Public Library with LitYoungstown receives grant

The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) with LitYoungstown received a grant of $15,000 to host the NEA Big Read in Mahoning County.

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.

The Grant to PLYMC with LitYoungstown is one of 78 given to nonprofits by NEA Big Read to host a community reading program between September 2019 and June 2020. The NEA Big Read in Mahoning County will focus on “Into the Beautiful North” by Luis Alberto Urrea, who will make appearances in Mahoning County this fall. The community will be encouraged to read “Into the Beautiful North” at that time.

Information about the author visit and surrounding events will be released as soon as possible after final arrangements are made.

“We are very excited to have received a grant for an NEA Big Read in our community,” Aimee Fifarek, PLYMC Executive Director, said. “What a wonderful opportunity to bring a love of reading to our area along with LitYoungstown. We are very happy that the grant will enable us to bring noted author Luis Alberto Urrea to Mahoning County this fall. We hope the community will join us to celebrate reading, thanks to this NEA Big Read grant.”

“It is inspiring to see both large and small communities across the nation come together around a book,” said National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “We always look forward to the unique ways cities, towns, and organizations, like the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County and Lit Youngstown, explore these stories and encourage community participation in a wide variety of events.”

The NEA Big Read showcases a diverse range of titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single National Endowment for the Arts Big Read selection. 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. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Throughout the past 12 years, grantees have leveraged more than $50 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. 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, visit

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