In a June 26 ceremony on Neptune Plaza at the west front of the Jefferson Building, the Friends of Libraries U.S.A. (FOLUSA) and the Center for the Book will designate the Thomas Jefferson Building as one of America's "literary landmarks." A program of readings at 10:30 a.m. will precede the ceremony, which will take place at 11 a.m.
The Jefferson Building will join more than two dozen other buildings or sites that FOLUSA has designated as a literary landmark. The first site, designated in 1987 in partnership with the Florida Center for the Book, was Boat Slip F18 at the Bahia Mar resort in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the home of the Busted Flush, the boat belonging to John MacDonald's popular fictional character Travis McGee.
"When it opened in 1897, the Jefferson Building was often referred to by the press as a 'temple' of literature and the arts," said Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole, who is also the author of On These Walls: Inscriptions and Quotations in the Buildings of the Library of Congress (1995). "It is filled with names of authors, quotations from literary works and murals and statues that evoke Western civilization's rich literary heritage. Shakespeare is the best represented author in the building's iconography, but Tennyson, Milton, Alexander Pope, Emerson, Dante, Sir Walter Scott, Longfellow, Benjamin Franklin and James Russell Lowell are also well represented."
For information about the literary landmarks project and FOLUSA, a national organization that helps develop and support local friends of libraries groups, visit its site on the World Wide Web.
Virburnum Family Literacy Project
The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress has received a three-year grant from the Viburnum Foundation to administer its rural, library-based family literacy program in several states. Center for the Book consultant Virginia H. Mathews (below), nationally known literacy and library advocate, is project coordinator.
"The Viburnum grant, coming on the heels of the successful completion of our five-year Library-Head Start-Museum partnership project, continues the center's longtime interest in family literacy and in encouraging collaboration among libraries and other community organizations that serve children, youth and families," said Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole. "We look forward to assisting in the planning and promotion of the project as well as in the training sessions. We will be especially active in the states where our affiliated state centers can provide support and resources."
Sixteen rural libraries in five states currently receive $3,000 grants directly from the Viburnum Foundation as part of the project. Since 1992, the foundation has made 59 such grants. In addition to strengthening the project in the states already participating -- Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas -- the Center for the Book is extending the project into Alabama and Georgia. Other states with large rural populations may be included in the future.
The Viburnum Family Literacy Project is fully described in a recently published 60-page report, From Thibodaux to Tucumcari: Family Literacy in Rural Libraries, A Report from the Viburnum Family Literacy Project by Molly Turner and Nancy Kober. Copies are available free from the Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20540-4920, telephone (202) 707-5221, fax (202) 707-0269. The report presents details about how, with limited resources, committed staff in small libraries can successfully respond to the needs of parents and other caregivers for family literacy programs.
Adult Literacy Report Still Available
Even Anchors Need Lifelines: Public Libraries in Adult Literacy, a 144-page study by Gail Spangenberg published in 1996, continues to be available free from the Center for the Book. The report was reprinted in 1997, thanks to the generosity of Harold W. McGraw Jr.
The major recommendations in Even Anchors Need Lifelines, which was commissioned by the Center for the Book in 1995, suggest specific ways of strengthening adult literacy programs in public libraries. The recommendations were discussed at the Library of Congress on Jan. 17, 1997, at "Public Libraries in Adult Literacy: The Next Steps," a meeting sponsored by the Center for the Book and the National Center on Adult Literacy at the University of Pennsylvania (see LC Information Bulletin, Feb. 24, 1997).
The report was funded by the Center for the Book, the National Institute for Literacy, Harold W. McGraw, the McGraw-Hill Co. and the American Library Association. Copies may be obtained by writing the Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20540-4920.
Essay on Communication by Lester Asheim Available
Copies of The Reader-Viewer-Listener: An Essay in Communication by Lester Asheim, a 33-page booklet published by the Library of Congress in 1987, are available from the Center for the Book. A distinguished librarian and library educator, Mr. Asheim served as dean of the University of Chicago Graduate Library School in 1952-61, as director of the American Library Association's International Relations Office in 1961-66 and Office for Library Education in 1966-71, and concluded his career as professor emeritus of library science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An adviser to the Center for the Book, Mr. Asheim wrote The Reader-Viewer-Listener as a reflection on issues raised by another Center for the Book project, "Books Make a Difference," pointing out that the natural inclination to honor the book must not divert attention from other essential forms of communication.
Single copies of The Reader-Viewer-Listener are available free upon written request to the Center for the Book, Library of Congress, Washington DC 20540-4920.
Florida Hosts Maxine Kumin
Center for the Book director John Y. Cole introduced former LC Consultant in Poetry Maxine Kumin on Feb. 18 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., during a program of readings sponsored by the Broward Public Library Foundation and the Florida Center for the Book. Ms. Kumin, who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1973, served as the Library of Congress poetry consultant in 1981-82. She was in Florida serving as a Visiting Distinguished Writer at Florida International University. She also presented a poetry workshop for the Florida Center for the Book.
Author Taylor Branch to Speak at LC on June 18
Writer and historian Taylor Branch will discuss his latest book, Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-1965, at the Library of Congress on Thursday, June 18, at 6 p.m. in the Mumford Room in the James Madison Memorial Building. Mr. Branch won the Pulitzer Prize in history in 1989 for Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963, the first volume in his trilogy about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement in the United States. Part of the Center for the Book's "Books & Beyond" lecture series, the presentation is cosponsored by the Library's Humanities and Social Sciences Division. It is free and open to the public.