State Center Renewals
The mission of the national Center for the Book is to stimulate public interest in books, reading and libraries. To extend this mission to the state and local level, the national center has authorized affiliated centers in 41 states and the District of Columbia. Florida, approved in 1984, was the first state center. Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and West Virginia were approved in 2000. Most of the state centers are located in state libraries or large public library systems, but five (Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Tennessee) are in state humanities councils. Affiliations are for three-year periods, and state centers must formally apply for each three-year renewal. Renewal applications describe past accomplishments and future events and projects, including plans for funding. During 2000, the national Center for the Book approved applications from all nine affiliated state centers due for renewal. The renewed state center affiliates and their founding dates are: Colorado (1988), Connecticut (1997), Georgia (1998), Idaho (1994), Illinois (1995), Louisiana (1995), Maine (1998), Nevada (1998) and Vermont (1994). For further information about the state center affiliates program and links to the affiliates, visit the Center for the Book's Web site at www.loc.gov/cfbook.
California Emphasizes Statewide Activities
The newly revitalized California Center for the Book marked its first anniversary in January 2001. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington inaugurated the new center on Jan. 21 in a ceremony at UCLA's Royce Hall (see Information Bulletin, April 2000). The event officially recognized the restructuring of the center, which now comprises 12 partner public and academic libraries from Shasta County to San Diego, and the move of the center's headquarters from the California State Library to UCLA's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Sid Berger, previously the head of Special Collections at the University of California-Riverside, is the center's director. The California Center for the Book is funded for three years by the California State Library. In the inaugural issue of CrackerBarrel, the center's newsletter, Mr. Berger described the center's aims as bringing "literacy, enlightenment and the enjoyment of reading to all Californians." In a California Center for the Book "Update" published in the January 2001 issue of California Libraries, Assistant Director Natalie Cole outlined the wide variety of programs that the center and its partners had sponsored throughout the state and the center's intention "to serve as a statewide clearinghouse and resource for the dissemination of successful ideas and programming initiatives.
Colorado Moves into Its Newly Restored Home
Last year, the Colorado Center for the Book completed a $250,000 renovation of its headquarters in Denver, a 110-year- old literary landmark that was the home of the late poet laureate of Colorado, Thomas Hornsby Ferril. In June the center co-hosted with the New York Review of Books a Denver event during the annual conference of the American Association of University Presses. Other continuing Colorado Center for the Book projects include: "Authors in the Classroom," "Letters About Literature," "Colorado Summer Reading Program," the annual Colorado Book Awards and the annual Rocky Mountain Book Festival. The center is a 501(c)3 organization.
Louisiana Promotes Writers and Jazz
The Louisiana Center for the Book, a statewide project of the State Library of Louisiana, has grown steadily since it was established in 1995. Its projects in 2000 included the inauguration of Louisiana Writers Month and the Louisiana Writer Award; spearheading the effort to establish the Louisiana Writers Network, being developed with the Louisiana Division of the Arts; co-development and sponsorship of the first Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award; presentation of "Jazz with Ken Burns and Friends," a public program featuring filmmaker and author Ken Burns and clarinetist Alvin Batiste; and, in conjunction with the PBS broadcast of Burns's history of jazz in America, development of a statewide, traveling exhibition of the jazz portraits of Herman Leonard.
Maine Receives Major NEH Grant
The Maine Center for the Book, a division of the Maine Humanities Council, reaches statewide through nine programs and a variety of projects. The center was greatly strengthened in 2000 through a major challenge grant to the council from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The center's major programs include: "Born to Read," a family literacy project that encourages adults to read to babies and young children; "New Books, New Readers," reading and discussion programs for adults who are new or infrequent readers; and "Let's Talk About It," reading and discussion programs in libraries and other community settings. Through nearly 700 group programs throughout the state, its programs reached more than 10,000 individuals in more than 100 cities and towns last year.
Nevada Center for the Book Has a New Home
The Nevada Humanities Committee is the new host organization for the Nevada Center for the Book. "We're delighted to welcome the Nevada Center for the Book to the Nevada Humanities Committee," said Judith Winzeler, the committee's executive director. "We are a statewide organization that brings scholars and the public together to exchange ideas, stories and images that help us make sense of our lives and to think more critically about our world. The activities of the Nevada Center for the Book will help us focus on the importance of books, reading and libraries in Nevada and throughout the American West."
"I'm pleased with this new partnership," said Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole. "In most states, the state book centers and humanities committees work closely together. The formal merging of the two in Nevada will strengthen current projects and create new opportunities and audiences throughout the state."
The Nevada Center for the Book was established in 1998 as a program of the Nevada State Library and Archives. Several of the center's projects, including the River of Words student poetry and art contest, will be continued and its association with the Great Basin Book Festival, a project of the Nevada Humanities Committee, will be strengthened.
One new project is a book of essays in the committee's Halcyon book series on print cultures in the American West. Also being explored is the feasibility of a Web site that could function both as a literary calendar and a directory of Nevada authors.
Vermont Loves Mother Goose
Since 1995 the Vermont Center for the Book has: given more than 115,000 books to more than 18,000 families; engaged more than 62,000 schoolchildren in its Red Clover Children's Choice Picture Book Award project; provided more than 2,800 educators with workshops on books, reading and discussion; and brought more than 40,000 book-lovers together to discuss books.
The center's signature Mother Goose programs -- Beginning with Mother Goose, Growing with Mother Goose, Mother Goose Asks "Why?," You Can Count On Mother Goose -- provide books and educational activities for children and their families. Mother Goose Asks "Why?," a family science and literature project, has reached more than 10,000 families in 16 states.
Fourteen states will participate in the new You Can Count on Mother Goose program, which gives parents a second (and enjoyable) look at ways to make mathematics part of the family's everyday experiences. Both Mother Goose Asks "Why?" and You Can Count on Mother Goose are funded by the National Science Foundation.