Thursday, July 11, 2013

MU Middletown and community partners receive Big Read grant

Miami University Middletown’s Gardner-Harvey Library today announced that it has received a grant of $15,600 to host The Big Read in Middletown. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest. Miami Middletown is one of 77 nonprofit organizations to receive a grant to host a Big Read project between September 2013 and June 2014.

The Big Read in Middletown will focus on The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien. According to the Big Read website, “Tracing the tour of one American platoon this book is not just a tale of the Vietnam War, although it's considered one of the finest books ever about combat. This award-winning book is a brutal, sometimes funny, often profound narrative about the human heart—how it fares under pressure, and what it can endure.”

While being led by Miami Middletown, the project is a joint effort among many community partners in Middletown, including Middletown High School, MidPointe Library System, the Robert “Sonny” Hill Community Center, Middletown Area Senior Center, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Middletown Campus, and the Middletown City Council. Programming will include book discussions, with free copies of the book provided to participants, as well as special events to be announced soon.

John Burke, director of the Gardner-Harvey Library emphasized the positive impact of the program: “I am excited to have our library join with such a wonderful group of partners to bring this book to the Middletown community. We hope that the book will shine a light into the experiences of military veterans (many of whom live, work, and learn alongside us) and build a greater understanding for those of us who have not served. And I hope that the practice of storytelling that the book illustrates will encourage veterans and others to tell their own stories and help us learn from one another.”

The Big Read provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 31 selections from U.S. and world literature. The 77 selected organizations will receive Big Read grants 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, which also are available for download on For more information about The Big Read please visit

NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa said, “It’s wonderful to see that these 77 communities are making reading and the celebration of books a priority. I look forward to seeing the innovative ways they find to engage their communities in these great works of classic and contemporary literature."

About the Gardner-Harvey Library
The Gardner-Harvey Library (GHL; John Burke, director) of Miami University Middletown provides resources, space, and knowledgeable staff to help patrons find and use information. GHL includes a local collection of 30,000 books and DVDs; virtual collection of many thousands of full-text articles, digital reference sources, and e-books; and borrowing agreements with other Miami/OhioLINK libraries for 46 million resources. The library is available for use by Miami Middletown students and faculty, as well as by the general public. The Community Borrower Card is offered to greater Middletown community members over the age of 16. Community borrowers may borrow materials from the Gardner-Harvey Library as well as from other Miami University and OhioLINK libraries. To apply for a card, come to the Library’s front desk and be sure to bring valid photo identification.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Based in Minneapolis, 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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