The Friends and Library Awarded NEA Big Read Grant

The Friends and the Library One of 75 Organizations Nationwide to Receive an NEA Big Read Grant

The Friends and Monroe County Public Library are recipients of a grant of $20,000 to host the NEA Big Read in Bloomington and Monroe County. 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. The Friends and Monroe County Public Library are one of 75 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program. The NEA Big Read in Bloomington and Monroe County will focus on Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. Activities will take place September 2017 through April 2018.

“The Friends and the Library are excited about this tremendous opportunity to engage Monroe County through a community-wide reading of Everything I Never Told You—a gripping and sensitive family portrait about the immigrant and bi-racial experience in America,” said MCPL Director Marilyn Wood. “With the generous support of the NEA and the Friends, the Library will present a series of programs to encourage discussion of the issues presented in the book, highlighted by the biennial, award-winning Power of Words author talk on November 17, 2017 with novelist Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.”

“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.

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $19 million in grants to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past eleven years, grantees have leveraged more than $42 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 4.8 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 79,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 37,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. Last summer, the NEA announced a new focus for the NEA Big Read Library on contemporary authors and books written since the NEA was founded 50 years ago. For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit

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. Visit to learn more about NEA.

Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Based in Minneapolis, 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

Michael HoergerComment