Galesburg Public Library

NEA Big Read

Galesburg Public Library is a recipient of a grant of $11,800 to host the NEA Big Read in Galesburg. 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. Galesburg Public Library is one of 61 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program in 2022.

The NEA Big Read in Galesburg will focus on An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo during the month of April in 2022. Joy Harjo is the current United States Poet Laureate and the first Native American to hold that title. An American Sunrise is a book of poetry informed by the history of her tribe – the Muscogee (Creek) people – and her connection to the land. Galesburg Public Library and its partners will bring fun and educational programming celebrating the book to Galesburg during this time. There will be free speakers, craft programs, book discussions, and other fun activities for all ages. Free copies of the book will be given away at the library. If your private book club is interested in receiving free copies of the book, please contact the NEA Big Read Coordinator at 309-343-6118 or

“For 15 years the NEA Big Read has supported opportunities for communities to come together around a book, creating a shared experience that encourages openness and conversations around issues central to our lives,” said Ann Eilers, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “We congratulate the Galesburg Public Library for receiving an NEA Big Read grant and look forward to a wide variety of meaningful community events.” 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. “We’re inspired by the creativity of this year’s NEA Big Read grantees, who are finding new ways to bring people together after a challenging year,” said Torrie Allen, President & CEO of Arts Midwest. “We are proud to support these organizations and communities as they explore the richness and diversity of American history and culture together through reading.”

The books available for the 2021-2022 NEA Big Read explore different aspects of American history and culture. Grantees are developing programming that helps communities to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are today, and where we’re going. Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,700 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $23 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past 15 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, over 90,000 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

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 Arts Endowment 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. 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 35 years. For more information, please visit

National Endowment for the Arts

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
Attendance at library programs and events and participating in library-related activities
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The Big Write

The Galesburg Public Library’s Annual Creative Writing Contest

Sponsored by the Friends of the Library

Part of Galesburg Public Library’s NEA Big Read of American Sunrise by Joy Harjo. NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

(A paper copy of the Submission Guidelines can be picked up at the library’s Reference Desk from January to the deadline.)

Three categories of submissions are being accepted:

  • Short Stories
  • Nonfiction essays (for adults only)
  • Poetry and song lyrics

Submissions will be grouped into four levels:

  • Adult
  • 9th-12th Grade
  • 6th-8th Grade
  • 3rd-5th Grade


Up to three winners in each age group and category will be awarded prizes of $10 to $25.

  • All submissions must be the original and creative work of the person submitting them and should have been written within the last year.
  • Each contestant may submit up to two short stories and two poems. Adults may also submit up to two nonfiction essays.
  • The submissions do not have to be written exclusively for the Big Write; they may be submitted to other contests.
  • No information identifying the entrant may be included on any pages except the cover page. The cover page should include the contestant’s name, street address, email address if available, and phone number if available. The cover page should also specify the contestant’s level (adult, 9th-12th grade, 6th-8th grade, or 3rd-5th grade).
  • Short stories (and nonfiction essays for adults only) must be typed in 12 point type and can be no longer than 8 pages double-spaced.
  • Poems and stories submitted electronically may be published in a local newspaper or online. Submission indicates your permission for the entry to be published. No short stories or poems will be returned.
  • Writers can reside outside the Galesburg/Knox County area.

The submission deadline is 11:59 pm on Monday, March 7, 2022.

Materials may be emailed to, dropped off in person at the library (in the bookdrop if we are not open), or emailed to Writing Contest, Galesburg Public Library, 40 E. Simmons St., Galesburg, Il 61401. Electronic submissions are preferred. Contest winners only will be notified in the middle of April. A list of winners will be available at the library.

A reception for winners, entrants, friends, family, and the community will be held at the library in late April.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Galesburg Public Library, the 2022 Big Write is part of Galesburg Public Library’s NEA Big Read of American Sunrise by Joy Harjo. NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. For more information about The Big Write or The Big Read, call (309) 343-6118 or email

Ghosts of Galesburg

Ghosts of Galesburg is an annual walking tour presented by the Galesburg Public Library and the Galesburg Historical Society. Every year, around Halloween, certain “ghosts” from Galesburg’s past return to their old stomping grounds to speak about their lives. Check back next year for more information about the 2022 tour — Ghosts of Galesburg: Greatest Hits!