On May 14 author Phyllis Theroux will moderate a program of readings by well-known Americans about Americans. The spoken portraits will be drawn from her new book, The Book of Eulogies: A Collection of Memorial Tributes, Poetry, Essays, and Letters of Condolence, just published by Scribner. The program will begin at 7 p.m. in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the Library's James Madison Memorial Building. No tickets are required for this free event, which is part of the Center for the Book's "Books & Beyond" lecture series. Ms. Theroux will sign copies of the book before and after the readings.
The speakers will include:
- Clarence G. Newsome of Howard University, reading from Frederick Douglass's tribute to Abraham Lincoln;
- Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) reading from his undelivered eulogy to Lewis B. Puller Jr., a comrade-in-arms in Vietnam;
- Television and radio commentator Cokie Roberts reading a poem by her late sister, Barbara Boggs Sigmund, "Flesh of My Flesh";
- Livingston Biddle reading his great-great-grandfather Nicholas Biddle's eulogy to Thomas Jefferson;
- Former Sen. Eugene McCarthy reading from his tribute to Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey;
- Actress Brenda Brown-Grooms, as Fannie Lee Chaney, reading her eulogy to her son James, who was murdered in Mississippi; and
- Frank Mankiewicz, former press secretary to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, reading Kennedy's impromptu tribute to Martin Luther King on the night of King's assassination.
Phyllis Theroux also is the author of California and Other States of Grace; Nightlights: Bedtime Stories for Parents in the Dark; and Peripheral Visions. She was a frequent essayist on "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" and lives in Ashland, Va.
Photography Exhibit Extended to June 10
"Library: The Drama Within," an exhibition of photographs of libraries and the people who use them now on display in the Mumford foyer in the Madison Building, has been extended through June 10.The photographs and explanatory text are by photographer Diane Asséo Griliches (see LC Information Bulletin, April 7).
"This extension is good news," said John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book, which co-sponsored both the exhibition and the book on which it is based, Ms. Griliches' Library: The Drama Within (University of New Mexico Press in association with the Center for the Book, 1996). "It gives members of the public and Library staff more time to view these striking photographs. It also gives the Center for the Book and other organizations additional opportunities to promote both the exhibition and 'Building a Nation of Readers,' the national reading theme that the exhibit promotes. "For example, Mr. Cole noted, "the Center for the Book plans to develop a brochure and at least one poster using the photographs, and is looking for a financial partner to help create a traveling exhibit."
"The exhibit helps book sales too," he added, noting that the book is now in its third printing."Of particular importance in boosting sales was a favorable notice in the March 23 issue of The New York Times "Book Review." In her review, Andrea Cooper said that the book's greatest strength was in "the union of photos, well-written histories or anecdotes about each library and pertinent quotations from prominent writers."
A "Read More About It" message from the Center for the Book is part of the exhibit. Following are the books about the role of libraries and reading suggested by the center:
- Otto L. Bettmann, The Delights of Reading: Quotes, Notes and Anecdotes. Boston: David R. Godine, 1987.
- Sven Birkerts, The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age. Boston: Faber & Faber, 1994.
- Paul Dickson, The Library in America: A Celebration in Words and Pictures. N.Y.: Facts on File, 1986.
- Marty and Anna Rabkin, Public Libraries: Travel Treasures of the West. Golden, Colo.: North American Press, 1994.
- Susan Allen Tooth and John Coughlan, eds. Reading Rooms: America's Foremost Writers Celebrate Our Public Libraries with Stories, Memoirs, Essays, and Poems. N.Y.: Doubleday, 1991.
Role of the Book Designer to Be Explored in April 29 and May 15 Lectures
This spring at the Library of Congress, the Center for the Book, in cooperation with the Washington, D.C., chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), is presenting "From Cover to Cover: Expanding the Role of the Book Designer, a three-part lecture series. On April 16, designer and publisher William Drenttel of New York City, president emeritus of AIGA and chairman of both the AIGA's Literacy Initiative and its 50 Books/50 Covers Book Show, explored how designers are breaking new ground as authors, editors and publishers."
"The Book as Art" will be addressed on April 29 by book designer, writer and photographer Barbara Hodgson, who will focus on her background and progression from designer to designer-writer. Ms. Hodgson is the author of the illustrated novel The Tattooed Map (Chronicle Books). Her next book, The Rat: A Perverse Miscellany, will be published next year. She and writer Nick Bantock are co-founders and partners of Byzantium Books, a book packaging company dedicated to challenging the form of the book.
Ellen Lupton, author, designer and curator of Contemporary Design at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, will speak on May 15. Her topic is "Designer as Author. "Drawing examples from her own accomplishments and from the history of design, she will examine the ways in which she combines her writing, designing and publishing. Ms. Lupton has written several books and organized a series of major exhibitions at Cooper-Hewitt, including "Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office" and "Mixing Messages: Graphic Design in Contemporary Culture."
For information about the lecture series, call AIGA at (202) 347-3881.
Adult Literacy Report Reprinted
Thanks to the generosity of Harold W. McGraw Jr., additional copies of Even Anchors Need Guidelines: Public Libraries in Adult Literacy, a 144-page study commissioned by the Center for the Book and released in fall 1996 (see LC Information Bulletin, Feb. 24) are now available.
The study was prepared by Gail Spangenberg of Spangenberg Learning Resources with funding from the Center for the Book, the National Institute for Literacy, Harold W. McGraw Jr., the McGraw-Hill Co. and the American Library Association. Mr. McGraw's continuing generosity permitted the Center for the Book to reprint and distribute multiple copies of the report to all 50 state libraries for further distribution within each state. Additional copies also were sent to the American Library Association and other organizations. Copies of the study also may be obtained by writing the Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave., Washington, DC 20540-4920.