August 23, 2008


Hillsborough County to read and celebrate Their Eyes Were Watching God during Big Read project.

The Hillsborough-County Public Library Cooperative today announced that it has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to host The Big Read in Hillsborough County. The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative is one of 208 libraries, municipalities, and arts, culture, higher education, and science organizations to receive a grant to host The Big Read from September 2008-June 2009. The Big Read gives communities the opportunity to come together to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 23 selections from American and world literature. The Big Read in Hillsborough County will focus on Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Activities will take place September 1-30.

The latest Big Read grantees represent 46 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To date, the NEA has given more than 500 grants to support local Big Read projects.

“We are pleased to be participating in this worthwhile initiative that enables readers all over to explore and share the celebration of extraordinary American Classic Literature. The partnership with The Big Read, along with schools, museums and media, is a wonderful way to connect people and communities,” said Joe Stines, Director of Libraries.

“Everything the NEA does we do in partnership. I am delighted to announce our 208 new partners in The Big Read. Some are new to the program, some are returning, but all of them have answered the call to action to get our country reading again,” said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia.

The selected organizations will receive Big Read grants ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 to promote and carry out community-based reading programs featuring activities such as read-a-thons, book discussions, lectures, movie screenings, and performing arts events. Participating communities also receive high-quality, free-ofcharge educational materials to supplement each title, including Reader’s, Teacher’s, and Audio Guides.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. Support for The Big Read is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

For more information about The Big Read please visit