Martin County Library System Press Releases

July 15, 2009

MCLS Awarded Big Read Grant

Filed under: Adult programming,Children's programming,Teen programming — mclswebblog @ 8:20 pm
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CONTACT:   Lynn Warner


Martin County to read and celebrate
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
during Big Read project

June 23, 2009 – Martin County – The Martin County Library System, under the auspices of the Martin County Board of County Commissioners, today announced that it has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to host The Big Read in Martin County. MCLS is one of 269 nonprofits—including arts, culture, and science organizations; libraries; and municipalities—and one of only nine statewide to receive a grant to host a Big Read project between September 2009 and June 2010. The Big Read gives communities the opportunity to come together to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 30 selections from U.S. and world literature. The Big Read in Martin County will focus on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Martin County events featuring related activities and book distribution include: 
• January 9 kickoff at Jonathan Dickinson Park
• Big Read booth at ArtsFest January 30-31
• March 19 performance and discussion of the play Parallel Lives at the Blake Library

The latest Big Read grantees represent 44 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since the 2006 pilot program with ten participating organizations, the NEA has given more than 800 grants to support local Big Read projects.

“The Martin County Library System is excited to be the coordinating agency which will bring the Big Read to Martin County and values the importance of community coming together around literature,” said Donna Tunsoy, Martin County Library System Director.  “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer will provide the backdrop for all residents–children and adults–to participate in activities which will promote the joys of reading.”

“The Big Read highlights not only literature, but also what can be accomplished in partnership,” said NEA Acting Chairman Patrice Walker Powell. “I’m grateful to IMLS, Arts Midwest, and the many many nonprofits, local governments, and media outlets around the country that have partnered with the NEA to present hundreds of Big Read projects nationwide. We welcome our new community partners to The Big Read family and look forward to continuing this transformative dialogue between neighbors and across borders.”

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-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title, including Reader’s, Teacher’s, and Audio Guides.

“The Institute is pleased to support The Big Read, which brings communities together to enjoy literature in their public libraries,” said Anne-Imelda M. Radice, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the NEA’s lead federal partner for The Big Read. “Libraries are community anchors that serve as centers of engagement, literacy, and lifelong learning. There is nothing better than to read a great book and share your delight and insights with others.”

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. Transportation for The Big Read is provided by Ford.

For more information about The Big Read please visit  To learn about Big Read events planned by Martin County Library System during 2010 visit
The Martin County Library System is dedicated to meeting the educational, recreational, cultural, and intellectual needs of its diverse communities. In fulfilling this mission MCLS continues to provide free and equal access to information, lifelong learning resources and services to people of all ages and abilities.  For more information, please visit

The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts—both new and established—bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. For more information, please visit

Arts Midwest connects people throughout the Midwest and the world to meaningful arts opportunities, sharing creativity, knowledge, and understanding across boundaries. Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years. For more information, please visit



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