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NEA Big Read: Des Moines

NEA Big Read

The Des Moines Public Library is thrilled to announce that we will be participating in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read program. The library is one of 84 nonprofits, libraries, and organizations that were awarded grants for the 2020-2021 program.

The NEA Big Read program, managed by Arts Midwest, aims to inspire conversation and discovery through conversation about a common book. The Des Moines Public Library has selected Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, for discussion in our community.

“The Des Moines Public Library is thrilled to be a recipient of this prestigious grant,” Susan A. Woody, DMPL Director, said. “We look forward to working with various community organizations and partners to host programs that will engage the community in dialogue and conversation around this important, timeless work of literature.”

With the grant, the library, in partnership with the Des Moines Public Library Foundation and various community collaborators, will guide the Des Moines community through a community reading program. We are working with other central Iowa organizations to host a series of programs, panel discussions, book clubs, and community activities centered on Fahrenheit 451 and its themes. 

The Des Moines Public Library chose Fahrenheit 451 for a number of reasons, including: to encourage the reading of classic works of literature; and to explore themes in the novel still relevant today on the conflict between free expression and censorship, the value of authentic human interaction, the role technology plays in people’s lives, and more. Programs and discussions will also explore how the themes of the book can and should be updated and modernized to include more inclusive viewpoints and characters.

Those activities and programs were originally scheduled to take place this fall, but will be postponed until 2021 as a result of ongoing COVID pandemic.

More information will be released in the coming months. Check back here for updates on 2021 NEA Big Read: Des Moines events and more!