NCCo. Libraries get fed. grant for reading program

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Education

The NEA grant will help the New Castle County Libraries create programming centered on a contemporary memoir.

The NEA grant will help the New Castle County Libraries create programming centered on a contemporary memoir.

New Castle County Libraries will get $20,000 through a federal grant to create programming around a memoir about immigration, assimilation and culture.

The 15 branches in the New Castle County library system will use “The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir” by Thi Bui as inspiration for the program.

“Thi Bui’s graphic memoir ‘The Best We Could Do’ was selected for its poignant portrayal of immigration, assimilation, culture and the lasting effects that displacement can have on a family,” said Matt Meyer, executive of New Castle County. “The book’s evocative illustrations draw the reader in and bring Bui’s story to life.”

The National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read initiative aims to broaden understanding of the world and local communities and residents through shared reading experiences. 

“The Big Read program will allow our community members to engage with important topics while considering how historical events and issues of cultural and self-identity shape our present and future,” Meyer said. 

New Castle County Libraries is one of 62 organizations in America picked to receive a 2023-2024 National Endowment for the Arts Big Read grant. 

The programming will take place between September and March 2024.

A total of $1,075,000 will be allocated to the 62 organizations as part of this year’s Big Read grant, which invests in nonprofit organizations to develop innovative programming around a contemporary book.

“We are immensely grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for their generous grant to Delaware, which will allow New Castle County to engage our community in meaningful conversations and inspire artistic responses,” said Jessica Ball, director of the Delaware Division of the Arts

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,800 Big Read programs, providing more than $25 million to organizations nationwide. More than six million Americans have attended a Big Read event, over 100,000 volunteers have participated at the local level. 

Created by Congress in 1965, the endowment is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide. Its goal is to advance equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice by fostering and sustaining an environment in which the arts benefit all Americans. 

“Through ‘The Best We Could Do,’ we hope to deepen our communities’ understanding of the immigrant experience and the resilience of families seeking a better future,” Ball said.

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