About the NEA Big Read-Dearborn

A program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read aims to broaden our understanding of our world, communities, and ourselves through sharing the joy of a good book. For a fourth time, Dearborn Public Library is one of 75 organizations nationwide that received this grant to host an NEA Big Read program in their community. The amount awarded is $15,000. NEA Big Read-Dearborn, themed The World Is Your Lab, will focus on Hope Jahren’s science memoir Lab Girl.

Here is a brief introduction to the book from the NEA Big Read website: 

The prologue to Jahren’s memoir is an invitation to the reader: to look out the window; to see something green; to home in on that vision of green—a tree, say; to look more closely at a leaf; and to ask a question about that leaf. “Guess what?” she then writes. “You are now a scientist. People will tell you that you have to know math to be a scientist, or physics or chemistry. They’re wrong…. What comes first is a question, and you’re already there” (p. 4). 

The adventure includes the following highlights:

  • Project Launch: Monday, October 14, 2019, 4 p.m.

Environmental Interpretive Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, 4901 Evergreen Rd.: Remarks by Mayor John B. O’Reilly, Jr., UM-D Chancellor Domenico Grasso, UM-D Naturalist Dorothy McLeer, among others; readings from Lab Girl; free tulip bulbs, courtesy of English Gardens; light refreshments

  • Kick-off: Saturday, March 7, 2020, 11 a.m.

The Henry Ford Museum, Anderson Theater, 20900 Oakwood Blvd.: keynote talk on Lab Girl by UM-AA Professor Selena Smith; remarks by Mayor O’Reilly and THF’s Curator of  Agriculture Debra A. Reid; free seeds and books; craft for all ages

  • Wrap-up: Saturday, April 25, 2020, 2 p.m.

Henry Ford Centennial Library, 16301 Michigan Ave.: presentation on the benefits of trees by Scott Racer, certified arborist, concluding with the planting of an oak tree

  • And…many more fun and exciting events in March and April for children, teens, and adults

Many local organizations have partnered with the library to help make this project a success. Organizations or businesses interested in being involved with the NEA Big Read-Dearborn should contact the library at (313) 943-2037.

Dearborn Public Library’s first NEA Big Read was focused on The Call of the Wild by Jack London in 2014; the second was Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe in 2016; and the third was The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri in 2018.

Please visit dearbornlibrary.org or bigreaddearborn.org for updates on the NEA Big Read-Dearborn.

About the NEA Big Read

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $20 million to organizations nationwide. More than 5.7 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 91,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 39,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit arts.gov/neabigread.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

About Arts Midwest

Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years. For more information, please visit artsmidwest.org.

“The World Is Your Lab” Logo Credit

The beaker, font, and plant were designed by Mayla Harp of the Dearborn Public Library. The globe was designed by Julia Kapilango of Artspace.