"Adventures into Books: Gumby's World," a traveling exhibition developed by the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, Calif., promotes "Building a Nation of Readers," the Center for the Book's national reading promotion theme for 1997-2000.
The exhibit opened on Nov. 18 at the museum's waterside location at the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, where it will remain on view until April 10. Then it will begin a tour of nine other children's museums that are members of the Youth Exhibit Collaborative and located in Hull, Quebec; Houston; St. Paul; Denver; Cleveland; Chicago; Indianapolis; Memphis; and Brooklyn, N.Y., where the tour will end in June 2001.
"Gumby has been a Center for the Book reading promotion 'spokescharacter' in past years, and it's exciting to renew our association through this innovative exhibition," said center Director John Y. Cole. "The center also is pleased to continue the community-level partnership with children's museums that began in 1994 with the Library-Head Start-Museum family literacy project."
In "Adventures into Books: Gumby's World," children can "walk into" giant books, which is how Gumby, the popular clay animation figure, begins his adventures in his long-running television show. Visitors also receive a hands-on introduction to Gumby and the art of clay animation, and the opportunity to create their own books and share their favorite books online. Developed under the leadership of Bay Area Discovery Museum Director Bonnie Pitman, the exhibition was created with the support of Gumby creators Art and Gloria Clokey.
For public information about the exhibition and its schedule, telephone (415) 487-4398. The media contact is Kathryn Eustis, telephone (415) 824-6800.
State Literary Heritages Celebrated
This autumn center Director John Cole participated in several annual state center events that focused on the writers and literary traditions of individual states.
A sold-out dinner for more than 300 people at the Illinois State Library on Oct. 24 kicked off the Illinois Center for the Book's "Illinois Authors' Book Festival." Featured guests were writers Sara Paretsky and Richard Peck, and 60 Illinois authors from throughout the state. Mr. Peck, a noted author of books for young people, met with groups of students and teachers on Oct. 24 to discuss his books and their themes. In her keynote address at the dinner, popular mystery writer Ms. Paretsky called on the "community of the book" to make certain its voice is heard in the new electronic age. On Oct. 25, Mr. Cole joined Secretary of State and State Librarian George H. Ryan and State Library Director Bridget L. Lamont in making the opening remarks and in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Mr. Cole also acknowledged the work of Sandy Bellatti, coordinator of the Illinois Center for the Book.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Styron was the special guest on Nov. 6 at the dedication of the Virginia Authors Room at the Library of Virginia in Richmond. More than 600 people wedged themselves into the main entrance hall of the new building for the ceremony and to hear Mr. Styron, who prepared a special reading for the occasion. Mr. Styron was introduced by his biographer, James L. W. West III, the director of the Center for the History of the Book at Pennsylvania State University.
The Virginia Center for the Book, the sponsor of the Virginia Authors Room, arranged for a special signed bookplate by Mr. Styron to accompany the latest edition of his book The Confessions of Nat Turner. The evening's program included remarks from Virginia Center for the Book board President Marcy Sims, State Librarian Nolan Yelich, Library Board Chairman Self L. Guerra, and Mr. Cole, who recognized the achievements of former Virginia Center for the Book Director Beverly Bagan, and the current director, Deborah L. Hocutt.
Historian Stephen E. Ambrose was the keynote speaker on Nov. 9 in Baton Rouge at the Louisiana Center for the Book's annual celebration of Louisiana Historical Writing, titled "History, Heritage, Heroes -- Journals of Discovery. His presentation, which drew on his research for his best-selling book Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West, was enthusiastically received and discussed by an audience of more than 350 people. Many of the questions after his talk centered on the previous week's public television series about the Lewis and Clark expedition in which Mr. Ambrose played a prominent role.
Mr. Cole thanked the Louisiana Library Foundation, which supports the Louisiana Center for the Book, State Librarian Thomas F. Jaques and Louisiana Center for the Book Coordinator Sharilynn Aucoin. The day concluded with workshop sessions on "Current Historical Writing and Publishing in Louisiana," "Social and Cultural Dimensions of History," and "Southern Justice? The Politics of Feuding in 19th Century Louisiana" and a reception for Louisiana authors. The program was supported by a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.
Arizona Book Discussion Groups for Seniors
The Arizona Center for the Book recently supported "The Story-Teller's Story," a statewide reading and discussion series on autobiography for older adults. Developed by the National Council on Aging and funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the project loaned books to participants from seven host sites: Sun City, Parker, Tucson, Prescott, Bisbee, Scottsdale and Lake Havasu City. The books discussed were: One Writer's Beginnings by Eudora Welty; Black Boy by Richard Wright; Patrimony by Philip Roth; and The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston. For information about the Arizona Center for the Book and its programs, contact executive director Deanne Poulos, P.O. Box 34438, Phoenix, AZ 85067, telephone (602) 265-2651, ext. 899.
Connecticut Center for the Book Launched
On Nov. 17, the Connecticut Center for the Book, located at the Hartford Public Library, began its activities with the opening of an exhibition, a public program and a meeting of its statewide advisory council. Rep. Barbara B. Kennelly (D-Conn.), honorary chair of the new Connecticut center, was a special guest and one of the introductory speakers, along with Center for the Book Director John Cole and Louise Blalock, Hartford Public Library's chief librarian.
The program, "Great American Portraits," moderated by author Phyllis Theroux, featured readings by Connecticut cultural and business leaders from Ms. Theroux's recent work, The Book of Eulogies. The program was sponsored by the Hartford Courant and also featured a performance by the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Jazz Choir. The exhibition, "A Connecticut Sampler," presents a historical overview of book production and the book arts in Connecticut. Kathleen Lyons is coordinator of the Connecticut Center for the Book.
Wisconsin Book and Bookmarks Published
Wallace Stegner and the Continental Vision: Essays on Literature, History, and Landscape, a book of essays presented at a May 1996 symposium in Madison, Wis., has been published by Island Press of Washington, D.C., and Covelo, Calif. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters and the Wisconsin Center for the Book, which is part of the academy, the symposium honored Stegner three years after his death. The price of the 245-page book, which was edited by Curt Meine, is $24.95.
To commemorate "Building a Nation of Readers," the Wisconsin Center for the Book has published eight bookmarks that celebrate Wisconsin's literary heritage. They are available free in limited quantities from the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, 1922 University Ave., Madison, WI 53705-4099, telephone (608) 263-1692.