The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.
The Big Read answers a big need. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a 2004 report by the National Endowment for the Arts, found that not only is literary reading in America declining rapidly among all groups, but that the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young. The concerned citizen in search of good news about American literary culture would study the pages of this report in vain.
The Big Read aims to address this crisis squarely and effectively. It provides citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities. The initiative includes innovative reading programs in selected cities and towns, comprehensive resources for discussing classic literature, an ambitious national publicity campaign...
Together Stillwater and Pioneer systems will involve 10 public libraries and their surrounding communities in book and movie discussions, reader theater and musical events, online book and Great Passage discussions, and other special activities dedicated to the John Steinbeck classic, The Grapes of Wrath.
All the communities and individuals wanting to participate in the activities (which will occur from February to the end of April 2007) are encouraged to register at the Oklahoma Big Read site, BigReadOK.com. Registering at BigReadOK.com allows you to access the discussion forums as well the opportunity to register early for the free special events at venues such as the Sooner Theatre and National Weather Center, both in Norman, as well as other locations in the 10 communities.
For those who do not want to register at the site then they still get to utilize the calendar of events, news stories, links to multimedia and educational resources, and downloadable material. More material and resources are being added daily!
If you are interested in becoming a discussion leader, hosting a book discussion, or participating in additional ways please use the contact form on the BigReadOK site and someone will get back to you!