CONNEAUT — Library officials hope a new traveling exhibit will spark serious emotions and discussions. 

In April, the Conneaut Library will host an exhibit about the life and writings of Anne Frank as part of a partnership with Arlene’s Broadway on Buffalo.

“It could speak to a lot of people, saying ‘you live on,’” Conneaut Library Executive Director Kathy Zappitello said, adding, “I want them to feel the impact. I want them to internalize it, then turn to the person next to them and talk about it.”

“Reading and Writing with Anne Frank” focuses on Frank’s writing, including both her diary and her fictional work. The exhibit also includes workbooks for children ages 9-15 about the life of the Frank family and a brief timeline of World War II. It is on loan to the library from the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.

The activities for children are split up by age, one focusing on children from 9 to 12 and another for children ages 13-15. 

The plan to host the exhibit was pulled together in less than a month, Zappitello said, after the library learned Arlene’s Broadway on Buffalo would be putting on a performance of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” The show will run in conjunction with the library exhibit on weekends from April 5-21.

“We’re partners on a multitude of levels with our friends at Arlene’s Broadway on Buffalo,” Zappitello said. 

She said this exhibit is for everyone and hopes it draws from both Ashtabula County and western Pennsylvania.

She added the exhibit would be open whenever the library is, but that if someone was unable to come during regular hours, Zappitello and her team would find a solution that worked for everyone. 

The exhibit is one of several from the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect that travels the country as part of the center’s continuing mission to educate young people about the dangers of anti-semitism, intolerance, racism and discrimination, according to the center’s website.

The Center was founded by Frank’s father, Otto, as the American Friends of the Anne Frank House in 1959.

The group has a number of different traveling exhibits, in addition to the one at the Conneaut Library next month. Among them is a gallery of photos taken by Otto Frank before he and his family went into hiding and an account of the Holocaust through the lens of Anne and her family.

The center also puts on plays, events and classroom programs that use the Franks’ story to explore issues from the time and today. 

“Reading and Writing with Anne Frank” will be on display from April 1-23 at the Conneaut Library on Buffalo Street.

“At the end of the day, this display is talking about prejudice. This display is talking about bullying. This display is talking about discrimination,” Zappitello said. “And boy, that is a topic that’s very relevant right now.”

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