Library Receives Big Read Grant

Jul 24, 2009

The Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has received a $15,150 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to promote and host Big Read programs between September 2009 and June 2010.

The Big Read is an initiative of NEA, designed to bring communities together to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 30 selections from U.S. and world literature. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and in cooperation with Arts Midwest.

The University Library was chosen to highlight Sun, Stone, and Shadows: 20 Great Mexican Short Stories edited by Jorge F. Hernández.  The anthology presents a selection of the finest Mexican short stories ever written, and offers a glimpse into a diverse and fascinating culture. Authors include Juan Rulfo, Octavio Paz, Rosario Castellanos, and Carlos Fuentes.

The University of Illinois Library was one of 269 communities selected for the 2009-2010 Big Read grant.  It will receive high-quality educational materials to supplement Sun, Stone, and Shadows: 20 Great Mexican Short Stories, including reader’s guides, teacher’s guides, and audio guides—free-of-charge. 

“The NEA Big Read program exemplifies how literacy and reading can really bring together people in the community,” said Emily Love, outreach librarian for multicultural services and assistant professor of library administration at the University’s Undergraduate Library.  “The Maltese Falcon and The Death of Ivan Ilyich were highlighted locally in recent years.  We’re looking forward to an exciting series of public events in 2010 with Sun, Stone, and Shadows.” 

The University Library will launch its program with a kick-off event on April 2, 2010.  It will partner with the University of Illinois Alumni Association, local schools and media, and many community partners, including the Champaign Public Library, the Urbana Free Library, and the Latino Partnership of Champaign.  Other Big Read programming events will include public readings, a film screening, lectures, book discussions, and a photographic exhibition, “Life in a Border Town,” on loan from South Texas College. 

Contact Emily Love at or (217) 333-3285 for information relevant to the University Library’s participation in the 2009-2010 Big Read initiative. 

For more information about The Big Read, visit

Do you have a story you'd like added to the Library News & Events? If so, please contact Heather Murphy (