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Peoria Reads! receives grant for project

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Peoria Reads!, the collaborative project of the Peoria Public Library and Common Place, will receive a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to host The Big Read in Peoria next spring.

Peoria Reads! is one of only 75 non-profit groups in the country to receive one of the grants. The Big Read, which broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book, is managed by Arts Midwest. It’s intent is to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book.

The Big Read in Peoria will focus on The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. Activities will take place in March and April, 2016.

“Peoria Reads! is thrilled to have received a Big Read grant in our 15th year of encouraging our community to read and discuss the same significant book. Reading a book is learning, but discussing a book with others leads to understanding,” said Roberta Koscielski, assistant director of Peoria Public Library, who co-chairs Peoria Reads! with Connie Voss, executive director of Common Place. 

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 Peoria Reads!, are creating valuable opportunities for their communities to share wonderful stories and characters and to have meaningful conversations.”

The Big Read provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 37 selections from U.S. and world literature. The 75 selected organizations will receive Big Read grants to promote and carry out community-based reading programs. The NEA has also developed high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title, including reader’s guides, teacher’s guides, and audio programming, all of which are available to the public on neabigread.org.

Peoria Reads! will host a variety of community events and book discussions in March and April 2016. It will partner with The Friends of Peoria Public Library, Bradley University, Illinois Central College, Peoria Public School District 150, American Legion Post 2 and Auxiliary Post 2, and Peoria Notre Dame High School to bring the Big Read in 2016.

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