Two TN Libraries Receive NEA Big Read Grants

By Liz Auclair, Public Affairs, NEA –

Big ReadThe National Endowment for the Arts announced seventy-five nonprofit organizations will receive grants totaling more than $1 million to host an NEA Big Read project between September 2017 and June 2018. 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.

Tennessee received two Big Read grants. Friends of the Knox County Public Library in Knoxville received a grant for $13,000 and Jackson-Madison County Library in Jackson received a grant for $12,600.

The 2017-2018 grants range from $5,000 to $20,000 for community reading programs taking place in 32 states and focusing on 21 works of literature, such as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, Claudia Rankine’sCitizen: An American Lyric, and Dinaw Mengestu’s The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears. Grant recipients range from schools to libraries to arts organizations.

“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.”

2017–2018 NEA Big Read grants:

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


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