Library, Lit Youngstown Get $15K NEA Grant

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The National Endowment for the Arts awarded a $15,000 grant to the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County and Lit Youngstown.

The grant to the two organizations is one of 78 given nationwide – and two in Ohio – to nonprofits to host the NEA Big Read, a community reading program offered in partnership with Arts Midwest, in Mahoning County. 

“We are very excited to have received a grant for an NEA Big Read in our community. What a wonderful opportunity to bring a love of reading to our area along with Lit Youngstown,” said Aimee Fifarek, library executive director, said, in a statement. “We hope the community will join us to celebrate reading, thanks to this NEA Big Read grant.”

“It is inspiring to see both large and small communities across the nation come together around a book,” said Mary Anne Carter, National Endowment for the Arts acting chairwoman, in a statement. “We always look forward to the unique ways cities, towns, and organizations, like the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County and Lit Youngstown, explore these stories and encourage community participation in a wide variety of events.”

The NEA Big Read in Mahoning County, which is expected to take place this fall, will focus on “Into the Beautiful North” by Luis Alberto Urrea, which members of the community will be encouraged to read. 

The grant money will be used for activities including bringing the author to town, purchasing books and licenses, and hosting book discussions and other events that highlight topics relevant to the book, said Karen Schubert, co-founder of Lit Youngstown, said Wednesday afternoon.

Those events will include staged readings, multimedia projects based on the book’s themes produced by the Youngstown State University art department, programming at Ohio State Penitentiary, Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown and Public Library branches, and a panel presented by the City Club of the Mahoning Valley, she said. 

“We are chuffed to be working with the Public Library and many partners to create a multilevel experience for the community,” Schubert said. “Receiving this prestigious grant is just the best thing since sliced bread.” 

Information about the author visit and surrounding events will be released as soon as possible after final arrangements are made, the library said.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.