Sangamon County to read and celebrate “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren
SPRINGFIELD, 2/4/21 — The Academy of Lifelong Learning (ALL) at Lincoln Land Community College will host the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read in Sangamon County during March and April 2021.
ALL is one of 84 nonprofit organizations selected to receive an NEA Big Read grant to support a community reading program.
The NEA Big Read: Sangamon County will focus on “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren. Fifty local organizations have partnered with ALL to develop and offer free, fun and educational community-wide book discussions, speakers, interactive programs and arts presentations inspired by the book’s themes.
Over 1,000 copies of “Lab Girl” will be distributed free of charge via drive-through events, in addition to copies available for checkout at 15 local libraries. Citizens are invited to read the same book and hold discussions about the issues and themes presented.
“We are honored to offer the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read program in Sangamon County this year,” said Kathy Dehen, president of the LLCC Academy of Lifelong Learning. “’Lab Girl‘ is a memoir by American geochemist, geobiologist and professor Hope Jahren and explores how she found sanctuary in science and triumphs and discoveries in scientific research. The NEA Big Read has been brought to our community through the efforts of many volunteers who have been working through the past year to make this possible as we inspire conversation and discovery in our communities.”
The NEA Big Read Sangamon County includes three virtual keynote speakers. Kathryn Harris, 2020 State Journal-Register First Citizen Award winner and retired librarian, will deliver a kickoff address on March 2 titled “Reading Science, Reading Together.” Emily Graslie, host of “Prehistoric Road Trip” on PBS and creator of YouTube’s “The Brain Scoop” will discuss “The Power of Curiosity” on March 25. “Lab Girl” author Hope Jahren will deliver a keynote address on April 17 live from Oslo, Norway.
Visit www.llcc.edu/nea-big-read-sangamon-county for a full calendar of events, book distribution points and partner organizations.
Hope Jahren is an award-winning scientist who has been pursuing independent research in paleobiology since 1996, when she completed her Ph.D. at University of California Berkeley and began teaching and researching first at the Georgia Institute of Technology and then at Johns Hopkins University. She is the recipient of three Fulbright Awards and is one of four scientists, and the only woman, to have been awarded both of the Young Investigator Medals given within the Earth Sciences. She was a tenured professor at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu from 2008 to 2016 where she built the Isotope Geobiology Laboratories, with support from National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. She currently holds the J. Tuzo Wilson professorship at the University of Oslo, Norway.
“During this time of social isolation throughout our country, we have become more aware of the important ways the arts help us connect with others, and how they bring meaning, joy and comfort to our lives,” said Mary Ann Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “By bringing the NEA Big Read to the Sangamon County area, the Academy of Lifelong Learning at Lincoln Land Community College will provide thoughtful and fun programming while also strengthening community bonds.”
ALL at LLCC offers opportunities for anyone 50 and over to stay mentally and physically active. Classes and activities are planned and led by members who enjoy meeting interesting friends, sharing ideas, exploring topics of interest, learning from one another and having fun.
Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,600 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $22 million to organizations nationwide. Over the past 13 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, including book and author information, podcasts and videos, visit arts.gov/neabigread.