The Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System One of 75 Organizations Nationwide to Receive an NEA Big Read Grant


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Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System

The Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System has received a grant of $14,000 to host the NEA Big Read at its 38 public libraries and their cultural partners in the Spring. It is one of 75 nonprofit organizations chosen for the Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. The grant will support activities from March to May, 2018, focusing on The Round House by Louise Erdrich.

Executive Director Eli Guinnee says the Library System is happy to bring the Big Read back to the region. “CCLS is thrilled to have this opportunity to work with a number of community partners to offer rich, meaningful programs that both celebrate the culture native to our region and foster dialogue on some of the difficult subjects in The Round House. Our libraries elevate the voices of the less heard in our communities, and facilitate understanding across cultures. We are very lucky to live in a multi-cultural area; through understanding we can better appreciate those cultures and how they intersect.”

A 2012 winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, The Round House shines light on issues surrounding domestic abuse, tribal justice and spirituality on an unnamed Indian reservation in North Dakota. Community Partners supporting reading of the book and associate activities will include The Seneca Nation of Indians, SUNY Fredonia, Erie 2 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES, Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, and Jamestown Community College.

The NEA Big Read showcases a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery.

“Through the NEA Big Read we are bringing contemporary works to communities across the country, helping us better understand the diverse voices and perspectives that come with it,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “These 75 organizations have developed unique plans to celebrate these works, including numerous opportunities for exploration and conversation.”

For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit

The Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System is a cooperative Public Library System serving 36 member libraries in a two-county area of 2,415 square miles. It is a rural area; most of its 215,222 people live in scattered hamlets and small villages. The member libraries serve populations ranging up to 31,146 but the majority serve populations of less than 4,000. All chartered public libraries in the System’s service area are members of the System. Visit to learn more about the system and your local public library.

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 NEA 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 to learn more about NEA.

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