Iowa Center for the Book
Advisory Council Meeting
May 15, 2002 The University of Iowa Library Conference Room
10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Iowa City, IA
Present: Jim Godsey, Council Bluffs Public Library; Anita Walker, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs; Timothy Walch, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library; Christopher Rossi, Humanities Iowa; Susan Craig, Iowa City Public Library; Karen Keninger, Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped; Kristen Gerhard, Iowa State University; Loma Truck, Public Library of Des Moines; Shaner Magalhaes, State Historical Society of Iowa; Mary Wegner, State Library of Iowa; Roy Kenagy, State Library of Iowa; Annette Wetteland, State Library of Iowa; Steve Person, State Library of Iowa; Christie Vilsack, First Lady, State of Iowa; Timothy Barrett, University of Iowa Center for the Book; Gary Frost, University of Iowa Libraries; Sidney Huttner, University of Iowa Libraries; Christine Pawley, University of Iowa School of Library & Information Studies; Holly Carver, University of Iowa Press.
Roy Kenagy opened the meeting with a request for participants to introduce themselves with a few words about their interest in the Iowa Center for the Book. Roy then reviewed the project to date and discussed the structure and responsibilities of the advisory council. It is an “advisory,” not a policy-making group. The ultimate responsibility for policy will rest with the Commission of Libraries, which is the policy-making body for the State Library. The advisory council will meet once or twice a year, with more frequent meetings of operating committees.
Roy reported on the annual Center for the Book Idea Exchange at the Library of Congress (May 5-7), which he attended. He mentioned two possible future projects that were discussed at the meeting, “River of Words” and “Letters about Literature” (detailed below), and asked for ideas from the other participants about future projects. Those discussed are outlined here:
--River of Words: Students produce poetry and art work with a focus on the environment. Wanda Gardner of Decorah is proposing a similar project.
--Letters About Literature: This program is sponsored annually by“Weekly Reader.” Elementary through senior high students write letters about their favorite books to the authors. The letters are submitted in state competitions, and state winners are submitted in a national competition. Many state centers participate in this activity.
--Roy suggested that instead of annual best book awards, the Iowa Center might consider awards for the support of reading and literacy. These could be given to booksellers, publishers, book reviewers, literacy programs, teachers, and practitioners of the book arts, and would not compete with existing author awards in the state.
--Christine Pawley reported on a project that she and Jim Elmborg at the Library School are initiating, involving the significance of Carnegie libraries in Iowa. Ninety-nine Carnegie grants were awarded to 101 libraries, making Iowa one of the largest recipients of these grants. The centennial of most of the grants is coming up in the next few years. The project will investigate the history and impact of the Carnegie projects on Iowa life. It could be linked from the Iowa Center for the Book web site and could cooperate with the Center on local activities celebrating Carnegie libraries.
--Gary Frost reported on an upcoming conference tentatively entitled "Preservation of the Changing Book: Perspectives in Book Conservation.” The University of Iowa Libraries, the UI Center for the Book, and LBS Archival Products will co-sponsor a conference on the prospects in the field of book conservation, tentatively set for July 14-18, 2005. The conference will take place in Iowa City. A retrospective exhibit of the work of the distinguished conservator and bookbinder Bill Anthony, as well as other exhibits at the UI Libraries, will provide historical perspective. The gathering of accomplished book conservators and conservation educators will interact with students, practitioners and preservation librarians. The conference themes are (1) legacy aspect of book craft and production work, (2) book conservation (3) scenarios and career opportunities for the future of book production and book conservation. More details will be available in the coming months.
--Sid Huttner outlined a project that would identify “Library Treasures,” valuable and interesting collections held by all types of libraries in the state. Sid envisions a traveling exhibit that would visit museums in the state and be accompanied by programs and performances. He feels that a project of this magnitude will need a lead time of from three to five years.
--Tim Barrett reiterated that the University of Iowa Center for the Book is interested in establishing outreach programs for Iowa communities, including school visits in which book specialists demonstrate paper making and book production and guide hands-on experience for participants. Tim said that a good first step will be to post the names of specialists willing to provide programs on the Iowa Center for the Book web site.
--Susan Craig proposed poetry projects and programs. The “Des Moines Poetry Festival” is an established event. Roy Kenagy mentioned that a representative from Poetry House in New York City attended the Center for the Book meeting in Washington, and that he was in contact with her about possible Iowa projects.
--Jim Godsey suggested a project about the art of printing. Gary Frost mentioned a man in Denmark, la., who has several small, working presses.
--Jim Godsey suggested traveling Chautauquas, with lectures on topics such as Carnegie libraries, Mark Twain, etc.
--Karen Keninger talked about the importance of providing support for alternative ways of reading, including books-on-tape, the spoken word, “oral” books and storytelling.
Roy Kenagy announced that he is a finalist for the position of Central Iowa Library Service Area administrator, and so might be leaving his current position and the responsibility of coordinating the Iowa Center for the Book.
Chris Rossi reported on several initiatives by Humanities Iowa that support the Iowa Center for the Book. The Humanities Council will provide $10,000 for the development of an online calendar for book-related events in Iowa, including festivals, readings, programs, and performances. Humanities Iowa has also offered two $5,000 programming grants to Iowa public libraries and has invited the Iowa Center for the Book to participate in “Voices from the Prairie: The Third Annual Iowa Writers’ Celebration” taking place the afternoon of September 27 at Iowa State University. Chris suggested that the occasion will provide high visibility for the Center for the Book and can be used as a kickoff celebration, highlighting the collaboration of all agencies involved. Chris and Pat Miller from Iowa State are organizing the event.
Roy Kenagy reported that the Library of Congress will host a “Celebration of Books” on October 12 in Washington, D. C. It is likely that the Institute for Museums and Libraries will sponsor a participant from each state, and the plan is to involve each state’s Center for the Book if possible. Each state will have a table for exhibits.
Roy Kenagy requested volunteers for the operating committees, and the following committees were formed:
--All Iowa Reads: Kristen Gerhard and Susan Craig, co-chairs; Holly Carver; Anita Walker; Karen Keninger; Jim Godsey.
--Stories 2000: Mary Cameron, chair; Steve Person; Anne O’Bryan; Joe Hyman.
--University of Iowa Center for the Book Outreach: Tim Barrett, chair; Christine Pawley, Gary Frost, Tim Walch,
--Web Site/Literary Calendar/Literary Map: Roy Kenagy, chair; Chris Rossi; Lorna Truck.
--Publicity/Communication/Events: Annette Wetteland, chair; Christie Vilsack, Shaner Magalhaes, Tim Walch.
--New Projects: Sid Huttner, chair; Tim Walch; Mary Wegner; Chris Rossi.
The group identified other organizations and sectors of the literacy and book world that might be involved with the Iowa Center for the Book. Members emphasized the need for diversity and a geographic mix. Groups proposed included:
Iowa Reading Association
Iowa Library Association Booksellers
Department of Education
Iowa History Day representative
Iowa Council of Teachers of English
Bookstores (possibly a representative from Prairie Lights)
The next Iowa Center for the Book meeting will be from 10 a.m. to noon Friday, September 27 in the Cardinal Room, Memorial Union, Iowa State University, Ames. In the afternoon the advisory council will attend the Humanities Iowa “Voices from the Prairie” celebration of Iowa authors, which will highlight the Center for the Book.