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NEA and IMLS Announce More Than $1.5 Million in Big Read Grants for the First Half of 2008

Washington, DC-The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today continued its drive toward making the Big Read the largest federal reading program in U.S. history. The NEA announced that it will award grants totaling $1,598,800 to 127 libraries, municipalities, and arts, culture, higher education, and science organizations to host Big Read celebrations of 16 classic novels from January-June 2008.The newest Big Read grantees represent 38 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The NEA inaugurated the Big Read as a pilot project with ten communities in 2006. By 2009, approximately 400 communities in the U.S. will have hosted a Big Read since the program’s 2007 national launch.

The organizations selected to participate in the Big Read for the first half of 2008 will receive grants ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 to promote and carry out community-based programs. Participating cities and towns also receive reader’s and teacher’s guides for each novel, audio guides that also can be used as radio programming, publicity materials, an online organizer’s guide for running a successful Big Read program, and access to a comprehensive Big Read Web site. Each local program will include events, such as read-a-thons, book discussions, film screenings, and library and museum exhibits, aimed at avid and lapsed or reluctant readers alike.

The next Big Read application deadline is February 12, 2008, for communities wishing to host a Big Read from September 2008-June 2009.

For more information on the Big Read, including program FAQs, the complete list of Big Read novels, and application deadlines, please visit

Click here to access the complete IMLS press release.

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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