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EIU Booth Library

Library News

Booth to host NEA Big Read!

Posted on June 16th, 2020

Booth Library has received a $14,000 grant to host the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read. The NEA Big Read is designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.

Booth Library is one of 84 nonprofit organizations selected to receive an NEA Big Read grant to support a community reading program between September 2020 and June 2021. The local NEA Big Read program will focus on the book “An American Sunrise,” by U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, the first Native American to hold the position.

Many local programs are being planned, including book discussions, performances, lectures, workshops and story times. Many community partners have expressed interest in co-sponsoring programs related to The Big Read, including the Mattoon and Charleston public libraries; Lake Land College library; Tarble Arts Center; Doudna Fine Arts Center; EIU English and History departments; Academy of Lifelong Learning; LifeSpan Center; Coles County Arts Council; and various community book clubs.

The book also will be available to students in EIU English classes, as well as to high schools in the region through the Eastern Illinois Writing Project and Eastern Illinois University Teaching with Primary Sources initiatives.

We are very fortunate to be able to present the Big Read program here in East Central Illinois,” said Zach Newell, dean of Library Services. “So many community partners came forward to support this program, and we look forward to working with them all as we hold important discussions surrounding ‘An American Sunrise.’”

More details about the local NEA Big Read program can be found here ( For more information, contact Janice Derr, Big Read project director at Booth Library, at or 217-581-7555.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

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600 Lincoln Avenue,
Charleston, IL 61920
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