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Foundation to sponsor 'The Big Read'

July 07, 2007

The Community Foundation of Washington County MD Inc. will be sponsoring a nationwide reading program called The Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Studies have shown that literary reading is rapidly declining among American adults, especially the younger age groups. Studies also show that literary readers are more likely to perform volunteer and charity work than are nonliterary readers.

Through a competitive application process, the NEA has chosen 117 communities across the country to participate in the Big Read, which gives these communities the opportunity to promote, read, and discuss a single literary classic. For Washington County, that classic will be "To Kill a Mockingbird."

The eoundation has a budget of $30,000 to schedule a series of month-long events and activities centered around "To Kill a Mockingbird."

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We have recruited and received the support of every appropriate group and organization we could think of to make this promotion successful:

Washington County Library, Board of Education, Chamber of Commerce, Greater Hagers-town Committee, Hagerstown Community College, University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, Maryland Theatre, Authentic Community Theater, Bar Association, United Way of Washington County, The Herald-Mail Co., Benjamin Art Gallery. NBC25 WHAG, Discovery Station, Washington County Arts Council and the Sisters in Spirit Book Club.

The Big Read will kick off on Sunday, Sept. 23, with the showing of the famous Gregory Peck film in the Maryland Theatre, followed by a month's worth of events, activities and contests.

Please stay tuned to The Herald-Mail and NBC25 for a calendar of events. For more information, please call the foundation at 301-745-5210 and start reading!

Brad Sell is the executive director of the Community Foundation of

Washington County MD Inc.

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