Washington, D.C.–October 31, 2006–The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced that 72 organizations will receive grants to support Big Read programs between January and June 2007. The Big Read is a new national program by the NEA, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Arts Midwest, that encourages literary reading by asking communities to come together to read and discuss one book. The organizations selected to participate in the Big Read will receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $40,000 to promote and carry out month-long, community-based programs.

After executing a successful pilot Big Read program with ten communities in 2006, the Arts Endowment announced in May that it would take the Big Read nationwide. In July, Mrs. Laura Bush enthusiastically joined the Big Read as its Honorary Chair.

Modeled on successful “city reads” programs, the Big Read is meant to address the national decline in literary reading as documented in the NEA’s 2004 landmark survey Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. The survey showed that less than half the American adult population now reads literature.

For the full release, please go to http://www.arts.gov/news/news06/BRPhaseI..html

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