Niobrara County News

The Big Read: Wyoming reads My �ntonia

It’s a Big Read for a big state. This fall, Niobrara County will be one of 13 of Wyoming’s 23 counties to read, discuss and fall in love with the book: My �ntonia by Willa Cather.

My �ntonia is Cather’s classic novel that explores the struggle of pioneer life on the prairie. The story centers on a spirited Bohemian immigrant girl, �ntonia Shimerda (pronounced AN-ton-ee-ah, stressing first syllable, as in “Anthony”). The story is told through the eyes of �ntonia’s childhood friend, Jim Burden.

Wyoming’s Big Read starts on September 12 when Wyoming Public Television airs the documentary, “Willa Cather: The Road is All.” It gets its big kickoff with several events at Wyoming Book Festival on September 15, including a free giveaway of 1,000 books.

From there, The Big Read moves out into community events in 13 counties: Albany, Campbell, Converse, Fremont, Johnson, Laramie, Lincoln, Niobrara, Park, Sheridan, Sweetwater, Uinta and Weston. The county library systems are planning book discussions, living history performances, children’s activities, dances, displays and more.

Monday, September 17 free books for people to “Catch, Read and Release” will be available at the Niobrara County Library. Statewide, more than 4,000 books will be released “into the wild” for people to read, share and discuss.

Some events at the Niobrara County Library will be the “Willa Cather and Material Culture” from the Cather Foundation in Red Cloud, Nebraska which will be on display at the library beginning September 17. Lynne Swanson will be on hand to present a living history presentation on the life of Willa Cather at the library on Wednesday, September 26. Book discussions as well as a film viewing will be held in October.

The Big Read is about how great stories connect us. “Yes, this is about reading,” NEA Chairman Dana Gioia said, “but it’s also about getting people to leave their homes and offices, unplug themselves for a few hours, and enjoy the pleasures of literature with their neighbors.”

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents the Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. Wyoming’s Big Read is a project of the Wyoming Center for the Book, in partnership with Wyoming libraries and the Wyoming School-University Partnership, and with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Wyoming Community Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation. For more information contact the Niobrara County Library at 334-3490.