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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.

Events

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

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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The American Promise: The Immigrant View

Although three of the top ten most diverse cities in the United States are located in Montgomery County, according to a 2018 report by the personal finance website WalletHub, in reality immigrant voices are rarely heard. In The American Promise: The Immigrant View, a new series of oral history promotional spots produced by Montgomery Community Media, four residents break the silence and share their views on the immigrant experience in Montgomery County.

The participants are Montgomery County residents Jhoan Sebastian Santos, from Colombia, John Kolm from Australia, Olive Idehen from Nigeria and Monica Costa from Brazil. The residents’ oral histories provide insights and reactions to building new lives here and offer tips to new arrivals. The promos will be broadcast on Channels 19, 21 and 995 HD as well as being posted online.

The American Promise: The Immigrant View, promotional oral history spots are part of NEA Big Read Montgomery and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read, in partnership with Arts Midwest. NEA Big Read Montgomery is a partnership between Montgomery Community Media, Montgomery County Public Libraries, Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, the Gaithersburg Book Festival and Montgomery History.

Gaithersburg (No. 6), Silver Spring (No. 4) and Germantown (No. 8) were chosen from more than 300 of the nation’s most populated cities in a WalletHub Diversity Study, using criteria based on household, religious, social class, racial and economic diversity. You can view the study and the entire list of cities online.

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