EPL One of 75 Organizations to Receive a Big Read Grant

altEvanston Public Library is a recipient of a $15,000 grant to host The Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts and managed by Arts Midwest.The Library is one of 75 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive a grant to host this comprehensive community reading program between September 2015 and May 2016.

altThe Big Read in Evanston will focus on Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea. The novel is set in the highly charged world of the U.S.--Mexico border which Urrea, the son of an American mother and Mexican father, considers as a place of connection as well as divide.

"The Big Read is the perfect way to engage residents of all ages in an important community project. It provides the opportunity for teachers, students, adults and seniors to consider and discuss immigration and the immigrant experience over a series of months," said Karen Danczak Lyons, EPL Library Director.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The Big Read is a powerful example of how the arts can bring communities together and help us to connect with one another. These 75 organizations, including Evanston Public Library, are creating valuable opportunities for their communities to share wonderful stories and characters and to have meaningful conversations.”

For the kick-off event Evanston Public Library will host Danzas Ceremoniales de Mexico. 100 copies of the book will be available at end of the event for program attendees. In March 2016, Luis Alberto Urrea will be presenting a wonderful keynote speech at Evanston Township High School.  Several book discussions throughout the community, lectures from Northwestern professors, a film series, Mexican crafts and storytimes for children, and events for teens will be included in The Big Read.

Partnerships with school districts 65 and 202, as well as with the City of Evanston and local senior facilities will encourage all of Evanston to participate in The Big Read.

The Big Read provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 37 selections from U.S. and world literature. It is designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The 75 selected organizations will receive Big Read grants to promote and carry out community-based reading programs. The NEA has also developed high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title, including reader’s guides, teacher’s guides, and audio programming, all of which are available to the public on

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



altMonday, September 28, 6 p.m., Community Meeting Room, Main Library

 The Evanston Public Library and Northwestern University's Middle East and North African Studies (MENA) Program present the latest in our continuing series of lectures regarding the culture, politics, religion, and society of the Middle East and North Africa.  This panel will feature journalist Meline Toumani, author of There Was and There Was Not, and two respondents from the Northwestern Faculty:  Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (Associate Professor of Political Science and MENA), and İpek Yosmaoğlu  (Associate Professor of History and MENA).  Panelists will explore the perspectives of a new generation of commentators on the history and politics surrounding the Armenian genocide and its legacy, the politics of recognition, and the potential of listening to new voices and views as Armenians, Turks, and others navigate life in the present given the events of the past.  

 All are welcome to attend.  We ask that you register online to help us plan for this event.  


titleMonday-Saturday, August 10-15, North Branch

The North Branch of the Evanston Public Library will close at 6 pm Saturday, August 8 and reopen on Monday, August 17 at 10 am. Staff will be remodeling the circulation desk. Patrons are encouraged to pick up all reserves by by Saturday, August 8 or change the pickup location to the Main or CAMS branch or suspend them until we reopen.

The book drop will remain open during this period. 

Questions: contact the North Branch at 847-866-0330.



Wednesday, July 29, 7 pm, Community Meeting Room, Main Library

Come meet famed Chicago journalist Kenan Heise as he reads from his new autobiography He Writes About Us.  Praised by former Tribune columnist Bob Greene for having "the eyes of a newspaperman and the heart of a poet," Heise pays tribute to the journalists who gave him his start and recounts how epilepsy and the Franciscan Order of monks shaped his commitment to telling the stories of ordinary people.  Copies of He Writes About Us will be available to purchase.   

Kenan Heise spent 36 years as a Chicago Tribune reporter and obituary writer and is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame.  A prolific author and poet, he's written or collaborated on over 25 books and memoirs including the pioneering oral history They Speak for Themselves: Interviews with the Destitute of Chicago.



Monday, August 3, 1 pm, Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Avenue

Come join us for an informal conversation about books and authors.  Share your recent reads and book recommendations.  Receive new reading suggestions from others.  This group will meet at the Levy Senior Center at 300 Dodge Avenue on the first Monday of each month from 1-2 p.m. 

Dates in 2015: August 3, August 31*, October 5, November 2, December 7

No registration required.  

 *We will meet on August 31st in lieu of Labor Day



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