The Big Read Blog (Archive)

The Big Read in DC

February 11, 2009
Washington, DC

It was great to see Big Read organizers -- and community members eager to get involved -- gather for a meet-and-greet at the DC Historical Society. The Society is housed in a Carnegie Library, which used to serve as DC?s main public library. How fitting a Big Read meeting spot with ?Shakespeare? and ?Homer? inscribed around the entryway ceiling!

The Humanities Council of DC received a Big Read grant to do a city-wide read this spring of Carson McCullers?s The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Friday?s meet-and-greet had a sprinkling of star power: George Pelecanos, the DC Big Read?s honorary chair. Many know him as one of the writers and producers of HBO?s hit drama The Wire. Pelecanos is also a successful author known for his detective and crime fiction set in Washington, DC. He spoke briefly about the attainability of books ? how anyone with the will can find reading. However brief, his comments stuck with me. (That?s me in the pink by the way.)  As libraries nationwide face funding cuts and staffing shortages, we must remain cognizant of the inclusivity of books -- made widely available thanks to public libraries. Anyone can walk through those doors. And whether you see Shakespeare or a comic book in your future, the world of books is freely at your fingertips. A library, a book: It?s a beautiful, just thing.

DC Big Read organizer Michon Boston (far left) and Honorary Chair George Pelecanos (3rd from left) with some of the NEA?s Big Read team at a "get involved" session for The Big Read in the nation's capital, which kicks off  April 22.