Sumter Library to Receive Big Read Grant

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The Sumter County Library recently announced it has been awarded a grant to host The Big Read. Managed by Arts Midwest, The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.

The Sumter County Library is one of 77 nonprofit organizations to receive a grant to host a Big Read project between September 2013 and June 2014. Sumter's Big Read will focus on The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Activities will take place during October 2013.

According to Library Director Robert Harden, "the Sumter County Library is pleased and excited to be chosen to host the Big Read. This will afford our community the opportunity to explore one of the great works of American literature through a variety of events and programs."

NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa said, "It's wonderful to see that these 77 communities are making reading and the celebration of books a priority. I look forward to seeing the innovative ways they find to engage their communities in these great works of classic and contemporary literature."

The Big Read provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss and celebrate one of 31 selections from U.S. and world literature. The 77 selected organizations will receive Big Read grants 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.

For more information about The Big Read in Sumter, please contact Ford Simmons, Sumter County Library, at 803-773-7273 or simmonsf@spiritcom.net.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.

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 nonprofit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest's history spans more than 25 years. For more information, please visit artsmidwest.org.

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