Washington Public Library

Since being awarded an NEA Big Read grant, the Washington Public Library has been gearing up for a six-week programming period all of which starts Monday, Sept. 30.

A presentation titled “Fire, Pestilence and Death” will be given starting at 6:30 p.m. in conjunction with the book “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel.

The $15,000 Big Read grant was awarded to Scenic Regional Library, which is partnering with the city library, East Central College, East Central Area Literacy Council and the Scenic Regional Library Foundation. 

The goal of the Big Read program is to engage the community in reading the same book. Part of the preparation for the programming included a book giveaway at the beginning of this month. More than 1,800 copies had been purchased for the area.

The giveaway took place at all Scenic Regional Library branches and the Washington Public Library.

The city library distributed 125 books to area high schools, 38 books to the Washington Public Library’s book clubs and 75 books were given away at the main circulation desk.

“We ran out in a day and a half here,” said Nelson Appell, interim library director.

The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with Arts Midwest.

“It is fantastic that we got that many books in the public’s hands,” said Katie Dieckhaus, library board president.

The 2014 novel “Station Eleven” takes place in the Great Lakes region after a flu pandemic has devastated the world, killing most of the population. It won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, given for the best science fiction novel, in 2015.

“If you have not read this book yet, please read it,” said Diane Lick, board member.

The programming, centered around the book, will continue through Tuesday, Nov. 5. The author will conclude the program with a visit to the John Edson Anglin Performing Arts Center at ECC.

During the six-week period, 77 free programs will be offered through Gasconade, Franklin and Warren counties. Area high schools also are taking part by agreeing to incorporate the book into their senior English classes curriculum.

Scenic Regional Friends of the Library groups in Union, St. Clair, Warrenton, Pacific and Owensville purchased 750 copies for those classes.

An additional 1,000 paperback copies were purchased by Scenic Regional Library for the high schools and the public. Those copies were available at Neighborhood Reads, Washington. 

For more information on the program, visit www.scenicregional.org/bigread.