23 Progeny and Counting; Application for Books, Reading, and Libraries Is the Mission. A Nonstop Flurry of Activities Is the Method
Charnizon, Marlene, American Libraries
Appreciation for books, reading, and libraries is the mission. A nonstop flurry of activities is the method.
IN MONTANA, AS IN SEVERAL other states around the country, a state Center for the Book has recently opened. "Usually," says Richard Miller, Montana state librarian, "you don't hear about a state like Montana. The center will allow a focal point for Montana's rich literary heritage."
While "the jury is still out" in Alabama, according to Blane K. Dessy, director of the Alabama Public Library Service in Montgomery, on the efficacy of setting up a state center in Alabama, one factor in its favor is the prestige that would conceivably accrue to the book community there.
At present, there are 23 state centers affiliated with the national Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which was established in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books, reading, and libraries.
The Center's activities-all privately funded-are aimed both at the general public and at scholars studying the history of books. The overall program includes reading promotion projects with six television networks, symposia, lectures, exhibitions, special events, and publications. "Read More About It," the LC/CBS Television project now in its 11th season is probably the Center's best-know promotion.
Center grows arms
The idea for a state center first took hold in Florida, in the early 1980s.
"It seemed we were doing so many things that the Center's mission was about," says Jean D. Trebbi, executive director of the Florida Center for the Book in Ft. Lauderdale. At the time the idea began to jell, Trebbi was program coordination for Broward County Libraries and experimenting with the national Center's promotional themes, for example, "Books Make a Difference." On one occasion, Mary Scott Welch, coauthor of Networking, gave a talk; the book gave Trebbi "an insight into how things can be connected and are connected."
Why not a center in Florida, liking disparate elements of the book culture throughout the state? The idea was tossed around by Florida book people, and the question of affiliating was put to John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book since its inception, and then-Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin.
The Florida center has been going strong since it was started in 1984. "By promoting books and reading, we also promote librarians," says Carol Collins, Trebbi's assistant.
Love me, read to me
On National Young Reader's Day, November 15, 1989, 520 newborn infants and their mothers in more than 60 hospitals in communities throughout Florida received a "Raise-A-Reader" kit as a gift from the state's Center for the Book. The kit contained a teddy bear labeled "Love Me, Read to Me," a paperback copy and an audiocasette of Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, a coupon for a copy of Jim Trelease's Read Aloud Handbook, redeemable at the local library, an adult size T-Shirt with the Florida Center for the Book logo on it, a magnet for the refrigerator, and a message from Erma Bombeck, "How to Encourage Your Child to Read." Florida conducted a similar campaign in state hospitals last January. The Sun Sentinal Company, a major corporate sponsor of the Florida project, helped in the planning of the "Love Me Read to Me" campaign.
In Seattle, the fledging state center received funding from the Golden Grain Corporation, a division of Quaker Oats, for its "Raise a Reader" promotion and distributed some 200 kits to newborn babies and two adoptees in a pilot project modeled after Florida's. Says Jean Coberly, coordinator of the center and manager of the education, business, and science departments of the Seattle Public Library, the expectation is that the Washington State Center for the Book will "enhance the visibility of the library with the community."
"Each state center," says Cole, "is encouraged to use themes of the national Center to support the |book culture' in its own state." Says Trebbi, "The Florida center has opened a network that we would not otherwise have access to; we are part of the up-and-coming, new intellectual development of the South."
According to the Library of Congress Guidelines for State and Regional Centers, "The organizers of each potential state center should submit a proposal to the Center...in the Library of Congress... The request should outline proposed program of activities that parallels, in spirit and scope the program at the Library of Congress...[and] likely sources of funding." The affiliation is for three years and may be renewed.
Success "trickles down"
Like Washington, Pennysylvania set up a center in 1989. There, as elsewhere, state agencies and arts organizations, as well as other members of the book community, participated in the planning. "We believe we will be creating a major new intellectual force in Pennysylvania and a lot of focus on books that will bring together members of the book community," says Sara Parker, state librarian. There should be a new awareness of activities among communities, and a "trickle-down" effect for patrons, she added. Hopefully, too, the public will find better selections in libraries and bookstores of the work of Pennysylvania writers and publishers.
Oryx Press of Arizona has been active in that state's center, through the contribution of software to libraries, but also through the activities of Phyllis B. Steckler, company president and chair of the center's advisory board. The Arizona center was chartered in 1988 and defines its mission this way: "To actively ease the reader and writer toward one another." The center obtained federal funding, under the Library Services and Construction Act, for Apple IIGS computers, given as gifts to selected libraries throughout the state; Phoenix's Oryx Press donated its "BookBrain" software. As a reading incentive program, "BookBrain" enables children to search a database of thousands of titles for books that interest them.
The Arizona Center also recently held its first program, at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. The principal speaker was Richard Peck, YA author. He was introduced by John Cole, and followed by three panelists: Allen Nilsen, assistant vice president, Arizona State University; W. David Laird, university librarian, University of Arizona; and Miguel Carranza, associate professor, University of Nebraska at Lincoln. About 300 people attended the program.
"Young readers need the milestones, progress reports, and role models YA books provide because American adolescence is a long, slow process today. Nobody grows up until he has to; in our books, somebody always has to," Peck said.
A lifetime of reading
We grow with books, the vital core of a lifetime's habits, linking one time of life and one generation with another. The year 1991 has already been designated "The Year of the Lifetime Reader" by the Library of Congress. (See sidebar.)
Last year alone, over 40 companies and 200 individuals made tax-deductible contributions to support Center for the Book programs. LC has established a trust fund to ensure a continuing source of income for the Center for the Book.
The ultimate goal of the Center for the Book has never been to establish a program in every state. "The beauty of the program is that it depends on self-motivated people who want to become involved," says Cole, though the growing pattern is clear. "We've also been involved internationally," he adds. A Centre for the Book, patterned on LC's, has opened in the British Library, and France, South Africa, Norway, and Australia have also shown interest.
For more information about the Center for the book, write to John Y. Cole, Director, Center for the Book, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540
1991-Year of the Lifetime Reader
The Library of Congress has designated 1991 as the "Year if the Lifetime Reader." A new poster by Jerry Pinkney is one of the many new products created by ALA and the Center for the Book to commemorate the theme.
"Year of the Lifetime Reader" bookmarks, magnets, T-shirts, banners, and pencils are also available. Order from the ALA Graphics catalog, 800-545-2433, press 8. For program ideas and logo, write Center for the Book, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540.
The 23 state Centers for the Book: locations, contacts
Arizona: Arizona Department of Library Archives and Public Records, 1700 West Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007; 602-542-3701; Ray Trevis, Research Division.
California: California State Library Foundation, POB 942837, Sacramento, CA 94232-0001; 916-445-4027; Vickie Lockhart, Program Coordinator.
Colorado: Pike's Peak Library District, POB 1579, Colorado Springs, CO 80901; 719-531-6333; Bernard Margolis, Director.
Connecticut: Connecticut State Library, 231 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106;203-566-4301; Richard G. Akeroyd, Jr., State Librarian.
Florida: Broward County Library, 100 South Andrews Ave., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301;305-357-7404; Jean Trebbi, Director.
Illinois: Illinois State Library, Room 275, Centennial Building, Springfield, IL 62756; Bridget L. Lamont, Director.
Indiana: Indiana State Library, 140 N. Senate Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46204; 317-232-1938; Jean Jose, Assistant Director.
Iowa: Public Library of Des Moines, 100 Locust St., Des Moines, IA 50308; 515-283-4152; Elaine G. Estes, Director.
Kansas: Topeka Public Library, 1515 West 10th, Topeka, KS 66604; 913-233-2040; Susan B. Marchant.
Michigan: Library of Michigan, POB 3007, Lansing, MI 48909; 517-373-1583; Joan C. Smith, Director, Special Projects.
Minnesota: Metronet, 226 Metro Square Bldg., 7th & Robert Streets, St. Paul, MN 55101;612-224-4804; Mary Birmingham.
Montana: Montana State Library, 1515 E. 6th Ave., Helena, MT; 406-444-5353; Cathy Siegner, Coordinator.
Nebraska: Nebraska Library Commission, 1420 P St., Lincoln, NE 68508;402-471-2045; Dick Allen.
New Jersey: New Jersey State Library, 185 W. State St., Trenton, NJ 08625;609-530-8013; Leslie Burger, Project Specialist.
Ohio: State Library of Ohio, 65 S. Front St., Columbus, OH 43266; 614-644-7061; Richard M. Cheski, State Librarian.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma Department of Libraries, 200 Northeast 18th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73105; 405-521-2502; Aarone Corwin.
Oregon: Oregon State Library, State Library Building, Salem, OR 97310-0624; 503-378-4367; Wesley A. Doak, State Librarian.
Pennysylvania: State Library of Pennysylvania, POB 1601, Forum Bldg., Harrisburg, PA 17105; 717-787-5723; Faye Glick.
Rhode Island: Department of State Library Services, 300 Richmond St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903; 401-277-2726; Bruce E. Daniels.
Texas: Dallas Public Library, 1515 Young St., Dallas, TX 75201; 214-670-1400; Wayne Gray, Coordinator.
Virginia: 716 Burruss Drive, N.W., Blacksburg, VA 24060; 703-951-4770; Ann Heidbreder Eastman.
Washington: Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA 98104;206-386-4101; Jean Coberly, Education Department.
Wisconsin: L.E. Phillips Memorial Library, 400 Eau Claire St., Eau Claire, WI 54701: 715-839-5002; Mildred N. Larson.…
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Publication information: Article title: 23 Progeny and Counting; Application for Books, Reading, and Libraries Is the Mission. A Nonstop Flurry of Activities Is the Method. Contributors: Charnizon, Marlene - Author. Magazine title: American Libraries. Volume: 21. Issue: 9 Publication date: October 1990. Page number: 906+. © 1984 American Library Association. COPYRIGHT 1990 Gale Group.