"The preservation of literature through libraries has been and will ever be one of the most signal benefits of civilization." So stated Ainsworth Rand Spofford, Librarian of Congress from 1864 to 1897, and a noted literary man of his time.
The Library's rich literary collections are reflected on every page of two Library of Congress literary calendars for 1998, just published by Pomegranate Calendars & Books. The calendars present photographic portraits of more than 60 authors, plus biographical profiles, anecdotes, dates and quotations that provide vivid glimpses of the authors' lives, books and achievements.
In his introduction to the calendars, Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole tells how, with its statues, quotations and inscriptions, the Library's Jefferson Building serves as a temple of literature. He describes how the Library celebrates literature today -- through its collections, readings, projects, publications and exhibits as well as through its site on the World Wide Web.
A pensive Edgar Allan Poe adorns the cover of the 1998 engagement calendar, which was compiled by Margaret E. Wagner of the Library's Publishing Office. She and free-lance writer Alan Bisbort wrote the captions. The calendar contains a list of literary reference works. The 112-page spiral bound book sells for $13.95.
Langston Hughes is on the cover of the 1998 wall calendar, which was compiled by Ms. Wagner and Mr. Bisbort, who also wrote the brief biographical essays about each author. In addition to Langston Hughes, the writers portrayed are: William Styron, Dorothy Parker, Frank Yerby, Edmund Wilson, Rebecca West, Edgar Allan Poe, T.S. Eliot, Isabella Augusta (Lady Gregory), Boris Pasternak and Gertrude Stein. The price is $12.95.
Both calendars are available in bookstores around the country, in the Library of Congress Sales Shop, and from Pomegranate Calendars & Books, Box 6099, Rohnert Park, CA 94927.
"Do the Write Thing" Student Finalists Visit LC
At the Library on July 14, the Center for the Book hosted a program honoring the 66 seventh- and eighth-grade student finalists in the "Do the Write Thing Challenge Program," an initiative of the National Campaign to Stop Violence. All of the finalists and many of their family members attended the event, which featured the reading of two of the winning essays by their authors and the presentation of a leather-bound book containing all of the essays to John Y. Cole, the center's director. The students who read were Stephanie Moran of the Arkansas National Guard Challenge Program and Dante Taylor from the Los Angeles program. Prior to the presentation ceremony, the Library's Visitor Services Office gave a tour of the Jefferson Building to the students and their families.
Participating students were asked to write about the problem of violence in the United States and what they can do to stop violence in their lives. Entries were received from 23 states. The winning essays were selected from several thousand that were submitted, many through a partnership between the National Campaign to Stop Violence and the U.S. National Guard Bureau, one of 12 cooperating organizations. For further information, call (800) 256-0235 or (202) 393-7583.
Vermont Center Awarded Two Grants
The Vermont Center for the Book, a nonprofit, 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization in Chester, recently received two major grants. "We're thrilled," said Executive Director Sally Anderson. "The first goal of the Vermont Center for the Book is 'All children will be read to,' and these grants definitely move us toward that goal."
The Environmental Protection Agency will fund the Vermont center's "Mother Goose Meets Mother Nature" program, which will use picture books, discussion and related activities to bring environmental issues to life for preschoolers, parents and the professionals who work with them. Thirty professionals from 10 Vermont communities will be trained in the program, which is expected to reach 200 at-risk families by engaging the parents in "Mother Nature" programs. Carefully selected books for children ages 4-7 are at the heart of the program, which will simultaneously increase the environmental skills of early childhood educators and the environmental awareness of parents of preschool children. The program was developed with help from the Vermont Department of Libraries, Shelburne Farms and the Vermont Institute for Natural Science.
The second grant, from the U.S. Department of Education, is for a research and demonstration project aimed at coordinating the efforts of public librarians, classroom teachers and reading specialists as they help kindergarten and first-grade students "begin their reading lives." The goal of the two-year project is to create a model that will help communities coordinate and enhance the reading education of their youngsters. Many of the questions addressed by the research teams will draw on the Vermont center's popular "Mother Goose Asks Why?" program, in which exemplary children's literature and related science activities are brought to parents of preschool children in a series of four reading-discussion activity sessions. The Vermont Center for the Book now has four "Mother Goose" themes in its early literacy programs, which are being offered in 60 Vermont communities.
"Neighborhood Reading Program," another Vermont center activity, makes almost 400 titles available for book discussion groups, classroom teachers and others interested in borrowing multiple copies of books. Up to 15 copies of a single title can be borrowed for $10 plus shipping. Let's Get Together: The Neighborhood Reading Guide, available from the center for $10, offers suggestions for the best ways to bring readers together to talk about books, as well as brief annotations of books that can be borrowed from the center's collection. Contact the Vermont Center for the Book, 256 Haywood Drive, Suite B, Chester, VT 05143, phone (802) 875-2751.
Rocky Mountain Book Festival to Be Held in Denver
The fifth annual Rocky Mountain Book Festival, a project of the Colorado Center for the Book, will take place on Nov. 1-2, at Currigan Exhibition Hall in Denver. Major support is being provided by the Denver Post, Barnes & Noble, the Colorado Endowment for the Humanities and the Colorado State Library. More than 300 authors and 100 exhibitors will participate. Information is available on the Colorado Center for the Book Web site.
New Book Benefits Wisconsin Center for the Book
The Wisconsin Center for the Book, located at the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, will receive all royalties from the sales of Book Displays: A Library Exhibits Handbook, written by Anne C. Tedeschi with Jane Pearlmutter, and recently published by Highsmith Press. The 77-page paperbound book, which sells for $15, includes information about an exhibit's purpose, developing a plan, publicity and promotion, plus appendices containing practical information. For information contact Highsmith Press, P.O. Box 800, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0800.