"I'm completely surprised and absolutely thrilled," said Colorado Center for the Book Executive Director Chris Citron when she heard that Colorado had won the 2001 Boorstin State Center for the Book award, which includes a cash prize of $5,000.
The presentation of the Boorstin Award was a highlight of the Center for the Book's 12th annual state center "idea exchange day," held at the Library on April 30. Representatives from 39 affiliated state centers and the District of Columbia participated in the all-day meeting. On April 28 the national awards ceremony was held for the "River of Words" environmental poetry and art project, and a dinner for state coordinators on April 29 was hosted. Project meetings were held on May 1.
Other highlights were recognition of the two most recent state centers, West Virginia and Alabama; the welcoming of 13 state center coordinators or representatives who were attending the meeting for the first time; lively discussions about current projects and administrative "lessons learned" during the past year; and a presentation of reading promotion ideas by visiting regional librarians from Russia.
During a reception for participants that included representatives from the American Library Association and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), Librarian of Congress James H. Billington pointed out a unique feature of the day's discussions: "Many, if not most, people in Washington, D.C., work hard to sell you their ideas; the Center for the Book instead takes an honest interest in learning about and especially in sharing your ideas."
The Boorstin Award is supported by an endowment established in 1987 by Daniel J. Boorstin and his wife, Ruth, when Dr. Boorstin retired as Librarian of Congress. It has been presented annually since 1997 to recognize and support achievements of specific state centers. Previous Boorstin State Center Award winners have been Florida and Nebraska (1997); Vermont and Oklahoma (1998); Virginia and Missouri (1999); and Washington and Alaska (2000).
Dr. Boorstin, who established the Center for the Book in 1977, presented the award to Chris Citron on April 30. The Colorado Center for the Book was recognized for the completion of the renovation of its headquarters, the Thomas Hornsby Ferril House in Denver; hosting of the awards ceremonies for the River of Words and Letters About Literature projects at the Governor's Mansion; hosting and organizing the first regional meeting of Western state centers for the book; and for its continuing role in organizing and sponsoring the Rocky Mountain Book Festival and the Colorado Book Awards.
In his opening report on "the state of the Center for the Book," Director John Y. Cole noted the continued growth of both the affiliated state center network, which with the recent additions of West Virginia and Alabama now totals 42 states and the District of Columbia, and the reading promotion partnership network, which includes more than 90 national educational and civic organizations.
"I'm especially gratified by the increasing interest of state humanities councils and academic institutions in our endeavor," he said, pointing out that five state centers—Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada and Tennessee—are now located in humanities councils and that six others—Alabama, Arizona, California, Idaho, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania—are hosted by major universities. He reminded state centers that their affiliation with the Library of Congress must be renewed every three years and that applications from the 10 state centers due for renewal in 2001 must be received by Dec. 1. He also reported that during the past year the Center for the Book had published two books, both distributed by Oak Knoll Press: A Handbook for the Study of Book History in the United States and Library History Research in America.
Mr. Cole announced that first lady Laura Bush had agreed to be honorary chair of "Telling America's Stories," the Library's national reading promotion theme for 2001-2003. Cosponsored with the American Folklife Center, the campaign will take advantage of recent Library initiatives such as America's Library, a Web site for children and families (www.americaslibrary.gov), the new Veterans History Project (www.loc.gov/folklife/vets) and the Local Legacies project begun last year as part of the Library's Bicentennial celebration (www.loc.gov/bicentennial/legacies.html). "Telling America's Stories" is the seventh national reading promotion campaign undertaken by the Center for the Book since 1987.
Center for the Book Program Officer Maurvene D. Williams, who oversees the development of the center's Web site and its state center affiliates network, provided the next update. She described the continuing expansion of the Web site's content and use (30,300 transactions handled in March 2001 compared to 27,200 in March 2000) and introduced two compilations about state affiliates being distributed at the meeting. The first, the spring 2001 edition of The State Centers for the Book Handbook (36 pages), contains background information about the state center program, profiles of the state centers, a list of state center projects by topic, guidelines for establishing state centers and suggested state center activities and a subject index. The second compilation, State Center Highlights 2001: What's Happened Since Last Year's Meeting? (23 pages) supplements the first and contains a topic index.
During the morning sessions, guest speakers and state center coordinators made brief presentations about partnership projects in which state centers are participating or in which they might be interested. The presenters and the projects were: Virginia H. Mathews, the Viburnum Foundation/Center for the Book Family Literacy Project; Maggie Dietz, Favorite Poem Project; Cathy Gourley, Letters About Literature; Pamela Michael, River of Words; Sandy Dolnick, Literary Landmarks; Phyllis Ayers and Deborah Hocutt, the Virginia Reads and All America Reads projects; Sally Anderson, the Vermont Center for the Book's "Mother Goose" projects; Thomas Phelps, National Endowment for the Humanities; and Lee Bricetti, the activities and projects of Poets House.
For information about Center for the Book projects and publications and the state affiliates program or for copies of The State Centers for the Book Handbook and update, contact the Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20540-4920; telephone (202) 707-5221; fax (202) 707-0269; or visit the center's website at www.loc.gov/cfbook