Santa Barbara Public Library to Host the NEA Big Read

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Santa Barbara Public Library to Host the NEA Big Read
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Source: Santa Barbara Public Library

The Santa Barbara Public Library (SBPL) is a proud recipient of a grant of $20,000 to host the NEA Big Read this fall. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. SBPL is one of 75 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program between September 2017 and June 2018. 

The NEA Big Read in Santa Barbara will focus on Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, an award-winning science fiction novel about the survivors of an apocalyptic pandemic who form a Traveling Symphony, performing music and Shakespeare’s plays in outposts throughout the remnants of civilization.  There will be discussions and workshops focused on public health as well as artistic, literary, and cultural programming inspired by the many themes in the book.

According to Library Director Jessica Cadiente, “The goal of these programs is to bring together the community to celebrate reading and to have timely conversations about issues that impact the future health of our community.”

The Library has partnered with many local organizations including area high schools, Santa Barbara City College Luria Library and Creative Writing Program, DramaDogs Theater Company, Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture, Ensemble Theatre Company, Old Kings Road Pub and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art to produce events as part of the NEA Big Read.

This is the third NEA Big Read grant the Santa Barbara Public Library has received. Previous grants were in 2009 for Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and in 2013 for Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.

“Through the NEA Big Read we are bringing contemporary works to communities across the country, helping us better understand the diverse voices and perspectives that come with it,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “These 75 organizations have developed unique plans to celebrate these works, including numerous opportunities for exploration and conversation.”

The NEA Big Read showcases a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, which annually supports approximately 75 dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.

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