University Libraries One of 75 Organizations Nationwide to Receive a Big Read Grant

News item published on: 2015-06-03 11:08:57

June 2015

Jennifer Brannock and Sarah Mangrum in University Libraries at The University of Southern Mississippi are recipients of a Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Brannock and Mangrum will receive $10,000 and University Libraries was one of 75 organizations to receive the grant, which total more than $1 million.

“Southern Miss has a tradition of receiving this grant to benefit the campus and the local community. With assistance from the Department of English, Department of Theatre, Department of History, Department of Art & Design, School of Mass Communications & Journalism, and the Hattiesburg Public Library, we will be able to host the amazing events we have planned,” said Brannock, Curator of Rare Books and Mississippiana.

The Big Read grant will support programming related to the stories and poetry of Edgar Allan Poe including book discussions, exhibits, scholarly lectures, film showings, and a live radio performance. These events will occur this fall, with a kick-off event in early October on campus and across the community. A schedule of events will be released at a later date.

“This grant project is a wonderful opportunity to connect the University with the Hattiesburg community as we all join together to promote literacy and encourage discussions around our selected book,” said Mangrum, Circulation Librarian.“We are fostering partnerships not only within the community, but also within the University. The campus partnerships will provide hands-on opportunities for student learning. We have such talented students and faculty at Southern Miss, and I am looking forward to showcasing their talents through some of our planned programs.”

The Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Managed by Arts Midwest, this initiative offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book. Each organization will develop unique programming that will provide their communities with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 37 selections from U.S. and world literature.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The Big Read is a powerful example of how the arts can bring communities together and help us to connect with one another. These 75 organizations are creating valuable opportunities for their communities to share wonderful stories and characters and to have meaningful conversations.”

For more information on the grant and the events, contact Jennifer Brannock and 601.266.4347 or or Sarah Mangrum at 601.266.4251 or . For more information on the Big Read visit