Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2007
(October 1, 2006- September 30, 2007)
With its network of affiliated centers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and more than 80 organizations serving as national reading promotion partners, the Center for the Book remained one of the Library's most visible and dynamic educational outreach programs.
Since 1977, the center has used the prestige and resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books, reading, libraries and literacy and to encourage the study of books and the printed word. The Center for the Book continued to be a successful public-private partnership. As authorized by Public Law 95-129, the center’s projects and programs are supported by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations. Additional funding comes through interagency transfers from other government agencies. In fiscal year 2007, the Center for the Book received approximately $150,000 for projects and general support from outside the Library. The Library of Congress supports the center’s full-time positions.
Significant Center for the Book activities included:
- Record-breaking national participation in Letters About Literature, the center’s principal reading and writing promotion program;
- Major contributions to the success of the 2007 National Book Festival, specifically to its author program and to the Pavilion of States;
- Publication of a bilingual volume, Building Nations of Readers: Experience, Ideas, Examples, a handbook that describes reading promotion and development in the United Kingdom, Russia, and the U.S.
Reading Promotion Themes
In 2007, the Center for the Book continued as a program partner in the Library’s “Lifelong Literacy” initiative. Through the years, the center has developed national reading promotion themes and campaigns to stimulate interest and support for reading and literacy projects that benefit all age groups. Used by affiliated state centers, national organizational partners, and schools and libraries across the nation, the themes remind Americans of the importance of books, reading, and libraries in today's world. Previous themes still used by the center and its partners include “A Nation of Readers,” “Explore New Worlds-READ,” and “Read More About It!,” inaugurated in 1979 in partnership with CBS Television. In 2007, the Library’s Digital Reference Team continued to update the center’s Read More About It! bibliographies for use in the individual American Memory collections.
Reading Promotion Partners
The partnership program includes more than 80 civic, educational, and governmental organizations that work with the center to promote literacy and reading by using themes and ideas developed by the center and other groups. On March 6, 2007, representatives from most of the partner organizations gathered at the Library to describe their organization's activities and learn about each other’s reading and literacy programs. During the year, the center cosponsored projects with many of its organizational partners, including the American Library Association, Friends of Libraries USA, the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS), the National Coalition for Literacy, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Literary Society for the Deaf and the National Newspaper Association Foundation.
There are affiliated centers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. On May 1, 2007, state center representatives participated in an idea sharing session at the Library. It was marked by lively discussion on an array of topics including state center participation in the Pavilion of States at the National Book Festival, state book festival and awards programs, One Book community reading projects, and the center’s two national signature projects, Letters About Literature and River of Words.
Each state center works with the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, and libraries as well as the state's own literary and intellectual heritage. Each also develops and funds its own operations and projects, making use of Library of Congress reading promotion themes and assistance when appropriate and available. When its application is approved, a state center is granted affiliate status for three years. Renewals are for three year periods. In 2007, renewal applications were approved from Alabama, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Vermont, and West Virginia.
“Letters About Literature,” a national reading and writing promotion program for children and young adults concluded another record-breaking year in number of entries and involvement by affiliated state centers. More than 55,000 students from throughout the nation entered the competition. Letters About Literature was funded for the third consecutive year through a contribution to the Center for the Book from Target Stores, which also brought the six national winners and their families to the National Book Festival. The students read their winning letters in the festival’s Teens & Children Pavilion. Information about Letters About Literature 2007-2008 was made available on the center's Website including contest guidelines and an entry coupon.
Drawing on its extensive experience in dealing with authors and their publishers, the Center for the Book again made major contributions to the 2007 National Book Festival (September 29, 2007). For more than six months prior to the festival, the center was deeply involved in festival planning; particularly in developing and coordinating the authors program. Making use of its state center affiliations and in partnership with IMLS and NEH, the center also organized and promoted the Pavilion of the States.
During the fiscal year, librarians from Korea, Russia, South Africa, and Uzbekistan visited the center. Center director John Y. Cole, an associate member of the Standing Committee on Reading of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), also edits the Section’s Newsletter; produced and distributed by the Center for the Book with the assistance of Maurvene D. Williams, Program Officer. John Cole continued to serve on the Literacy Subcommittee of the U. S. National Committee to UNESCO.
The scope and use of the center's Website continued to expand dramatically during this fiscal year. Established and maintained by Maurvene D. Williams, the Website describes Center for the Book projects, affiliations and events. It provides information about organizations that promote books, reading, literacy, and libraries as well as descriptions of book festivals and other literary events in the United States and abroad. It also documents the fast growing “One Book, One Community” initiative in which more than 480 U.S. communities in 50 states participate. The method for capturing Website statistics changed and a total of 253,811 page views & visits were reported for January through September 2007. The most popular pages were: Book Fairs, One Book by State, and Letters About Literature.
The 26-page A Guide to the State Centers, compiled by Maurvene Williams, was issued for the annual state center meeting. An illustrated brochure written by Charlynn Pyne documented the Pavilion of the States at the National Book Festival from 2002-2006. The Library of Congress issued more than 22 news releases that described activities sponsored by Center for the Book, and a "News from the Center for the Book" feature by John Cole appeared in most fiscal 2007 issues of the Library of Congress Information Bulletin. The Library's weekly staff newsletter, The Gazette, publicized most of the center's public lectures and programs. Most of the center’s “Books & Beyond” author talks were filmed and can be seen in the Webcasts section on the Library’s Website and on the center’s Website. By the end of the fiscal year, 94 Webcasts of Center for the Book programs from 1998 to 2007 could be viewed.
Sponsorship of significant events and meetings, both at the Library of Congress and elsewhere, is an important mechanism for informing and involving others in the Center for the Book’s projects and activities. Program Specialist Anne Boni coordinated more than 30 such events, including most of the public events sponsored or cosponsored by the center and listed below. Many of the author talks, cosponsored by other divisions in the Library, were part of the center’s “Books & Beyond” series, which highlights new books of special relevance to the Library of Congress, emphasizing authors who used the Library’s collections or in their book acknowledged the help of Library of Congress specialists. Books and Beyond marked its tenth anniversary in 2006; since 1996 more than 75 authors have made presentations and signed their books at the Library as part of the series.
October 4. The Center for the Book and the Serial and Government Publications Division cosponsor W. Joseph Campbell discussing his new book, The Year That Defined American Journalism: 1897 and the Clash of Paradigms.
October 17. The Center for the Book and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division cosponsor David Baldacci discussing his new book, The Collectors.
October 31. The Center for the Book and the Humanities and Social Sciences Division cosponsor Godfrey Hodgson discussing his new book, Woodrow Wilson's Right Hand: The Life of Colonel Edward M. House.
November 16. The Center for the Book and the Publishing Office cosponsor authors of the new Women Who Dare book series discussing and signing their books: Eleanor Roosevelt by Anjelina Michelle Keating; Helen Keller by Aimee Hess; Amelia Earhart by Susan Reyburn; Women of the Civil War by Michelle A. Krowl; Women of the Suffrage Movement by Janice E. Ruth and Evelyn Sinclair; and Women of the Civil Rights Movement by Linda Barrett Osborne.
December 11. The Center for the Book and the Manuscript Division cosponsor Charles W. Calhoun discussing his new book, Conceiving a New Republic: The Republican Party and the Southern Questions, 1869-1900.
February 6. The Center for the Book and the Serial and Government Publications Division cosponsor John Dickerson discussing his new book, On Her Trail: My Mother, Nancy Dickerson, TV News’ First Woman Star.
February 21. The Center for the Book and the Manuscript Division cosponsor Douglas L. Wilson discussing his new book, Lincoln’s Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words.
February 27. The Center for the Book and the Mystery Writers of America cosponsor Sara Paretsky discussing her latest novel, Fire Sale.
March 6. The Center for the Book, the Missouri Center for the Book, the Maryland Center for the Book, and the Silver Spring Historical Society cosponsor Mary E. Neighbour discussing her book, Speak Right On: Dred Scott: A Novel.
March 13. The Center for the Book and the Office of Workforce Diversity cosponsor a partnership event with the National Literary Society of the Deaf (NLSD) in recognition of NLSD’s 100th anniversary.
March 22. The Center for the Book and the African Section, African and Middle Eastern Division cosponsor Stephen H. Grant discussing his new book, Peter Strickland: New London Shipmaster, Boston Merchant, First Consul to Senegal.
May 3. The Center for the Book and the Manuscript Division cosponsor Arnold Rampersad discussing his new book, Ralph Ellison: A Biography.
May 15. The Center for the Book hosts the twelfth annual awards ceremony for winners and finalists of the River of Words Environmental Poetry & Art Contest for young people.
May 17. The Center for the Book and the Interpretive Programs Office sponsors a Shakespeare in the Jefferson Building walking tour.
June 12. The Center for the Book sponsors Elizabeth Brown Pryor discussing her new book, Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters.
June 20. The Center for the Book and the Interpretive Programs Office sponsors a Shakespeare in the Jefferson Building walking tour.
June 25. The Center for the Book and Friends of Libraries USA cosponsor Michael Blake, discussing his new book, Indian Yell – the Heart of an American Insurgency in a program presented during the annual conference of the American Library Association.
June 28. The Center for the Book and the Book Industry Study Group cosponsor
“The State of the Book Industry in 2007,” a talk by Albert N. Greco and Robert M. Wharton of Fordham University.
July 17, The Center for the Book and the Interpretive Programs Office sponsors a Shakespeare in the Jefferson Building walking tour.
Cole, John Y., "Center for the Book," The Bowker Annual, Library and Book Trade Almanac, 52nd ed. pp. 59-62, Medford, NJ.: Information Today, Inc., 2007.
Building Nations of Readers: Experience, Ideas, Examples, edited and compiled by Valeria D. Stelmakh and John Y. Cole, 274 p. 2006.
Presentations and Participation in Book and Literary Events
Speeches to groups outside the library are an important means of explaining the center's mission and enlisting support for its projects. Most of the talks and presentations by center staff members are combined with visits to state centers or participation in an event or meeting sponsored by a state center or reading promotion partner.
In fiscal year 2007, Center for the Book director John Y. Cole made six presentations during visits to five states: California, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas. In addition, he made presentations at the Fourth International Conference on the Book, held in Boston in October 2006; the American Library Association’s annual conference, which took place in Washington in June 2007; and in August 2007, at the annual conference of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions in Durban, South Africa.
The center distributed materials and answered questions at several library meetings and literary events including: the American Library Association midwinter meeting (Seattle), the American Library Association annual meeting (Washington, D.C.), the American Booksellers Association Book Expo (New York City), and the National Book Festival (Washington, D.C.).
Reference Work and Brochure Distribution
Increasingly, the Center for the Book serves as a resource for information about reading, publishing, libraries, and literacy--nationally and internationally. It also receives a constant stream of requests for program information and promotional materials. In fiscal year 2007 more than 3,000 requests were fulfilled, many from the general public but with an increasing number from elementary and secondary schools.
Honors and Awards
John Y. Cole was honored at a research forum sponsored by the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association during ALA’s annual conference in Washington on June 24, 2007. The program that featured four papers reflecting difference aspects of Cole’s writings and his contribution to library history, also marked the 30th anniversary of the Center for the Book and Cole’s role as its founding director.