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Library to Launch JAX Reads!/NEA Big Read Feb. 1 (Jan. 31, 2017)

Community Invited to Read and Discuss Same Book Feb. 1 through March 11

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan. 31, 2017 – As a grant recipient from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Jacksonville Public Library, in partnership with WJCT, The Florida Times-Union, the Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library, and the Jacksonville Public Library Foundation,  will officially kick off the 2017 JAX READS!/NEA Big Read program on Wednesday, Feb. 1. The communitywide reading initiative encourages Jacksonville residents to read and discuss The Namesake, a New York Times best-seller and Notable Book selection, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri.

The public is invited to join City Council members, Board of Library Trustees, Jacksonville Public Library staff, and other special guests for the launch at the Main Library. A  proclamation from the Mayor’s office will be presented to proclaim Feb. 1 through March 11 as JAX READS!/NEA Big Read Month, and to urge residents to read the book together and take part in discussions, programs, and movie screenings at neighborhood libraries. All programs are free and open to the public. Information and a complete list of programs will be available at starting Feb. 1. Media can find information at

      WHEN:       Wednesday, Feb. 1                            
                             11:30 a.m. – New Arrivals area, 1st Floor
      WHERE:     Main Library
                              303 Laura St. N. – 32202
      PHOTO OPS:    Presentation of proclamation, unveiling of READ poster
                                        featuring members of The Roar of the Jacksonville Jaguars

Read, Share, Repeat
Copies of The Namesake will be placed throughout the city. People who find a copy are encouraged to read the book and join in activities at the library; take a selfie and share using #jaxreads or #NEABigRead; and leave the book for someone else to find and repeat the process. The Namesake also can be borrowed from the library in book, audiobook, and e-book and e-audio formats.

NEA Big Read
This year’s annual communitywide JAX READS! is part of the NEA Big Read, a special honor as Jacksonville Public Library was one of only 77 nonprofit organizations across the country to receive a grant to host the event. NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. JAX READS!/NEA Big Read runs through March 11 with discussions and activities at libraries.

Feb. 4 – Kickoff – From Abroad to America: Stories of Immigration and Cultural Identity
Hear stories of First Coast residents who came from Germany, Haiti, India and Ireland. Keynote presenter Mona Bhan, Ph.D., associate professor of Anthropology at DePauw University, will share her story on Feb. 4, 3 p.m. at the Main Library, Hicks Auditorium.

March 11 – Grand Finale with Filmmaker Mira Nair
JAX READS!/NEA Big Read culminates in a visit with internationally-acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair, director of The Namesake based on the novel, Monsoon Wedding, and other films on March 11, 1 p.m. at the Main Library, Hicks Auditorium. Free and open to the public.

The Jacksonville Public Library is committed to making its public programs accessible to all people. If you need special accommodations, please call 630-4665 (TTY 630-1999) at least 72 hours prior to the event.

About the Jacksonville Public Library 
The mission of the Jacksonville Public Library is to enrich lives, build community and foster success by bringing people, information and ideas together. Last year, more than 3.4 million visits were made to Jacksonville Public Libraries, items were checked out more than 5.7 million times, and over 13,000 programs and services were offered to Duval County residents at the Main Library and 20 branch locations. For more information about the Jacksonville Public Library, call 630-BOOK (2665) or visit


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jacksonville Public Library