New Hampshire Humanities Council
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What is NH Reading?
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Looking for a book discussion near you? View our Calendar page for a listing of upcoming programs, including book discussions, around the state sorted by date and by region.





What is NH Reading?

What is New Hampshire Reading? is a collaborative project between the NH Humanities Council and the New Hampshire State Library's Bookbag program.

Search the on-line book discussion catalog

NEW! The Humanities Council has received a grant from the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund
of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to fund book discussions in Coos County.
Learn more...

Any public library in New Hampshire can host book discussion programs through the New Hampshire Humanities Council. In addition, any community group or business can plan a book discussion series if they partner with their local public library. Typical sponsors are libraries, historical societies, businesses, professional organizations, senior centers, civic groups, service clubs, museums, arts groups, church groups and schools.

You can design your book discussion series with your participants in mind (members of your service club, for example), but all discussions must be free and open to the public.
Themes and books: You can choose from more than 50 discussion themes. Through the NH State Library, we lend copies of each book a month ahead of your program. This makes it easy for your participants to pick up and read the book before the discussion.

Each program is led by a scholar familiar with the author and book you will be discussing. The scholar’s role is to guide an open discussion of all aspects of the book; the scholar is also prepared to offer, within the discussion, information about the author and the book’s context, place in history and so on. Total program time is about an hour and a half, and programs are normally scheduled from two to four weeks apart.  

How to apply - Download our Book Discussion Application

First, plan the details of your program. You can run a single one-book program, or a multi-book (up to four books) series. You can choose from a multitude of books and series in our on-line book discussion catalog. Choose your booklist, meeting date(s) and scholar(s), and proceed as if your program will be accepted and funded.

1. Are the BOOKS available? Call the NH State Library’s Book Bag program (271-2616) to reserve the books. Books are delivered by library van to most libraries throughout the state. To see how many copies of each book are available, visit the NH State Library Book Bag website. If your group is not a public library, please check with your partnering library to arrange receipt and return of the books for your group. Most programs will ask participants to pick up books at the library; others may prefer to distribute books at the workplace or other site.

2. Is the SCHOLAR available? Schedule the scholar(s) at least TEN weeks ahead of time. Scholars are listed with each theme. A reading series with multiple books should have multiple book discussion scholars. In short, share a wealth of perspectives and vantage points with your community. Find the scholar's contact information in our on-line book discussion catalog and contact her or him to see if they are available to facilitate your dicussion or series. You can choose one scholar for your entire series or different scholars for different discussions. Be aware that each scholar does not lead discussions on all of the books on the list. Be aware, also, of mileage costs and, if possible, choose scholars near you to minimize costs.

3. Submit your application form to NHHC.
4. Be ready to meet your responsibilities as a book discussion sponsor:

Publicize the program effectively (We can help you with this!)
Recruit participants (a minimum of 10 per program; 17-20 is ideal at each program)
Reconfirm the scholar(s)
Choose a coordinator from your library or organization who will:
* serve as contact for the scholar(s) and NHHC
* be present for each session, taking care of set-up and closing,
and crediting NHHC for its support
* pay the scholar (usually done at the end of the program)
* distribute and collect evaluation forms at each session
* return the host and audience evaluation forms to NHHC within 2 weeks
after the program
* return books on time

What is New Hampshire Reading - Download our Book Discussion Application

You may submit this form via U.S. mail or fax. Programs are not officially booked until NHHC receives the appliation fee and approves your application. You will be notified of approval 2-3 weeks after the application is received.

Non-library sponsors should either collaborate with their local public library or contact NHHC for assistance in planning a book discussion series.

Want to move beyond What is New Hampshire Reading
themes and books? Apply for a

NHHC offers up to $2,500 in the form of mini-grants for innovative projects, including creating a humanities-centered book discussion series. NHHC’s funding could include basic costs like buying books and paying a discussion leader, and activities such as author visits, film discussions and cultural exhibits related to the series.

 Thank you for your interest in hosting a book discussion program!
Questions? Please call 224-4071.


Tillotson grant will support programming in NH's North Country

The Humanities Council has been awarded a grant from the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to support humanities programming in Coos County. The $6,450 grant will make possible fifteen Humanities to Go programs and eight book discussions in Coos County in 2011. Download the Tillotson book discussion application here.

Humanities Council Humanities to Go speakers bureau grants are available to all community organizations across the state regardless of location. However, due to geographic challenges far fewer programs take place in Coos County than in other counties. Of the 420 free Humanities to Go programs the Humanities Council funded in 2010, only 3 took place in Coos County, mainly because of travel and accomodation challenges for presenters, the vast majority of whom live in the state's southern tier.

The Humanities Council already pays up to $50 in mileage per Humanities to Go program with any remaining mileage costs covered by the program host, in addition to the $200 speaker stipend per program. The Tillotson grant will make it possible to increase those mileage payments to fully cover the cost of transportation to and from Coos County. It will also cover overnight accomodations and meals to make it feasible for scholars to travel to Coos County to present programs.

Because the grant covers a limited number of Humanities to Go programs and book discussions, Coos County community organizations and libaries are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible to qualify for these funds.

Information on how to apply for Humanities to Go programs and book discussions is available on here. You'll find searchable catalogs of Humanities to Go programs, book discussion series, and the scholars who present them. There are also directions on how to apply and downloadable application forms. Coos County applicants for programs through the Tillotson grant should use the form designated for that purpose. For more information, contact our office at 224-4071.

117 Pleasant Street, Concord, NH 03301 (603) 224-4071

FAX (603) 224-4072

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