The Center for the Book was 25 years old on Oct. 13. This is the 10th in a series of articles that summarizes its activities during its first quarter century.
As part of its mission to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy and libraries, the Center for the Book has sponsored dozens of exhibits, large and small, both at the Library of Congress and throughout the country.
At the Library of Congress, the projects have ranged from major exhibitions in the Great Hall of the Jefferson Building to informal collection displays in connection with meetings and events, e.g., programs on the early illustrated books in the Library's Rosenwald collection (May 30-31, 1980); the World War II Armed Services Editions (Feb. 17, 1983; May 1, 2001); the history of atlases (Oct. 25-26, 1984); "The Book in the Islamic World" (Nov. 8-9, 1990); and the Library's New Deal Arts collections (Dec. 8-9, 1995). The Library's Interpretive Programs Office is the Center for the Book's partner for exhibits and displays at the Library; the American Library Association is its major partner for projects outside the Library. Other projects have also been developed with state center for the book affiliates and national reading promotion partners such as the International Reading Association.
Exhibit and Display Highlights
1979. The Center for the Book funds the publication of "The Circle of Knowledge," the catalog for an exhibition about the history of encyclopedias on display in the Jefferson Building from Dec. 7, 1979, to March 16, 1980.
1983. In cooperation with the Library's Interpretive Programs Office, the Center for the Book prepares its first "And Now…Read More About It" panels for Library of Congress exhibitions. Each panel, displayed at the end of the exhibition, lists books related to the exhibition's subject and suggests that viewers seek out these and other books at their local libraries and bookstores. These short reading lists also begin appearing in exhibition brochures and catalogs.
Dec. 1984–June 1985. "Books and Other Machines," an exhibition curated by Center for the Book consultant Alice D. Schreyer, is on display in the Great Hall of the Library's Jefferson Building. The exhibition's major sections are: 500 Years of Printed Books, Tradition and Innovation, and A World of Printed Images.
Nov. 1985–March 1987. "A Nation of Readers: An Exhibition Celebrating Reading in America," is on display in the Madison Building's sixth floor corridors and the Mumford foyer. These winning photographs from a national photography contest sponsored by the American Library Association and the Center for the Book are part of a national traveling exhibition.
April–Sept. 1988. "Nazi Bookburning and the American Response," an exhibition sponsored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and the Center for the Book, is on display in the Madison Building.
Oct. 13, 1990. "Uncle Sam in Oregon Country," a 30-panel traveling exhibit sponsored by the Center for the Book and the Oregon Center for the Book, is opened at the Oregon State Library in Salem by Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.) and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. The exhibit features Library of Congress holdings about the history and development of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
1992–1993. Working with the Library's Publishing Office, the Center for the Book develops "Thomas Jefferson's Legacy" and "Books That Shaped America," two 16-panel displays in the Library of Congress/SIRS (Social Issues Resources Series) project.
1992–1995. "The Bonfire of Liberties: Censorship of the Humanities," a new traveling exhibition produced by the Texas Humanities Resource Center in Austin and sponsored by the Texas Center for the Book and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is hosted by state centers for the book and other libraries in seven states.
July 1992. The Center for the Book receives a $503,000 grant from the Lila-Wallace Reader's Digest Fund for a national literary heritage project that includes "Language of the Land: Journeys into Literary America," a major exhibition of literary maps at the Library of Congress and a subsequent traveling exhibit. Sixteen state centers and nine other libraries host the traveling exhibit between 1993 and 1997.
1993. The Center for the Book coordinates the Library of Congress' participation in the traveling exhibition, "A Century of Library Publications, 1893-1993," which features 100 significant publications from institutions in the United States and Canada. Seven Library of Congress publications are selected for the exhibition, which travel to research libraries throughout the United States in 1994 and 1996.
March–May 1997. "Library: The Drama Within," an exhibition of 26 photographs of libraries and their users around the world by Diane Asséo Griliches, is on display in the Madison Building. The photographs are from a book by Griliches published by the University of New Mexico Press and the Center for the Book.
April 9–10, 1997. A display of "Rivers of America" first editions and ephemera from the private collection of Carol Fitzgerald of Fort Lauderdale is featured during the Center for the Book's symposium marking the 60th anniversary of the 65-volume "Rivers of America" book series.
April–May 2003. "Beyond Words: Celebrating America's Libraries," a traveling photo exhibit sponsored by the American Library Association and the Center for the Book, is on display at the Library of Congress. This portable panel display features winning photographs from a national contest sponsored by the two organizations in 1999.