The Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, aims to restore reading to the center of American culture. Managed by Arts Midwest, the program provides organizations with grants and comprehensive resources that support efforts to inspire their community to read and discuss a single book or the work of a poet.
Community organizations participating in the Big Read develop and produce reading programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse local audiences. These programs include activities such as author readings, book discussions, art exhibits, lectures, film series, music or dance events, theatrical performances, panel discussions, and other events and activities related to the community’s chosen book or poet. Activities must focus on a book or poet from the Big Read Library. Previous grantees must select a different reading choice from their previous programming.
The program is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations to develop reading programs between September 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019. Organizations selected to participate receive a grant, educational and promotional materials, and access to online training resources and opportunities. Approximately seventy-five organizations will be selected from communities of varying size in the United States.
Eligible organizations may apply for grants ranging between $5,000 and $15,000. Grants must be matched on a one-to-one basis with non-federal funds. Grant funds may be used for such expenses as book purchases, speaker fees and travel, salaries, advertising, and venue rental.
Applicant organizations must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit; a division of state, local, or tribal government; or a tax-exempt public library. Eligible applicants include such organizations as literary centers, libraries, museums, colleges and universities, art centers, historical societies, arts councils, tribal governments, humanities councils, literary festivals, and arts organizations.
Complete program guidelines, examples of winning applications, application instructions, and an FAQ are available at the Big Read website.