The Center for the Book will be 25 years old in October 2002. This is the second in a series of articles that will summarize its activities during its first quarter century.
Reading Promotion Project with Russian Librarians Launched
On April 24, the Center for the Book welcomed a delegation of nine prominent Russian librarians who came to the United States for eight days to learn about the center's national reading promotion program. Funded by the Open Society Institute in Moscow, the visit was the first phase of a cooperative reading promotion project of the institute, its Pushkin Library Megaproject and the center. The project's goals are to share information about effective reading promotion ideas and to encourage a better understanding of the importance of reading and libraries in a democratic society.
On April 25-26, the visitors, escorted by Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole, visited the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Center for the Book in Richmond. On April 27 they toured the District of Columbia Public Library, also the home of the District of Columbia Center for the Book. At the Library of Congress on April 30-May 2, they participated in the Center for the Book's annual state center "idea exchange" day, met with Dr. Billington and Russian area specialist Harry Leich, and visited the European Division. A second delegation of Russian regional librarians will visit on Oct. 21-30, and in spring 2002, Mr. Cole will lead a group of American reading and literacy promoters on a trip to Russia.
The delegates were: Elena M. Alexandronets, director of the Central Library System in Kaliningrad; Nellie N. Belova, director of the Vologda Regional Library; Evguenia M. Kolesnikova, director of the Don State Public Library in Rostov-Don; Anastasia A. Kornienko of the International Relations Department of the All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature in Moscow; Svetlana D. Maldova, deputy director of the Tver Regional Library; Elena Sineva, director of the Murmansk Regional Library; Liudmila S. Spiridonava, deputy director of the National Library of the Chuvash Republic; Valeria D. Stelmakh of the Russian State Library in Moscow, project director; Olga S. Stepina, director of the Arkhangelsk Regional Library. Maria A. Vedenyapina, executive director of the Pushkin Library Megaproject, accompanied the visitors. The Pushkin project's goal is to strengthen libraries and library collections in Russia and other countries.
IFLA Reading Section Emphasizes Literacy and Reading Research
The Russian-U.S. reading promotion project described above was developed in cooperation with the Reading Section of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), which is chaired by John Cole, the center's director. A report on the project will be presented during IFLA's 67th annual conference in Boston on Aug. 17-25. The section's major sessions in Boston will focus on developing guidelines for library-based literacy programs and "Reading Research Around the World," a program on Aug. 20. The latest issue of IFLA Journal (Vol. 27, No. 2) features articles by two section members: "Literacy, Libraries and IFLA: Recent Developments and a Look at the Future," by John Y. Cole, and "Libraries and Literacy: a Preliminary Survey of the Literature," by Shirley A. Fitzgibbons.
International Highlights, 1978-2000
Feb. 23, 1978. Four months after its establishment and in cooperation with the Association of American Publishers, the Center for the Book hosts an all-day meeting to discuss ways in which it might serve "as a useful catalyst in the area of international book and library programs."
Oct. 10, 1978. In cooperation with the Hispanic Division, the center hosts a public program on "The Book in Mexico."
May 17-18, 1979. In cooperation with the Asian Division, the center sponsors a symposium on "Japanese Literature in Translation."
June 7-9, 1979. The center, the U.S. International Communications Agency (USICA) and the Graduate School of Library Studies at the University of Hawaii sponsor a conference on "The International Flow of Information: A Trans-Pacific Perspective," in Honolulu. Immediately after the meeting, the center and USICA host 17 participants from 12 East Asian and Pacific Rim countries on a two-week visit to Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Dallas. The center publishes the conference proceedings in 1981.
1982. The center publishes U.S. International Book Programs, 1981.
1983. The center publishes U.S. Books Abroad: Neglected Ambassadors by Curtis G. Benjamin.
Oct. 30, 1985. In cooperation with the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, the center sponsors a symposium on "Book Studies in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe."
1986. The center and the Asian Division publish Multiple Meanings: The Written Word in Japan—Past, Present, and Future, an illustrated volume based on joint conferences held at the Library of Congress in 1979 and 1984.
1987. The center receives the International Book Award, presented by the International Book Committee, a UNESCO-affiliated body, in recognition of the center's "imaginative and practical campaigns on behalf of books and reading in all their diverse aspects, which have inspired similar efforts in the United States and internationally."
October 1987. In cooperation with the U.S. Information Agency, the center begins staffing a Library of Congress exhibit booth at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair. The project ends in 1994.
1989. The center publishes International Library Horizons: Some Personal Observations by Robert Vosper.
Nov. 8-9, 1990. The center and the Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division sponsor a conference on "The Book in the Islamic World: The Written Word and Communication in the Middle East."
Oct. 29-31, 1991. The center is a sponsor of "The National Library in the Life of the Nation: The Lenin State Library and the Library of Congress," a conference held in Moscow.
Feb. 10-11, 1993. The center hosts a dinner marking the 50th anniversary of American libraries overseas and a conference to discuss the role of U.S. Information Agency libraries abroad.
June 18-22, 1996. The center is a sponsor of "Libraries and Reading in Times of Cultural Change," an international conference in Vologda, Russia.
April 23, 1999. The center is a sponsor of an event at the United Nations celebrating "World Book and Copyright Day."
Sept. 8, 2000. The center continues its annual commemoration of International Literacy Day by hosting a daylong program for preschoolers, the general public, and reading and literacy professionals at the Library of Congress.
Oct. 23-26, 2000. The center is one of the sponsors of the Library of Congress Bicentennial symposium "National Libraries of the World: Interpreting the Past, Shaping the Future."