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Volume 26, Number 6 — June 2019

Abingdon receives Big Read Grant from NEA

The Big Read in Abingdon and Washington County, Va. will focus on <em>Fahrenheit 451</em> by Ray Bradbury.
The Big Read in Abingdon and Washington County, Va. will focus on Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury chosen for Big Read

July 11, 2007

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced that Barter Theatre and the Washington County Public Library System are among the 117 organizations that will receive grants to support Big Read programs between September and December 2007.

The Big Read, launched nationally in 2006 by the NEA, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Arts Midwest, encourages literary reading by asking communities to come together to read and discuss a single book. The organizations selected to participate in the Big Read will receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 to promote and carry out community-based programs. The Big Read in Abingdon and Washington
County, Va. will take place September through November 2007.

"Barter Theatre is excited to be a part of this program in conjunction with the Washington County Public Library in an effort to promote community reading and involvement," said Brittani Clayman, director of Development at Barter Theatre.

Modeled on successful "one book, one community" programs, the Big Read was created to address the national decline in literary reading as documented in the NEA's 2004 landmark survey "Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America." The survey showed that less than half the American adult population now reads literature.

To encourage community-wide participation in the project, each Big Read lead organization will collaborate with public and private partners within its community to develop a program of activities related to the selected novel.

Big Read events in Abingdon and Washington County, Va. will include a staged reading of "Fahrenheit 451," book discussion groups, a film series, student art contests, local displays, panel discussions on censorship in our area, lectures and much more that the entire community can enjoy.

"By joining the Big Read, these cities and towns are showing that reading is necessary to the cultural, civic, even economic fabric of their communities. They understand the benefit of having people from different generations and walks of life reading and discussing a great book," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "Yes, this is about reading, but it's also about getting people to leave their homes and offices, unplug themselves for a few hours, and enjoy the pleasures of literature with their neighbors."

"We are pleased to announce this second round of Big Read grants. The first-round grantees created innovative and exciting partnership activities that exceeded our expectations," said IMLS Director Anne-Imelda Radice, Ph.D. "We're eager to support these additional communities in launching their collaborative efforts. Through the Big Read, IMLS and NEA are assisting people all across the country as they come together in community to rediscover the great American novel."

The NEA also will provide participating communities with a library of free materials, including reader's and teacher's guides for each of the Big Read novels, an audio guide for each novel featuring distinguished actors and writers, an online organizer's guide for hosting a Big Read program, Big Read publicity materials, and a comprehensive program Web site.

The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.

For a complete list of communities participating in the Big Read, a list of the Big Read novels, program application guidelines, or more information on the program, CLICK HERE.

For more information about The National Endowment for the Arts, CLICK HERE.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect
people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support
professional development. To learn more about the Institute, visit:

Arts Midwest connects people throughout the Midwest and the world to meaningful arts opportunities, sharing creativity, knowledge, and understanding across boundaries. Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest's
history spans more than 25 years. For more information, visit