The Idaho Center for the Book marked its dedication and opening at the Hemingway Western Studies Center on the campus of Boise State University on April 9-12 with three days of exhibits, lectures, book arts workshops and demonstrations, and the publication of its first book.
The program of activities and events was organized by Tom Trusky, Idaho Center for the Book director, around two themes: "Missing Pages: Idaho the Book"; and "Literacy the Book Arts." Guest speakers included Boise State University President Charles Ruch and LC Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole, who spoke at the dedication ceremony on April 9. Martha Carothers, chair of the Art Department at the University of Delaware, was a featured symposium speaker.
Missing Pages: Idaho & the Book by Tom Trusky is a colorful and ingenious (each copy is unique) catalog of the Idaho Center for the Book's dedication exhibition, "The All-Idaho Book Exhibit," a three-part, multimedia show that combines artifacts, printed material, books, photographs and video presentations.
The 20-page catalog chronicles the history of Idaho book culture from the Lapwai Mission Press to the contemporary Idaho artist book makers and includes a four-color gatefold featuring "Outsider" James Castle and his books and an accordion-fold catalog insert for "A Booker's Dozen," the Idaho center's first traveling exhibition.
Other major sections in Missing Pages describe and illustrate the history of printing in Idaho and outline the program for the April 10-12 Teacher's Symposium on Literacy Book Arts. In addition to Martha Carothers, principal symposium leaders were Sandy Hartborn, curator of exhibitions, Boise Art Museum; Byron Clercx, assistant professor of art, University of Idaho; and Tom Bennick, English Department, Mountain Home High School, Boise.
The traveling exhibition, "A Booker's Dozen: 14 Idaho Artist's [sic] Eccentric Books," the first in a biannual series, will be seen in nine locations throughout Idaho in 1994. It contains indigenous contemporary works by artists who live in Idaho or "eccentric" works made by Idahoans who are not necessarily artists.
According to the catalog, "'Eccentric' books may be nontraditional codex-format works, such as accordion fold, rivet, spiral or ring-bound, loose-leaf/boxed, sculptural or die cut books. They many be traditionally bound codices with 'eccentric' features, such as pop-ups, folded pages, inserts, pull-tabs, or volvelles. Or they may be conventionally bound books made with or containing unconventional materials or artifacts.
"Whatever the formats or features of the works selected for the exhibit, all are testimony to the creativity of Idaho book artists. The biblio 'dozen' should expand our definitions of what a book may be or do, as well as inspire us to read, write, and make our own books."
The Idaho Center for the Book's first publication, The Lapwai Mission Press, is by Wilfred P. Schoenberg, a historian of Jesuit mission presses. It is the definitive history of the first press in the Pacific Northwest and the oldest surviving press in the American West.
The press itself was on display in the "All-Idaho Book Exhibit," and Father Schoenberg was present to explained how it worked. The region's first eight imprints, all printed on the Lapwai Mission Press, were also on display -- and are described in Missing Pages: Idaho the Book.
In all, three books are available from the Idaho Center for the Book's dedication and opening events. Each may be ordered from Nancy Money, The Bookstore, Boise State University, 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725. To order by telephone call (800) 992-TEXT; locally, (208) 385-4031. Checks should be made payable to Idaho Center for the Book; add $3 per order for shipping.
Missing Pages: Idaho & the Book is $10.50; The Lapwai Mission Press is $10.95 for the paperback, $20.95 for the casebound edition; and Nez-Perces First Book, a handsewn Idaho Center for the Book keepsake facsimile of the first Lapwai Mission Press Book and the first book printed and bound (1839) in the Pacific Northwest, is $5.25 (all prices include tax).
National Essay Contest Winner Visits LC. Aslum Ahad, 17, of Rolling Meadows, Ill., the grand prize winner in the Center for the Book/Read magazine "Books Change Lives" essay contest, visited the Library on April 18 as part of the center's Idea Exchange Day (see following story).
More than 9,000 students in grades six through 12 entered the contest, which was based on the center's 1993-94 reading promotion theme. Editors at Read invited the students to write a letter to an author, living or dead, describing how that author had changed the student's outlook on life.
Aslum Ahad wrote to Alex Haley about Haley's The Autobiography of Malcolm X. "Malcolm X was so like my mother, it astonished me," wrote Aslum, whose mother died of cancer when he was 13. "Suddenly, everything she had told me about not following the crowd had new meaning to me."
Read associate editor Cathy Gourley organized the contest, which was covered in a Feb. 28 article in The Wall Street Journal titled "Dear Author: Your Book Has Changed My Life."
Ten state centers for the book (Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin) participated in the contest, selecting individual state winners. Dr. Billington presented a prize to the Florida winner, Natasha Gaziano of Heathrow, during his Feb. 21 visit to the Florida Center for the Book in Fort Lauderdale.