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Press Release
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The Center for the Book at New Hampshire State Library

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7, 2009

CONTACT: Shelly Angers, NH Department of Cultural Resources


New Hampshire to read and celebrate To Kill a Mockingbird
during Big Read project in March 2010

The Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to host a state-wide Big Read. The Center is one of 268 nonprofits—including arts, culture and science organizations; libraries; and municipalities—to receive a grant to host a Big Read project between September 2009 and June 2010.

The Big Read gives communities the opportunity to come together to read, discuss and celebrate one of 30 selections from U.S. and world literature. In New Hampshire, the Big Read will focus on To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Activities will take place during March 2010.

The latest Big Read grantees represent 44 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since the 2006 pilot program with ten participating organizations, the NEA has given more than 800 grants to support local Big Read projects.

"Our 2007 Big Read of Fahrenheit 451 generated a lot of excitement in the state and I am thrilled that we have received another NEA grant which will allow us to have another state-wide Big Read," said New Hampshire Center for the Book Director Mary Russell. "To Kill a Mockingbird is such a great book and it presents a wonderful opportunity for the Center to partner with members of our state's legal community to explore the themes of justice and society that are part of this classic novel."

“The Big Read highlights not only literature, but also what can be accomplished in partnership,” said NEA Acting Chairman Patrice Walker Powell. “I’m grateful to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Arts Midwest and the many, many nonprofits, local governments and media outlets around the country that have partnered with the NEA to present hundreds of Big Read projects nationwide. We welcome our new community partners to The Big Read family and look forward to continuing this transformative dialogue between neighbors and across borders.”

Selected organizations receive Big Read grants ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 to promote and carry out community-based reading programs featuring activities such as read-a-thons, book discussions, lectures, movie screenings and performing arts events. Participating communities also receive high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title, including Reader’s, Teacher’s and Audio Guides.

“The Institute is pleased to support The Big Read, which brings communities together to enjoy literature in their public libraries,” said Anne-Imelda M. Radice, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the NEA’s lead federal partner for The Big Read. “Libraries are community anchors that serve as centers of engagement, literacy and lifelong learning. There is nothing better than to read a great book and share your delight and insights with others.”

The Big Read is an initiative of the NEA designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the IMLS and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. Support for The Big Read is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Transportation for The Big Read is provided by Ford.

For more information about The Big Read please visit www.neabigread.org.

The Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library was established in 2003 to celebrate and promote reading, books, literacy, and the literary heritage of New Hampshire and to highlight the role that reading and libraries play in enriching the lives of the people of the Granite State. We are a non-profit organization and an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Our activities include state coordination of Letters About Literature, a national student writing competition; awarding the Ladybug Picture Book Award each year; administration of the Granite State Reads literacy grant program; and participation in the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts—both new and established—bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit www.arts.gov.

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. For more information, please visit www.imls.gov.

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, please visit www.artsmidwest.org.


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