Southern Maryland residents gathered in libraries, auditoriums and even their own homes to take part in Southern Marylands The Big Read, a National Endowment of the Arts initiative that encourages residents to gather together and discover what happens between the pages. As part of The Big Read, the College of Southern Maryland sponsored a series of art and writing contests seeking responses to The Big Read selection, Ernest J. Gaines novel A Lesson Before Dying.
We were really impressed with the number of people who participated in The Big Read this year and we anticipate more with each passing year and reading selection. It really opened peoples eyes to the possibilities of community-wide reading and arts events and I think you will see CSM offering more events like The Big Read and the Twilight Performance Series in the future as a result, said Tom Repenning, CSMs library director and The Big Read organizer.
The following individuals have been recognized:
Age 17 and younger: Kodie Hayes Nanjemoy, North Point High School
Age 17 and younger: Andrew Bell, Waldorf
Age 18 and older: Carrie Akins, Waldorf
Age 17 and under: Tia Mason, Waldorf
Age 18 and older: Barbara Lilly, Port Tobacco
The Big Read contests were just one of the activities planned in association with The Big Read grant, received by the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) in partnership with the public libraries, public schools and the literacy councils of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties, as well as with the Office of Aging in St. Marys County, the Charles County Arts Alliance, Naval Surface Warfare Center-Indian Head, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Southern Maryland, Southern Maryland Newspapers and the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland.
The program is part of a nationwide effort of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The Big Read is designed to restore reading to the center of American culture by bringing together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.