TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Backed by a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vigo County Public Library will participate in the Big Read for a fifth consecutive year. This year’s title that participants will read and discuss is Emily St. John Mandel’s “Station 11,” about a nomadic theatrical troupe wandering the Great Lakes region after a pandemic devastates the planet.
The library is giving out 3,000 copies of the book both at the library and throughout the Wabash Valley to community libraries, high schools and small book clubs in local counties, where the community will read the book and then have a group discussion about it. The book will be available beginning Monday.
Despite the book’s timeliness — it was a National Book Award finalist when it came out in 2014 — Sara Trover, the library’s project and event manager, said the book had been chosen before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though this is its fifth year participating in the Big Read, the library has hosted community reads for 20 years.
“I think we’re a community that appreciates the arts. We’re a community that supports the arts,” Trover said. “We’re a community that will come out to see our shows, will go to concerts, will listen to lectures about artists and about authors, and I think we need to be really proud of ourselves.”
This year’s Big Read keynote speaker is Dr. Laura Bates, a local English professor who wrote “Shakespeare Saved My Life.” People can get a Zoom link for that March 6 event on the library’s website.
The library has already applied for a grant for next year’s Big Read, Trover said. “Our community really does rally around this, so I hope to do a community read no matter what, whether we receive the grant or not, but having the backing of the National Endowment of the Arts is something we really appreciate, of course,” she added.