Meridian Star

September 8, 2013

MSU Riley Center among nationwide sites for The Big Read

Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     The MSU Riley Center has received a grant to host The Big Read in Meridian.

    The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest.The MSU Riley Center is one of 77 nonprofit organizations to receive a grant to host a Big Read project between September 2013 and June 2014.

    “We are so pleased to get this grant to emphasize the importance of reading for everyone in our community," said MSU Meridian Education Director Dr. Charlotte Tabereaux.

    "I want to say a special ‘thank you’ to each of our initial partners for supporting our effort ... The Meridian/Lauderdale County Public Library, MSU Meridian, Meridian Community College, Meridian Public School District and the Meridian Museum of Art. We hope that other organizations will also get involved,” Tabereaux said.

    NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa said, “It's wonderful to see that these 77 communities are making reading and the celebration of books a priority. I look forward to seeing the innovative ways they find to engage their community in these great works of classic and contemporary literature."     The Big Read in Meridian will focus on "Fahrenheit 45" by Ray Bradbury. Activities will kick off in October and continue for six weeks.  All events will be announced at a later date.

    The Big Read provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 31 selections from U.S. and world literature. The 77 selected organizations will receive Big Read grants to promote and carry out community-based reading programs featuring activities such as read-a-thons, book discussions, lectures, movie screenings, and performing arts events. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

    For more information about The Big Read, visit

    Opened in fall 2006, the MSU Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts main focus was to enrich, entertain, promote lifelong learning, and improve the quality of life for the people of Mississippi and West Alabama through education and the arts.

    Over the years, the MSU Riley Center has kept its focus strong by bringing in artists of all types and school plays for all ages. Just this past 2012-2013 season, the center brought in plays such as "Clifford the Big Red Dog" and the "Taming of the Shrew" that ranged from grades K-12. Now they are hosting The Big Read in order to better the community and the surrounding schools.

    "This is just another fun way the MSU Riley Center is helping invest in our community’s future," Tabereaux said.