The Monmouth County Library's 2013 program, The Big Read, was recognized by the New Jersey State Library with an award for multicultural programming.
The Monmouth County Library was one of three New Jersey libraries honored with this award "for conducting outstanding multicultural programs to engage cultural and ethnic communities in meaningful and effective partnerships" according to New Jersey State Librarian Mary Chute. The award was announced during a breakfast at the New Jersey Library Association Annual Conference, on June 4.
The Monmouth County Library was proud to partner with The Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education (Chhange) at Brookdale Community College for The Big Read.
The book that Chhange selected for The Big Read discussion was A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines, which takes place in the segregated South and is the tale of a man who is incarcerated and executed for a crime that he did not commit.
In support of Chhange's Big Read selection, the Monmouth County Library held about 24 separate events from February through May 2013 that included lectures and discussions on life in the segregated South, capital punishment, internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II, plus a screening of Central Park Five, and also of a documentary on the Nanking atrocities in which Japanese soldiers and Chinese survivors discussed their experiences.
The Library worked with school, churches, local chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Alliance for Preserving the History of World War II in Asia.
Other winning libraries were: Ocean County Library for their African-American Family Reunions, History & Genealogy program, and Willingboro Public Library for their African Immigrants in New Jersey – A Celebration program.
Each library received a $1000 award.