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National Endowment for the Arts Invites Organizations to Participate in the Big Read

The Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (www.nea.gov) in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (www.imls.gov) and in cooperation with Arts Midwest (www.artsmidwest.org), is designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The Big Read (www.neabigread.org) provides citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities. Approximately 120 organizations in communities of varying sizes across the United States will be chosen to participate in the initiative from September through December 2007. Each community event lasts approximately one month and includes a kick-off event to launch the program locally; major events devoted specifically to the book (panel discussions, author readings, etc.); events using the book as a point of departure (film screenings, theatrical readings, etc.); and book discussions in diverse locations and aimed at a wide range of audiences.

Organizations selected to participate in The Big Read will receive a grant, financial support to attend a national orientation meeting, educational and promotional materials for distribution, and other materials and services. Grants range from $5,000 to $20,000. The typical grant size will be between $10,000 and $15,000. Grants must be matched at least 1:1 with non-federal funds. Organizations applying to participate must have tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal revenue Code or be a division of state, local, or tribal government. Eligible applicants include such organizations as literary centers, libraries, museums, colleges and universities, art centers, historical societies, arts councils, tribal governments, humanities councils, literary festivals, and arts organizations. Applicant organizations must partner with a library (if the applicant organization itself is not a library). K-12 schools and school districts, whether public or private, are ineligible to apply but are encouraged to participate as partners.

For additional information and application procedures, visit the Big Read Web site. The deadline for applications is April 12, 2007.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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