Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Big Read in Central Illinois is looking for your stories, poems, videos and artwork

Area libraries and cultural institutions participating in The Big Read in Central Illinois are sponsoring a community-wide contest that asks individuals to share a story, poem, video, or piece of artwork or mixed media that expresses the influence of music in their lives. The contest is inspired by Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, the book selection for The Big Read in Central Illinois. Throughout history music has been a prominent outlet for the expression of personal identity. For the novel’s main character Mick Kelly, music is a dream and a refuge, and offers her hope for a better future.

The “Under the Influence: Music that Inspires Expression Contest” is open to individuals ages 13 and older. Contest entries will be accepted online through Friday, January 7, 2011 and will be narrowed down to the top 12 finalists by a panel of judges from the various libraries. Once the 12 finalists are selected, the public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorites. Finalists can direct friends and family to the contest website to vote for them. Public votes will determine the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place contest winners. Prizes include: 1st place – Flip Video camera; 2nd place – iPod Nano; and 3rd place – iPod Shuffle. All of the 12 finalists will be invited to the kickoff event for The Big Read in Central Illinois at the University of Illinois Springfield on February 15, 2011 to accept their prizes. Entries from the top 12 finalists will be on display at the event.

For contestants who would like to produce a video entry, four of the participating libraries have flip video cameras that can be checked out by library members. Interested individuals or groups should visit the official contest website and click on HOW TOS for further details:

If you are interested in publicizing this contest please refer to Press on the official contest website: A full list of events planned for The Big Read in Central Illinois throughout the months of February and March 2011 can be found on the Big Read website: If you have any questions regarding the contest please contact Amanda Binder at University of Illinois Springfield at

The Big Read in Central Illinois is made possible by a grant issued to the Illinois State Library, a Division of the Office of the Secretary of State, by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support for the contest is provided by a grant issued to the Illinois State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Progam: ILEAD U (Illinois Libraries Explore, Apply and Discover).

Participating libraries in The Big Read in Central Illinois:

• Benedictine University, Becker Library
• Chatham Area Public Library
• Illinois Center for the Book
• Illinois State Library
• Illinois State Library Talking Book & Braille Service
• Jacksonville Public Library
• Lincoln Library, The Public Library of Springfield, Illinois
• Prairie Skies Public Library District
• Quiddity, International Literary Journal and Public-Radio Program
• Rochester Public Library
• Sherman Public Library District
• University of Illinois Springfield, Brookens Library
• Williamsville High School Library
• Williamsville Public Library

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