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Big Read comes to Las Cruces

The New Mexico State University Library has been awarded a $10,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to present a Big Read festival to be held in Dona Ana County this fall.


The Big Read is a national initiative of the NEA, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest, that encourages reading by asking communities to come together to read and discuss books. Big Read grants were awarded to 117 communities nationwide last spring.

The month-long Dona Ana County festival will feature a variety of programming and activities for all ages, promoting the communitywide reading of the novel "Bless Me, Ultima" by New Mexican author Rudolfo Anaya.

The success of this project is dependent upon securing matching funds from businesses and private donors in our community. NMSU and the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico (CFSNM) are partnering in the fundraising effort.

The Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, the libraries of the Las Cruces Public Schools, the Dona Ana Arts Council, the CFSNM and many more community partners will sponsor book discussion groups, programs, contests and other events related to "Bless Me, Ultima."

"We are excited to join together in encouraging everyone to celebrate Anaya's classic novel," said Mardi Mahaffy, the project director and the humanities librarian at the NMSU Library. "The festival will bring local families together toward a common goal of reading. And it will be a lot of fun!"

Organizations interested in participating in the Big Read are invited to contact Mahaffy at (505) 646-6925 or mmahaffy@lib.nmsu.edu. Contributors wishing to support the Big Read festival are asked to send a check payable to the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico.

For more information on contributions, contact Connie Loyd at (505) 646-3642 or clouloyd@nmsu.edu.