Iowa Center for the Book
Advisory Council Meeting
October 28, 2004 Iowa City Public Library
Present: Timothy Barrett, Susan Bedell, Susan Craig, Monica Gohlinghorst, Sid Huttner, Roy Kenagy, Shaner Magalhaes, Robin Martin, Marilyn Mercado, Steve Person, Christine Pawley, Loma Truck, Katherine Von Wald, Tim Walch, Mary Wegner, Annette Wetteland and Christie Vilsack
1. Introductions. Magalhaes, committee chair, began the meeting by having people introduce themselves. He then asked for approval of the minutes from the last meeting. Gohlinghorst moved to accept the minutes; Martin seconded. Minutes were approved.
2. Foundation for the Iowa Center for the Book (ICB). Wegner said the Iowa Commission for Libraries had appointed members to the Foundation board. They are Gohlinghorst and Dale Ross. ICB appointees are Walch and Craig. More members will be added at a later date. An individual willing to be the incorporator has been identified. Vilsack suggested the group start working on a fundraising strategy. It was decided to have the Foundation in place first.
3. All Iowa Reads (AIR) 2004 and 2005. Craig said the 2005 AIR selection (Master Butchers Singing Club) was announced at the October Iowa Library Association Conference in Sioux City and the audience seemed pleased. The 2005 website is under development.
Craig also said that there were still book discussions being held for the 2004 selection (<em>Niagara Fall All Over Again</em>). She noted that tracking the number of books checked out of libraries and sold by bookstores is difficult. Von Wald said there have been 75 libraries that have put book discussion information on the literary calendar this year. It was noted that many libraries and book clubs may not have entered information about their discussions on the calendar.
It was agreed that the January ICN program that talks about the latest selection is very popular and should be held again this year. Kenagy asked if the Library Service Areas would be receiving their copies of the book soon. Von Wald said they were ordered. Vilsack said she may purchase copies, too, and would act as a back up if the Service Areas cannot meet demand.
4. Letters About Literature. Von Wald distributed a handout listing judges for 2005. Letters must be postmarked by December 6, 2004. Iowa judges will read the letters in February and winners will be announced between March 15 and 31. In April, the national winners will be announced. Von Wald said she was pleased with last year’s program, especially since the top three Iowa winners made it into the top six nationally.
Von Wald said she has sent information about next year’s program to several different groups. She hopes to have the Iowa awards ceremony at the Iowa Reading Association Conference again next year. Mary Cameron, State Library, and others have been promoting the program to librarians who work with homeschoolers.
Vilsack said she would like to help promote the Iowa winners by holding a press conference. She also suggested the governor’s office may take pictures of the winners that could go out with news releases to the winners’ local newspapers.
5. Literary Calendar. Von Wald passed out handouts that showed the number of events in the literary calendar and the breakdown of different organizations that have entered events. There was discussion among members about how to promote using the calendar to a larger audience. Vilsack said she would be sure her events were added, and it was suggested that a message go out over the Iowa library mail list and to advisory board members once a month. It was also suggested that news editors be contacted and encouraged to check the website. It was also mentioned that bookstores may be willing to link to the calendar from their websites.
Advisory board members decided it may be easier to get information on the calendar if they added it themselves. Mercado, Martin and Gohlinghorst offered to try and get information from different groups and add items to the calendar. Kenagy suggested that we may have to go out and search websites for upcoming events. Walch said he could get on the mailing list of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop and the Prairie Lights Bookstore website to find information. Vilsack suggested contacting bookstores and private, university and community college libraries. Martin said she would work with private academics. Wegner suggested we get permission from groups before adding their programs to the calendar.
The problem of programs changing times or canceling was mentioned. Von Wald said there is a disclaimer on the website to handle this.
6. National Book Festival. Wetteland reported that she and Mary Cameron, State Library, attended the National Book Festival in Washington, DC on October 9. Around 85,000 were in attendance. The festival is sponsored by First Lady Laura Bush and the Library of Congress. Wetteland and Cameron had a booth in the Pavilion for the States and had a steady stream of visitors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wetteland said it is a great way to promote Iowa and the Iowa Center for the Book.
7. Future Projects. Vilsack asked if anyone had contacted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources regarding their River of Words poetry contest. Von Wald said she has invited the project coordinator to the Advisory Council’s spring meeting. She also noted that there is a link to the project on the ICB website.
The “Books to Kindergartners” project that Vilsack began was discussed. Next year’s selection is a bi-lingual book titled Home Pictures. She said she would like the project to continue when she is no longer First Lady. She said the “Books” project costs between $100,000 and $200,000 each year for 42,000 books. There have been different funding sources each year. Iowa’s Area Education Agencies have provided $50,000 in funding and delivery services yearly. It was decided that the project would require a separate committee of the ICB advisory council and a good deal of fundraising by the foundation. Vilsack suggested that a committee be named soon with members from ICB and her board.
Von Wald asked that anyone with information about the Iowa Book Awards contact her. Walch said his organization (Herbert Hoover Library) also gives out an award each year, as does the University of Iowa Press and, on occasion, the Iowa Library Association’s Johnson Brigham award. Cultural Affairs also has a “Books About Iowa” award. There are also Iowans who have won awards for their books.
Wegner provided information about the "Reading at Risk" survey completed this year by National Endowment for the Arts. She said book circulation is down in Iowa. Walch said museum visits have also fallen in the past few years, and noted that people want more “hands on” activities at museums.
The next meeting of the Iowa Center for the Book Advisory Council will be May 12, 2005. The group will try to arrange to meet at the Hometown Perry Museum.
Annette Wetteland, Recorder