The Big Read is a big deal. It is an effort to encourage our community to be productive, civic-ly active and healthy. Good readers make that happen. Since 2003, your library has offered a community reading experience that helps combat the decline of civic, social, cultural and economic implications that occur when people spend less time reading.
The National Endowment for the Arts’ 2004 report To Read or Not to Read (.pdf) gives a reliable and comprehensive overview of American reading. Using statistics from the NEA’s Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, it showed that Americans were reading at significantly lower rates than 10 or 20 years earlier.
The report shows the decline in reading has an impact on everyone.
Your library is your place to help reverse these trends by sponsoring the 2013 Big Read experience, with everyone reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald in February. The story of Jay Gatsby’s desperate quest to get back his first love will come to life through a variety of literary and artistic programs to entice readers and nonreaders to this story. There will be programs focused on art, music, fashion, film, history and culture. Community groups will gather to discuss The Great Gatsby at the library and about town.
1. Employers now rank reading and writing as top deficiencies in new hires.
2. Good readers generally have more financially rewarding jobs.
3. Less advanced readers report fewer opportunities for career growth.
4. Good readers play a crucial role in our cultural and civic life.
5. Good readers make good citizens.
6. Poor readers are more likely than skilled readers to be high school dropouts.
7. Poor readers are more likely than skilled readers to be out of the workforce.
8. Poor reading skills are endemic in the prison population.
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.