Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Big Read 2011

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. 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 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. Each community event lasts approximately one month and includes a kick-off event to launch the program locally; major events devoted specifically to the book (panel discussions, author reading, and the like); events using the book as a point of departure (film screenings, theatrical readings, and so forth); and book discussions in diverse locations and aimed at a wide range of audiences.

Our community's book this year is Great Tales & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. ABC Libraries' Big Read adventure begins Friday, October 7th at 7 pm, at the KiMo Theater, with our kick-off event, the Poe Funeral Party! Come commemorate Poe with an interactive performance and costume contest. Coinciding with the anniversary of his death, Edgar Allan Poe will be brought to life by performer Lou Harmon. The event will feature dramatic readings, historical biography and direct audience interaction. Participants that come dressed as Edgar Allan Poe or one of his characters could win a number of prizes!

There will be a plethora of other events until the Big Read ends on November 5th! Check out the Poe Film Series at the Guild Cinema, featuring Roger Corman's The Pit & the Pendulum & Vincent Price in The Fall of the House of Usher!  Or visit the Rio Grande Nature Center for the informative Who's Who in the World of Black Birds!  There will be ongoing History and Mystery Edgar Allan Poe Library Field Trips, Detective/Mystery Fiction Discussion & Writing Workshop, a POE-try Slam, a Chess Tournament with readings, even an Am I Related to Poe? Genealogy Workshop. For students, there's Youth Art Competition, open to all schools.  Don't miss your chance to join in the macabre fun!

For more information on the Big Read program, visit the NEA website. For more information about our community's Big Read 2011, including a schedule of events & times, visit the Big Read LibGuide.  We thank our partners & sponsors for their help in scheduling the 2011 Big Read!

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