Library

AGAR staff and Melodie Campbell Fletcher will read and discuss with children aged 5 to 8 two companion books for THE BIG READ, THE THREE WITCHES and LIES AND OTHER TALL TALES, both collected by Zora Neale Hurston.  Children will be offered art activities around tall tales and will be given copies of LIES AND OTHER TALL TALES.

Reading Zora Neale Hurston Folktale Books and Discussing the Harlem Renaissance with children 9-12

November 15, 2014  10:30-12:00  Amherst Library

AGAR staff and Melodie Campbell Fletcher will read and discuss with students aged 9-12 two companion books for THE BIG READ and will present information and other library books about the Harlem Renaissance, including STORY PAINTER: THE LIFE OF JACOB LAWRENCE by John Duggleby.  Students will be offered copies of LIES AND OTHER TALL TALES to take home.


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Gold 50

Library celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014!

The Big Anniversary Celebration will be on Saturday, November 1, 2014 beginning at 3:00 p.m.  Put this special event on your calendar now!  Watch for additional details coming soon!


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Location & Hours

Steve Preston, Director

Amherst Library
382 South Main Street
Amherst, VA 24521
Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri  10am-6pm
Tues  10am-8pm
Sat  10am-2:00pm
Madison Heights Library
200 River James Shopping Center
Madison Heights, VA 24572
Mon  10am-8pm
Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri  10am-6pm
Sat  10am-2:00pm

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