The Pleasanton Library staff is hoping to bring Pleasanton residents — and the inner detective in them — together with the book "The Maltese Falcon" by Dashiell Hammett.

The library is hosting several events throughout September and October during The Big Read program. All of the events will go with the mystery and detective genre.

The Big Read is a national program through the National Endowment for the Arts that provides grants to participating libraries, said Penny Johnson, programs librarian at the Pleasanton library. The idea behind The Big Read is to get people together to read, discuss and celebrate a book.

"The main emphasis is to get people out of their homes and to talk to their neighbors about the book with the expectation they will get involved in community building and in citywide activities," Johnson said. "People who read engage in positive civic activity."

The grant is a $5,500 matching grant, and the library is seeking donations to match it.

Johnson said library staff had to choose a book from a short list provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. "The Maltese Falcon" was selected because it is set in nearby San Francisco and because they could create fun activities with a mystery theme.

"The activities will be fun but also educational for people of all ages," she said.


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Children will be able to read "The Malted Falcon" by Bruce Hale, who does spoofs about "hard-boiled" detectives.

The Pleasanton Downtown Association, Pleasanton Hotel and Towne Center Books will be working with the library onthe activities.

The library will offer teachers guides for those interested in studying the book, and readers and audio guides for book club members who would like to participate.

Several events are already scheduled.

-The "Hunt for the Missing Maltese Falcon" will be held during the First Wednesday Street Fair in downtown Pleasanton at 6 p.m. on Sept. 5.

-The Calaveras Repertory Theater will perform "The Maltese Falcon" at 7 p.m. on Oct. 6 at the Pleasanton library.

-Children's author Bruce Hale will entertain children at 7 p.m. on Oct. 9 at the library.

In addition, several mystery authors will give talks, there will be The Maltese Crow Mystery Theater Dinner and a writers' workshop.

Pleasanton Mayor Jennifer Hosterman will have a demonstration with her hawk, and a falconer will do a demonstration as well. There also will be a Dashiell Hammett tour on the streets of San Francisco, where participants will see many of the locales from the novel.

The big event will be the Maltese Falcon Gala at the library Nov. 10.

Johnson said library staff would like to make The Big Read an annual event.

"I have great expectations," she said. "It's an extremely positive outreach to the community. We hope the library will be the heart of Pleasanton."

For more information, call 925-931-3405.

Contact Jennifer Gokhman at jgokhman@angnewspapers.com or 925-416-4821.