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This paper will discuss The Big Read, a program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which fosters community participation in revitalization of reading, encourages appreciation of literature, and sparks dialogue about how reading for pleasure and enlightenment can benefit our communities. I will talk about the critical need for more classicists to be involved in events such as this as a way of establishing and maintaining a two-way dialogue in our communities about the value of the past.

My paper will consist of the following sections:

  1. A brief history of The Big Read.
  2. Why participate in The Big Read?
  3. Tips on how to get a grant from NEH.
  4. Ways to incorporate a diverse population.

My own experiences as a participant in the 2012 Alachua County Library’s The Big Read project on Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea will provide the backdrop for discussing why it is so important for public libraries to be included in our outreach programs and how I integrated Vergil’s Aeneid into the event.