(October 1, 2011- September 30, 2012)
Center for the Book Fiscal 2012 Annual Report
This fiscal year, in several important areas, the Center for the Book exceeded its fiscal 2011 performance levels. As specified below, the Center offered more programs, increased usage of its website and served considerably more visitors in its Young Readers Center.
As it has since its founding through Public Law 95-129 in 1977, the center relies on private funding to support all its activities; only its five staff positions are paid through appropriated funds.
National Book Festival
- As it has done since 2001, the Center for the Book played a major role in presentation of the 2012 National book Festival, including:
- Inviting and scheduling all authors and illustrators for a two-day festival of more than 125 presenters
- Drafting of almost all text and oversight of NBF website
- Drafting of almost all text and oversight of NBF program
- Organization of Pavilion of the States – the NBF’s most popular pavilion
- Overall planning of the festival
- From July 1 through the end of September, Center for the Book staff members spent either the vast majority or a substantial portion of their time carrying out National Book Festival responsibilities
“Books That Shaped America” Exhibition
The Center for the Book led the planning and execution of this popular exhibition that attracted widespread, nationwide attention in all major media: print, electronic and radio. Eighty-eight books were initially chosen and 12 more were to be selected and announced during the International Summit of the Book on Dec. 6-7, 2012.
Books & Beyond Author Series
In fiscal 2012, the Center for the Book increased its Books & Beyond author series by 36 percent, offering 34 programs, in many cases co-sponsoring these programs with other Library of Congress offices. This popular author series shines a positive spotlight on the Library’s extraordinary collections and reference staff, as nearly all Books & Beyond programs feature authors whose books are based on their research at the Library. These authors enthusiastically make note of the rich resources of the Library and its staff as part of their presentations – all of which are filmed for later webasting. These webcasts, now numbering more than 200, exponentially expand the reach of this author series.
The Center also continued its collaboration with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in presenting art-related book discussions and signings.
Young Readers Center
Once again, the Young Readers Center (YRC) saw a spike in visitors over the previous fiscal year. More than 40,000 visitors (vs. 29,000 visitors in fiscal 2011) were attracted to this space – the first in the Library’s history dedicated to the needs of young people under 16. The YRC has become a major attraction for families visiting the Library, and its staff work closely with the Visitor Services Office in coordinating visits by school groups. The Interpretive Programs Office also plays a role in helping to shape YRC programs.
Major programs of the YRC in fiscal 2012 included:
- Kids Euro Festival: The YRC partnered with local embassies to host programs for the fourth annual Kids Euro Festival
- Africa Access: In November 2011, the YRC hosted the winners of the Children’s Africana Book Award in a program based on the book “Seeds of Change: Wangari’s Gift to the World”
- Reading Is Fundamental: The YRC hosted the 45th anniversary celebration of Reading Is Fundamental, a literacy organization that is among the Center for the Book’s more than 80 reading promotion partners.
- Story time: The YRC continued its very popular weekly story time programs on Fridays
- Puppet Workshop: On one of the YRC’s busiest days, the day after Thanksgiving, the center held a puppet workshop
- Library of Congress Box Collection: The YRC serves as a host for visiting student groups and their teachers as they explore various parts of the Library through the “box collection” project, which is administered by the Visitor Services Office
The YRC collections continue to grow, thanks to book donations. A major donation of 4,170 books came from Diane Roback, children’s book editor, at Publishers Weekly. The YRC added about 600 books to its collections from this donation, and the Children’s Literature Center selected 137 titles.
“Ballet for Martha” Event
After several months of intense planning and in close cooperation with the Music Division, the Center for the Book organized, funded and presented the program “Ballet for Martha” in the Coolidge Auditorium on Oct. 4. Enjoyed by approximately 250 schoolchildren, their teachers and members of the public, the event featured the authors and illustrator of a lavishly illustrated book for young people telling the story of how the ballet “Appalachian Spring” was commissioned by the Library of Congress and premiered in the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium in 1944. Three costumed dancers from the Martha Graham Dance Company delighted the audience with their performance.
The program was supported by the publishers of the book “Ballet for Martha: The Making of Appalachian Spring” and the Jonah S. Eskin Memorial Fund on the Library of Congress.
National Ambassador for Young People's Literature
National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Walter Dean Myers is in the first year of a two-year term. He became National Ambassador on Jan. 10, 2012. Myers’s platform is “Reading is not optional.”
The National Ambassador is named by the Librarian of Congress for a two-year term, based on recommendations from a selection committee representing many segments of the book community. The selection criteria include the candidate’s contribution to young people’s literature and ability to relate to children. The position was created to raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.
The Center for the Book, the Children’s Book Council (CBC) and Every Child a Reader (the CBC foundation), are the sponsors of the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature initiative (www.read.gov/cfb/ambassador). The CBC is one of the Center for the Book’s more than 80 reading promotion partners. Financial support for the National Ambassador program is provided by Penguin Young Readers Group, Scholastic Inc., HarperCollins Children’s Books, Random House Children’s Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Macmillan Publishers, Holiday House, Charlesbridge, National Geographic Children’s Books, Candlewick Press and Marshall Cavendish Publishers.
Walter Dean Myers is one of America’s foremost authors of young people’s literature. He has written more than 100 books, both fiction and nonfiction, and has won the Coretta Scott King Award five times, most recently for “Slam” in 1997. He is also a five-time recipient of the King Honor Award, and he is the first winner of the Michael L. Printz Award, given annually for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. Myers has received rave reviews for his drama “Carmen,” an update of the opera of the same name. He was born in 1937 in Martinsburg, W. Va., and raised in Harlem by foster parents. Myers has been writing since high school. He knew he would be able to support himself as a writer when, in 1969, he won a contest sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books for Children, for “Where Does a Day Go?” Myers graduated from Empire State College in 1984 and currently lives in Jersey City, N.J.
In May, during Children’s Book Week, Myers led a program with about 350 local schoolchildren in the Coolidge Auditorium. The program was funded by the Jonah S. Eskin Fund.
Myers also took part in the 12th National Book Festival.
Major enhancements to Read.gov, the Center for the Book’s primary website, resulted in 2,283,254 page views – a fourfold increase over fiscal 2011.
- Read.gov reintroduced the successful “Exquisite Corpse Adventure” original serialized story.
- Introduced an online version and app version of Aesop’s Fables, illustrated by Milo Winter (from Rare Book & Special Collections Division)
- Continued to add additional content such as more webcasts, digitized books, etc.
- More than 200 webcasts are currently available
Read.gov is the only site on loc.gov that offers contemporary programming related to books and their authors.
Center for the Book Newsletter
The Center continued to publish its electronic newsletter on a quarterly basis. It has become the primary tool for communicating with the Center’s partners and affiliated Centers for the Book, in addition to the annual Partners Meeting and State Centers Meeting.
Reading Promotion Partners/State Centers for the Book
The annual “idea exchange” for national reading promotion partners took place on March 6. More than 45 organizations participated. Representatives of 35 states participated in the April 23-24 annual “idea exchange” for affiliated State Centers for the Book. Every three years, a State Center must apply to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress to renew its status.
Twenty affiliated Centers for the Book were renewed in fiscal 2012. They are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Festschrift for John Y. Cole
The Library of Congress, in association with the University of Texas Press, published a 223-page illustrated volume, “The Library of Congress and the Center for the Book: Historical Essays in Honor of John Y. Cole.”
Letters About Literature
For the third consecutive year, the Letters About Literature reading-writing program received more than 70,000 entries from students in grades 4-12. This contest, sponsored by Target, asks students to write a letter to an author (living or dead) whose work changed their lives. Six National and 12 National Honor winners are recognized each year with grants to the students’ school libraries and gift cards to the students.
The contest (with winners announced in spring 2012) was the last one that Target funded. The Center for the Book is working with the Development Office to secure a new sponsor.
River of Words
The Center for the Book also co-sponsors River of Words, an environmental poetry and art contest for students ages 5 through 19. The Center has co-sponsored this program since its inception in 1995. During 2011, the program was on hiatus, as a new funding sponsor was secured. The program has found a new home at St. Mary’s College Center for Environmental Literacy in Moraga, Calif. (east of San Francisco).
The River of Words awards ceremony returned to the Library to great success on April 23 with attendance by more than 200.
National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest
The Center hosted its third awards ceremony for the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest in conjunction with the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (external link) and the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (external link), with major support from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation. Established in 2005 by Fine Books & Collections magazine to recognize outstanding book collecting efforts by college and university students, the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest aims to encourage young collectors to become accomplished bibliophiles. The magazine conducted the annual competition program before turning over leadership to the new collaboration of institutional partners.
The Center for the Book co-sponsored with the Hispanic Division the Americas Award of the Consortium of Latin American Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. The award recognizes outstanding U.S. works of fiction, poetry, folklore or selected nonfiction published in the previous year. The winning works must “authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean or Latinos in the United States.”
International Literacy Day AwardsThe Center for the Book on Sept. 7 hosted a program in recognition of International Literacy Day that included a discussion on preparing teachers for Common Core excellence in the classroom. The event also included an awards ceremony for communities that sponsor outstanding literacy programs. The awards are supported by the International Reading Association, Rotary International and the Pearson Foundation to recognize International Literacy Day. The International Reading Association and Rotary International encourage their members to work together to further literacy at the local and international level.