Big Winner of the Big Read
December 14, 2012
The Columbia College Chicago Library received a $16,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to host The Big Read in Chicago and select suburban areas in spring 2013. This year’s program will focus on “In the Time of the Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez, a historical novel about the Mirabal sisters, political dissidents who spoke out during the time of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, who were later honored by the United Nations General Assembly.
The Big Read is an initiative of the NEA designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The program provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 31 selections from U.S. and world literature. The Columbia College Chicago Library also won NEA’s Big Read grant in 2009 and 2011, for projects with the books “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Things They Carried.”
“We are extremely honored to be given this highly competitive grant for a third time,” said Columbia College Chicago Library Dean Jan Chindlund. “We plan to work with many strategic partners, including literacy and community organizations, museums, schools, libraries, and Columbia College departments, to create exciting opportunities in the spring of 2013 for audiences to read and interact with the book in educational and innovative ways.”
Activities hosted by Columbia College in the spring will include book discussion groups in partnership with schools in the Chicago Public School system and surrounding communities as well as public libraries. Additional programing includes a kickoff event featuring Columbia College Humanities, History and Social Sciences faculty member Carmelo Esterrich, who will speak about Dominican Republic history, the Mirabal sisters and the role of the book in international literature. Author Julia Alvarez will participate via Skype for the keynote event, featuring a reading and discussion which will be broadcast to a wider audience using videoconferencing technology and Internet streaming.
Photo: Students participate in a “Typewriter Olympics” Big Read event related to the 2009 book selection, Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” which was written on a typewriter.