Hiram College

Hiram College’s Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature in partnership with the Portage County District Library and Reed Memorial Library has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to host The Big Read in Portage County. Hiram College is one of 208 libraries, municipalities, and arts, culture, higher education, and science organizations to receive a grant to host The Big Read from September 2008-June 2009. The Big Read gives communities the opportunity to come together to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 23 selections from American and world literature. The Big Read in Portage County will primarily focus on Dashiell Hammett’s classic detective novel The Maltese Falcon. Activities will take place in January and February of 2009.

“Nurturing a love of reading and of literature is at the heart of Hiram College’s Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature. The Big Read grant allows us to bring that passion for the written word to the wider community of Portage County,” said Kirsten Parkinson, associate professor of English and director of Hiram College’s Big Read program.

“Everything the NEA does we do in partnership. I am delighted to announce our 208 new partners in The Big Read. Some are new to the program, some are returning, but all of them have answered the call to action to get our country reading again,” said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia.

The selected organizations received Big Read grants ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 to promote and carry out community-based reading programs featuring activities. Hiram’s Lindsay-Crane Center and its partner libraries will use the $8,000 grant to promote and sponsor a read-in, book discussion, a lecture by a Dashiell Hammett scholar, visits from mystery writers, movie screenings, library exhibits, and Clue tournaments. The Center will also collaborate with James A. Garfield High School in Garrettsville, Streetsboro High School, and the Portage County Cooperative Learning Program, to develop curriculum materials for teaching The Maltese Falcon to ninth- through twelfth-graders during the 2008-2009 school year.

“With this latest round of grants, I am proud to say that The Big Read has supported more than 500 public library partnerships,” said Anne-Imelda M. Radice, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the NEA’s lead federal partner for The Big Read. “Through this program, public libraries continue to demonstrate their value in communities as centers of engagement, literacy, and lifelong learning. I am particularly delighted by the innovative public programming born out of library and museum collaborations.”

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. Support for The Big Read is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Transportation for The Big Read is provided by Ford.

For more information about The Big Read please visit www.neabigread.org.