March 18, 2002 Iowa Center for the Book Approved

Press Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public Contact: (202) 707-5221

The Library of Congress has approved a proposal for the establishment of an Iowa Center for the Book that will be affiliated with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The home of the Iowa center will be the Iowa State Library in Des Moines.

"Iowa has been a haven for libraries and literacy since its early history," said Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole. "The new Iowa Center for the Book will take advantage of this rich heritage of books and reading and a wonderful spirit of cooperation among organizations across the state. Drawing on projects already underway, the Iowa State Library is building a strong partnership base for the new center; we're eager to move ahead."

"Our mission is to promote a love of literature and literacy in every corner of the state," said Roy Kenagy, Information Services Manager at the State Library, who will serve as the new center's coordinator. "We will enlist many different people and groups, but we are especially pleased by the early commitment to our endeavor by the University of Iowa Center for the Book and our state humanities council, Humanities Iowa."

An advisory panel of 15-20 people will oversee the Iowa Center for the Book. It will include Iowa's First Lady Christie Vilsack; State Librarian Mary Wegner; Chris Rossi, Executive Director, Humanities Iowa; and Timothy Barrett, Director, University of Iowa Center for the Book. Additional members will represent all geographic areas of the state and a cross-section of Iowa's "community of the book," from author to reader, and include writers, publishers, book designers and printers, historians, educators, librarians, booksellers, reading specialists, and performing artists.

Initially the Iowa Center for the Book will focus on coordinating and expanding existing book and reading programs. It will assume coordination of Stories 2000, a multi-faceted literacy program established by Christie Vilsack, Iowa's First Lady. In partnership with Humanities Iowa, it will develop a Web-based events calendar, map, and directory of statewide book, reading, and cultural events and institutions. It will work with the University of Iowa Center for the Book, which has a special strength in the book arts, to reach out to Iowa communities with presentations by book specialists in schools, colleges, public libraries, and adult education venues. Finally, it will initiate "All Iowa Reads," a statewide promotion effort that will highlight the state's 543 local public libraries as centers for reading in their communities.

For information about the Iowa Center for the book, contact Roy Kenagy, Coordinator, State Library of Iowa, 1112 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50319, telephone (515- 281-6789, fax (515) 281-6191, e-mail:


PR 02-034
ISSN 0731-3527