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NEA Big Read

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) has received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read grant in partnership with the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (FOLMC), Montgomery Community Media, the Gaithersburg Book Festival, and Montgomery History. The Big Read goal is to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and spread the transformative power of literature into lives.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The NEA presents NEA Big Read in partnership with Arts Midwest.

NEA Big Read logoThe book selected for the 2018 Big Read in Montgomery County is The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by MacArthur Foundation Fellow Dinaw Mengestu . This book tells the story of the immigrant experience in Montgomery County and the Washington metropolitan area, including Silver Spring. Check out the book from MCPL or purchase a copy at a FOLMC bookstore. You can also get more information about the NEA Big Read, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears .

Want to expand your reading beyond The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears? Explore our suggested reading lists with recommended fiction and nonfiction titles for readers of all ages.

A series of events and activities throughout Montgomery County are planned as part of the Big Read. These events and activities will celebrate the diverse immigrant experiences that residents have brought to the County—enriching it, and making it an even greater place to live. See the planned events below. Please check this site regularly as more events will be added.


Other Events

Author Panel

The Mansion at Strathmore | March 22, 11 am. Tickets required.

Official Kick-off: DiverseCity Showcase of the City of Gaithersburg

Center Court, Lakeforest Mall, 701 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg, MD 20877 | April 14, 12–4 pm

The American’s Promise: Immigration in Montgomery County

Available via livestream on | April 10, 7 pm

Typewriter-Pop-Up Exhibit

Beall-Dawson Museum, 103 W. Montgomery Ave., Rockville, MD 20850 | April 12, 12–4 pm

Music with DJ GeeMan (Haile Gebru)

Silver Spring Library | April 21, 11 am

Red Sea Recordings: The Recording Industry in Eritrea

Silver Spring Library | April 21, 12:30 pm

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Friends of the Library Bookstore, Old Silver Spring Library | 8901 Colesville Road | May 12, 11 am. Register online beginning in April.

Gaithersburg Book Festival

Gaithersburg City Hall Grounds | May 19, 10 am–6 pm



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