Montclair Public Library Awarded National Grant

August 8, 2014 at 10:50 PM

MONTCLAIR, NJ - The Montclair Public Library (MPL) has been selected to receive a 'Big Read' grant this year, thus making MPL the only library in northern New Jersey to receive the award.  MPL is one of 77 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive a grant from Arts Midwest to host a Big Read project between September 2014 and June 2015.

Montclair Public Library has received the grant to host the 'Big Read' in Montclair.  'Big Read' is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts that is designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture by exposing citizens to great works of literature and encouraging them to read for pleasure and enrichment.
MPL staff are eagerly preparing for its first participation in the nationwide 'Big Read'.  The purpose of the grant is to promote literacy within Montclair and among the neighboring communities.
The Big Read in Montclair will focus on Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies, with activities taking place between September 15 and October 26.

NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa said, “While the act of reading is usually a solitary one, through the Big Read it will become a social one. This year's Big Read grant recipients are not only playing an important role in encouraging reading but are also developing creative opportunities to involve all members of their communities  to come together to discuss and celebrate these great works on literature."

The library will host a kick-off event on Saturday, September 20 in the main library auditorium, and wrap up the literacy campaign with a virtual talk by Julia Alvarez in late October. MPL Big Read partner Montclair High School will have its Honors Spanish students read In the Time of the Butterflies in Spanish.

The library will also coordinate with Succeed2gether, whose tutors and students will read Alvarez's Secret Footprints and Before We Were Free. This outreach to students will include discussion and/or an essay-writing contest. Essay entries will be displayed in the library's third floor Children's Room from October 18 through October 26.

Thematic, cultural and historical programming will supplement adult, young adult and ESL book discussions and author events throughout the campaign. Activities include a healthy Latin cuisine demonstration provided by Whole Foods, a merengue dance class, a screening of the film based on the novel, citizenship classes and a Montclair State University Spanish guitar ensemble. For more information, visit

The NEA has also developed high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each of the 36 'Big Read' title selections from U.S. and world literature, including reader’s guides, teacher’s guides, and audio programming, all of which are available to the public on the NEA 'Big Read' website.

For more information about the 'Big Read' please visit

About Montclair Public Library

Founded in 1893, the Montclair Public Library serves the citizens of Montclair, New Jersey through two facilities: the Main Library at 50 S. Fullerton Avenue and the Bellevue Branch at 185 Bellevue Avenue.  The mission of the Montclair Public Library is to change lives every day through words, ideas, and community connections.  The library’s vision is to be the place where community happens—the center of the Montclair community.

About The National Endowment for the Arts

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

About Arts Midwest

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


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