Library program to highlight Franklin, reading

Wendy Byerly Wood Content Manager

October 14, 2013

A great man in the history of the United States will make a short visit to Elkin Thursday as the local library presents “The Magic of Reading” Thursday.

Benjamin Franklin, portrayed by South Carolina resident Dr. Rich Davis, will share his message of how important reading was to becoming “one of the best education, wisest and most productive people of his time” despite only have two years of schooling, according to Davis’ information on his program.

During the time when Bridges School was using the Elkin Public Library as its school library, Branch Librarian Martha Smith said, Davis presented his “Magic of Reading” program at the school.

“Speakers send out emails about their programs, and we recognized him. He did a good job, so we thought it would be a good program,” Smith said of securing Davis for the presentation on Franklin Thursday. “He was going to be in the area.”

Funding for the program, as it is for the majority of the library’s programs, is provided by the Friends of the Library group, she said. The event will be at 4 p.m.

“It is a program probably suited best for elementary school-agers, but we are billing it as a family activity for after-school times,” said Smith.

According to Davis’ website, he has performed “The Magic of Reading” more than 5,000 times since its first presentation in 1992. He is a former college English and public speaking teacher at the University of Southern Mississippi, Delaware State College, Asheville-Buncombe Community College, Shaw University, Limestone College and Charleston Southern University.

He earned a Ph.D. in adult education and an M.A. in English from the University of Southern Mississippi and attended Minot State College and the University of Maryland. In addition, Davis has published a number of books and more than 300 articles and columns.

“Come learn the secrets of one of the world’s best and most famous readers as he discusses his life and achievements,” Davis’ website says of the program about Franklin. “Learn three reasons reading is magic, four reading virtues, and how a young Ben Franklin participated in one of the most memorable moments in American literature.

“The program concludes with a reenactment of a scientific experiment Ben actually performed,” says the site.

According to the website, Franklin’s famed actions and ideas include founding the first subscription library in the United States; signing the Declaration of Independence; charted the Gulf Stream; invented bifocal eyeglasses; founded the University of Pennsylvania; flew a kite in a thunderstorm; wanted the national bird to be the turkey; invented the rocking chair; and had the first bathtub in the United States.

Reach Wendy Byerly Wood at wbyerly-wood@civitasmedia.com or at 835-1513.