New Castle County Libraries Receives a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Grant

New Castle County Libraries received the 2023-2024 NEA Big Read grant.

June 28, 2023—New Castle—New Castle County Libraries is one of 62 organizations nationwide selected to receive a 2023-2024 NEA Big Read grant. 

A grant of $20,000 will support a community reading program focusing on “The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir” by Thi Bui between September 2023 and March 2024. 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 power of a shared reading experience.

“New Castle County Libraries is excited to bring the NEA Big Read to our community. Thi Bui’s graphic memoir ‘The Best We Could Do’ was selected for its poignant portrayal of immigration, assimilation, culture, and the lasting effects that displacement can have on a family,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “The book’s evocative illustrations draw the reader in and bring Bui’s story to life. The Big Read program will allow our community members to engage with important topics while considering how historical events and issues of cultural and self-identity shape our present and future.”

“The NEA Big Read brings the transformative experience of reading to an entire community,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “This year’s grantees are taking themes off the page and using creative programming to navigate difficult topics, explore new perspectives, and strengthen bonds between neighbors.”

The NEA Big Read offers a range of titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new discoveries and connections in each community. 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 NEA Big Read selection.

“Using the captivating power of literature, NEA Big Read events unleash the creative spirit that resides within all of us,” said Torrie Allen, President and CEO of Arts Midwest. “We’re thrilled to support the work of grantees across the nation, including New Castle County Libraries, as they inspire conversations and artistic expressions through shared reading experiences.”

“We are immensely grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for their generous grant to Delaware, which will allow New Castle County to engage our community in meaningful conversations and inspire artistic responses,” said Jessica Ball, Director of the Delaware Division of the Arts. “Through ‘The Best We Could Do,’ we hope to deepen our communities’ understanding of the immigrant experience and the resilience of families seeking a better future.”

The NEA Big Read grant is part of a nationwide initiative that invests in nonprofit organizations to develop innovative programming around a contemporary book. This year, the NEA is investing a total of $1,075,000 to support 62 organizations, with New Castle County Government being one of the selected grantees.

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,800 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $25 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, NEA Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past 15+ years, grantees have leveraged more than $57 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 6 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, over 100,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and over 40,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, including book and author information, podcasts, and videos, visit

The mission of New Castle County Libraries is to enrich our community by providing library resources and services to meet the informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs of the citizens of New Castle County Libraries. Libraries serve as community centers where people come together to discuss, learn, grow, and share. Learn more at

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States. Visit to learn more. 

Arts Midwest supports, informs, and celebrates Midwestern creativity. We build community and opportunity across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, the Native Nations that share this geography, and beyond. As one of six nonprofit United States Regional Arts Organizations, Arts Midwest works to strengthen local arts and culture efforts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, state agencies, private funders, and many others. Learn more at


Contact: Catherine Wimberley, 302-395-5478 / [email protected]

Contact: Andy Truscott, 302-577-8280 / [email protected]

The Delaware Division of the Arts, a branch of the Delaware Department of State, is dedicated to cultivating and supporting the arts to enhance the quality of life for all Delawareans. Together with its advisory body, the Delaware State Arts Council, the Division administers grants and programs that support arts programming, educate the public, increase awareness of the arts, and integrate the arts into all facets of Delaware life. For more information about the Delaware Division of the Arts, visit or call 302-577-8278.

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