Calling All Book Clubs and Reading Groups

The Literary Friends of the Library and the Friends Groups at branch libraries have joined forces to sponsor eight literary events in April and May as part of DC’s BIG READ.

The BIG READ is a month-long, citywide series of events centered

on one classic novel. The concept originated at Seattle Public Library in 1998 as

“If All of Seattle Read the Same

Book," and was later promoted by the Library of Congress Center for the

Book as “One Book, OneCity.”

After a 2004 study, Reading at Risk,found that reading for leisure was declining even among

literate Americans, the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, poet Dana

Gioia, adopted the popular idea for the NEA, which this year will provide

funding for more than 80 US cities and towns to hold BIG READ’s.

The DC Humanities

Council, recipient of an NEA grant to develop the series for DC, chose Their

Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston — an important writer of

the Harlem Renaissance who lived part of her life in DC.

Each event will feature readings or a speaker, followed by a discussion, and end with sharing experiences about reading groups. Book clubs and reading groups are a special focus of the series which will highlight the role libraries can play in supporting those groups. Individual members as well as whole groups are encouraged to attend.

Friends of the Library events are as follows:

Date Library Featuring
Wed April 25 at 6:30 pm Northeast Branch 330 7th Street, NE at Maryland Ave Pontheola MAck Abernathy and the Reverend Paul Abernathy
Wed May 2 at 6:30 pm Woodridge Branch 1801 Hamlin Street, NE at Rhode Island Ave Actress/playwright Joy Jones
Sun May 6 at 2 pm Petworth Branch 4200 Kansas Ave, NW at Georgia and Upshur
Mon May 7 at 6:30 pm Mt. Pleasant Branch Author Gayle Wald and Jennifer James