Evanston Public Library is a recipient of a $15,000 grant to host The Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts.The Library is one of 75 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive a grant to host this comprehensive community reading program between September 2015 and May 2016.

The Big Read in Evanston will focus on “Into the Beautiful North” by Luis Alberto Urrea. The novel is set in the highly charged world of the U.S.-Mexico border which Mr. Urrea, the son of an American mother and Mexican father, considers as a place of connection as well as divide.

“The Big Read is the perfect way to engage residents of all ages in an important community project. It provides the opportunity for teachers, students, adults, and seniors to consider and discuss immigration and the immigrant experience over a series of months,” said Karen Danczak Lyons, EPL director. 

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The Big Read is a powerful example of how the arts can bring communities together and help us to connect with one another. These 75 organizations, including Evanston Public Library, are creating valuable opportunities for their communities to share wonderful stories and characters and to have meaningful conversations.” 

Evanston Public Library will host a Big Read kick-off event in September to introduce the program, give away books, and celebrate with a cultural performance. Several book discussions throughout the community, lectures from Northwestern professors, a film series, Mexican crafts and storytimes for children, and multi-media projects for teens will be included in The Big Read. Partnerships with School Districts 65 and 202, as well as with the City of Evanston and local senior facilities will encourage all of Evanston to participate in The Big Read.