Vail Public Library is the proud recipient of an NEA Big Read grant of $9,150 to host the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read in Eagle County. An arts endowment initiative in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens how the community understands the world, different communities and fellow humans through the joy of sharing a good book. Vail Public Library is one of 84 nonprofit organizations selected to receive an NEA Big Read grant to support a community reading program between October 2020 and June 2021. The NEA Big Read in Eagle County will focus on “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren. Activities will take place as part of the county’s One Book One Valley (OBOV) community reading initiative celebrating its 10th year in 2021.
“We have become even more aware this year of the important ways the arts help us connect with others, and how they bring meaning, joy and comfort to our lives,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “By bringing the NEA Big Read to Eagle County, Colorado, Vail Public Library will provide thoughtful and fun programming while also strengthening community bonds.”
The NEA Big Read offers a range of titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single National Endowment for the Arts Big Read selection.
“We are honored to continue our partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts on this incredible program,” said Torrie Allen, president and CEO of Arts Midwest. “For more than 14 years this national effort has invested in communities as they gather to discuss the stories and ideas that connect us to one another. We are especially inspired by the projects and organizations that are finding new, virtual ways of creating those connections with their communities and are thrilled to support them at this critical time.”
“We are thrilled to have been awarded this NEA Big Read Grant, especially during these challenging times. Community reads inspire conversation, promote literacy and community, and bring readers and writers together through civic discourse and intellectual discussion. OBOV supports thought provoking ideas and conversation among diverse populations within the community,” said Director of Library Services, Lori A. Barnes, Vail Public Library.
One Book One Valley is a community reading initiative in Eagle County, Colorado, hosted by the partnering organizations: Vail Public Library, The Bookworm of Edwards, Colorado Mountain College and Eagle County Schools. It is a collaborative effort designed to unite and uplift hundreds of citizens by encouraging reading and promoting a sense of community by sharing a common topic for conversation. New partners this year for the NEA Big Read are the town of Vail’s Department of Environmental Sustainability, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and Walking Mountains Science Center.
Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,600 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $22 million to organizations nationwide. Over the past 13 years, grantees have leveraged more than $50 million in local funding to support NEA Big Read programs. More than 5.7 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 91,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 39,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, including book and author information, podcasts and videos, visit arts.gov/neabigread.
Founded in 1964, Vail Public Library is a centrally located, municipal library that serves residents and guests of the town of Vail and the larger community of Eagle County. The library’s mission is to provide access to information and resources. As a department within the town of Vail, the library supports the municipality’s goals of environmental consciousness, using sustainable practices to balance the economic, environmental and social needs of its users.
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies and the philanthropic sector, the arts endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.
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 35 years. For more information, please visit artsmidwest.org.