June 28, 2002 Center for the Book Leads Visit of U.S. Librarians to Russia

Regional "Book and Reading Centers" to be Established in Russia

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

On June 20-30, Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole is leading a seven-person delegation of U.S. librarians and reading promoters to Russia to participate in an international conference, "Reading World and World of Reading" in St. Petersburg on June 23 and 24 and to visit libraries in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Vladimir. It will help initiate a project that is creating regional "book and reading centers" throughout Russia sponsored by the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation) in Moscow.

"Our visit culminates an international project developed by the Open Society Institute, its Pushkin Library Megaproject, and the Center for the Book," said Cole. "It has been preceded by visits in April and October 2001 of Russian regional librarians to the Center for the Book and libraries in Washington, D.C., as well as to selected state centers for the book and public libraries in Virginia, Connecticut, and New York." The Section on Reading of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions is a project partner.

Cole, the founding director in 1977 of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, served as chair of the IFLA Section on Reading from 1997-2001. Other delegation members are: Anne Boni, Program Specialist, Center for the Book; Robert Wedgeworth, President Laubach Literacy International and, as Executive Director of the American Library Association (1972- 1985), a member of the Center for the Book's first National Advisory Board; Jean Trebbi, director of the Florida Center for the Book (established 1984), the first of the Center for the Book's 47 state affiliates; Gary E. Strong, Director, Queens Borough Public Library, and Nancy E. Gwinn, Director, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, who hosted the visiting Russian librarians in October, 2001; and Louise Blalock, Chief Librarian, Hartford Public Library, the home of the Connecticut Center for the Book and the host in Hartford of the October 2001 visit.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy, and libraries. For information about its program and publications, see its Web site: www.loc.gov/cfbook.


PR 02-092
ISSN 0731-3527