QUINCY-- Quincy Public Library is one of 78 institutions nationwide chosen to participate in NEA Big Read this year, receiving a federal grant of $15,000. This initiative is from the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
"It is truly an honor for Quincy to be chosen by the NEA to host this program again this year," QPL Executive Director Kathleen Helsabeck said. "The goal is to create a community conversation and broaden our understanding by reading a book together."
This year's NEA Big Read: Quincy book is "A Lesson Before Dying" by Ernest J. Gaines. It's the story of an uneducated young black man named Jefferson, accused of the murder of a white storekeeper, set in 1940s Louisiana. For younger readers, QPL has selected "The Watsons Go To Birmingham" by Christopher Paul Curtis and "Follow the Drinking Gourd" by Jeanette Winter.
Grant money and additional sponsorships will help fund over 45 programs in February and over 3,600 books, which QPL will distribute to the community. The festivities will begin from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30, with John Hanlon, executive director of the Illinois Innocence Project, as the keynote speaker. The Messengers and Square Peg Troupe will perform.
Partners include Quincy Public and Parochial school teachers who are teaching the books in their classrooms, Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce, Quincy Art Center, Human Rights Commission, John Wood Community College, Quincy University, Great River Genealogical Society and many businesses in the District.
Several businesses in The District will be hosting NEA Big Read: Quincy specials in February and several community partners will also be partnering to host NEA Big Read: Quincy events including:
· Quincy Art Center Exhibit at Horizons, Jan. 10 to April 14
· Introduction to New Orleans Cuisine at JWCC, at 6 p.m. Feb. 3, 10, 17 at JWCC
· The Underground Railroad in Adams County presented by the Great River Genealogical Society, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at St. John's Lutheran Church
· QU Band Concert, at 3 p.m. March 1 at QU's Connie Niemann Center for Music
More information about NEA Big Read: Quincy is available at quincylibrary.org or by calling 217-223-1309.