Iowa Center for the Book
Advisory Council Meeting Minutes
10 a.m. to noon, November 15, 2013
Iowa City Public Library
Attendees: Timothy Barrett, Marvin Bergman, Joan Bessman-Taylor, Susan Craig, Ed Goedeken, Brianna Glenn, Monica Gohlinghorst, Mary Heinzman, Tom Kessler, Robin Martin, Alice Meyer, Katherine Perkins, Sarah Prineas, Kristin Steingreaber, Gail Stricker, Tim Walch, Mary Wegner, Annette Wetteland, Mike Wright
Members unable to attend: Jan Kaiser, Chris Rossi
Guest: Dale Ross
1. Call to Order – Sarah Prineas, Chair
2. Introduction of new Council Members and Guest:
- Thomas Kessler, Collection Management and Special Services Librarian and Bibliographer, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
- Alice Meyer, owner of Beaverdale Books
- Mike Wright, Interim Associate University Librarian, Collections and Scholarly Communication, University of Iowa Libraries
- Gail Stricker, Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
- Guest: Dale Ross, President of the Iowa Center for the (ICB) Foundation
3.Approval of May 31, 2013 Minutes. Craig moved to approve; Heinzman seconded.
4.Iowa Library Services (IaLS)/State Library Report – Mary Wegner, State Librarian
- IaLS got good budget news from this year’s Iowa General Assembly: $250,000 in one-time technology money; half will go to needs at IaLS and the other $125,000 to public and academic libraries in the form of $1,500 technology grants which would provide money to about 82 libraries total. So far there have been 200 applicants. Wegner said the need is definitely there, and it will make a good story to tell legislators next year. Several libraries are partnering on larger projects. The winning grants will be announced the week of Dec. 2.
- The search for next State Librarian is under way; the application period closed. Wegner said there are many well qualified applicants. The first round of interviews will take place soon. They hope to interview two to three finalists in December and have someone in place in January.
- Wegner thanked the ICB Advisory Council for their work. Reading and books are important, Wegner said, but so is the opportunity to work with people from all walks of the literacy arena. She asked them to keep up the good networking that takes place in the Council.
5.Coordinator Report – Robin Martin
- The 2014 Letters About Literature contest is underway. This year there will be two deadlines: Ninth through 12th grade deadlines are December 10 and fourth through eighth grades is January 10. Martin said that this year she reached out to teachers who may have retired or changed positions to figure out why numbers are down. Iowa’s had high participation rates; we’re always in the top 10 of states participating. The LAL Iowa winners’ celebration will be Friday, April 25 and the Des Moines Public Library. The Institute of Museums and Library Service is collaborating with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to bring student ambassadors to all regions of the country during National Poetry Month. Since our LAL celebration will be in April, Martin has requested poet Sojourner Ahebee, Midwest regional ambassador to come to the LAL ceremony as our guest speaker. Martin encouraged new ICB Council members to check out LAL information on the ICB website.
- This year’s National Book Festival in Washington, DC was another great success. Author Delia Ray provided 25 copies of her book Here Lies Linc to give out, as well as bookmarks. Ray’s book was Iowa’s Great Reads Map selection this year. The Festival now runs two days, and more than 200,000 people attended. Martin said Iowa had a lot of fun things to give away. Bound to Stay Bound provided 40 books, and IaLS provided 30 copies of Jean Thompson’s The Year We Left Home. Bookmarks of “Iowa Authors Then and Now” were also a hit. Because the National Mall will be closed next year for a new underground watering system, the Festival will be held indoors at a D.C. convention center.
- Martin said she attended the Wonder of Words Festival in Des Moines and introduced Iowa author Douglas Bauer. Bauer has just released What Happens Next, a book of essays that pick up where his award-winning book Prairie City (Iowa) left off. At least 150 people attended.
- Martin is collaborating with state coordinators from Massachusetts and California to host a webinar discussion on digital literary maps. Coordinators from other states and representatives from the Library of Congress Center for the Book are invited. Only a few states have digital maps sites. Martin said it will be a nice opportunity for the ICB to learn more about the possibilities. Jay Peterson (IaLS Consultant) will produce the program from IaLS Adobe Connect Classroom site.
- Martin has begun collecting stories from Iowa public libraries that have adult book discussion programs. The stories are summarized in a series on the ICB website. 40 libraries have sent their discussion lists so far and the only book that appears consistently is the All Iowa Reads annual selection.
- Martin was on Iowa Public Radio’s “Talk of Iowa” with Charity Nebbe. They discussed with other guests the first book they’d connected with as a child - that special book that set you on the path of being a reader.
6.Report from Working Groups and Committees.
Barrett and Glenn: Traveling Exhibit of the Book. They brought props to show. Gary Frost and Cheryl Jacobson at the University of Iowa helped create some of them. The project involves a traveling exhibit to show the history of the book and its importance to our culture. The plan is to package up a kit to use as a standalone display in libraries, schools or other public venues at little or no cost. A budget proposal was handed out. The exhibit will be interactive with hands-on learning emphasized, especially for children. It will contain a collection of handmade paper, including vellum (animal skin), papyrus, and bark. Frost wants to include counting tokens, scrolls, papyrus book of Antiquity, Medieval wooden board book, account book and a parchment Ethiopian. A teacher’s guidebook and session tutorial will be included in the traveling box, along with other “bells and whistles” on the history of the book. The cost to develop the display is estimated at $2,500 to $3,500. Glenn wants the display out as soon as possible so kids can learn from it. There could also be papermaking or mock Chinese woodblock sketching activities. Stricker offered a Braille book, and said they would help with signage. Martin said some of what could be in the display has already been collected for the yearly “Hands on Book Fest for Kids” in Des Moines. The exhibit will also include images from sacred texts representing the Koran, the Latin Bible, Torah and a Buddhist scripture. Items in the traveling exhibit must be replaceable. Bookmarks could be provided to accompany the exhibit, or they could be available to the library or school on the ICB website where they could be downloaded. Steingreaber said Area Education Agencies might be willing to help pay for shipping costs to schools. Wegner said she would like to see it in facilities that are open to the public, but that schools and libraries may be able to work together. Ross asked what the target time is for completion, and Barrett replied it could be done in early summer 2014. Ross suggested that the project could be pitched to corporate entities willing to underwrite the costs of shipping, etc. It was also mentioned that IaLS district offices may be able to help with moving the exhibit around the libraries in their areas. There was also a conversation about the type of cases that will be needed to ship it and how long each venue will be able to keep it. Craig suggested that in the future new technology may allow people to use it interactively, for example, by touch screens and audios recordings with explanations of the exhibit.
Iowa Authors – Goedeken Goedeken said agreeing on a core list of “treasures” always a challenge, but his committee has come up with a good number of Iowa authors “then and now.” The criteria for selection include” that: authors have a significant body of work published over a number of years; different genres be represented; and authors self-identify as Iowans or are known as Iowans in the literary world. Members of the committee will write 500 word essays on each author. The biographies will be posted to the ICB website. Marv Bergman was recognized as an expert as he has edited the Biographical Dictionary of Iowa. Bergman noted the typical entry there was 750 words. The ICB Council will be the gatekeepers as to who is eventually added to the list. Prineas asked Goedeken to send out the core list to the committee members who will pick authors to write about. A template will be needed. Walsh said he will work on an example. The information should include a biography and the writer’s personal philosophy as an author. A subcommittee will review and edit the responses. Ross volunteered to edit the final versions. The time frame for completing this was set for May 2014.
All Iowa Reads 2014. Craig said the 2014 selection is Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman. Craig gave a brief description of the book and said responses to it so far have been good. Craig said author Jean Thompson (the 2013 author of All Iowa Reads) did a great job at the Iowa Library Association Conference. Bergman, who serves on the AIR Committee, said some years members agree easily on the next year’s title, but the 2014 selection was more difficult. Several votes had to be taken. But Bergman said the group always works well together. Runners-up for 2014 were The Orchardist, Lighthouse Road, Benediction, The Snow Child, and My Name is Mary Sutter. Craig described a change regarding large print in selection criteria for 2015. The Committee agreed that the book must be available by January 1st of the selection year in paperback, unabridged audio, and either large print or downloadable eBook format that is available for purchase and circulation by public libraries. In the event that the book is not available in large print, the Committee will request that the publisher make it available in LP. Options are restricted when large print must be included, said Craig. Stricker told the group she was very disappointed in the decision that large print would not necessarily be required. She noted that iPads and other book readers are not a good choice for elderly people, and that many Iowans would not be served by the decision. Craig said every effort will be made to get AIR selections in large print, but the format is becoming harder to find. It was asked if AARP would be interested in helping with this issue. Craig said about 300-400 copies of AIR books are bought by libraries, which doesn’t include private book clubs. Craig guessed that probably 1,000 copies are purchased.
7. ICB Foundation Update - Dale Ross. The Foundation met after the May 2013 ICB meeting and worked on finishing some legal details, and a fund raising plan that Martin had drafted. Their next task to identify people who will give substantial donations. There is currently about $6,000 in the bank including $5,000 from Christie Vilsack’s former foundation.
8. Brief reports/news items from each Council member
Glenn – Her library is creating an online book club for small libraries. Librarians will contact them with the book they want posted, and then host an online discussion. Next year is their soft launch. The De Soto Public Library is taking part in the ILEAD – USA project
Heinzman – St. Ambrose University Library developed a “Human Book Library.” Fifteen people who are experts in their disciplines at the University can be “checked out” for an hour at a time. They are all represented by book covers located on SAU Library’s website so that patrons can find more information about each person. For now, the book topics are tied to sustainability, the University’s goal this year. If it is successful, Heinzman said they will do it again in the spring. At Christmas, Heinzman said they held a book arts program where people came to the library and learned how to make miniature books to hang on a Christmas tree.
Perkins – Iowa Public Radio hired a new executive director who is starting in January. Perkins served as executive producer for talk shows last year and is filling in for the managing editor who is on vacation. She said it has been an interesting year. There was a summer series on the corrections system in the state. And the radio station hosted Iowa Week, a series of shows on people in Iowa. The station is experimenting with social media to help drive people to the station’s website and other social media sites. She said that each time she attends an Advisory Council meeting she leaves with new programming ideas for Iowa Public Radio. She also encouraged members to visit the new Cedar Rapids Public Library which is representative of the library of the 21st century.
Gohlinghorst – The Council Bluffs Public Library is working on a new strategic plan. In October, the director and library staff worked on finding new ways to get people in. They held “Artrageous” event where a library staffer had people work on a Day of the Dead activity - teens in the afternoon and adults in the evening. Every activity involved books from the library’s collection.
Goedeken – has been editing a collection of biographies of Iowa State University faculty and staff. So far 520 essays have been completed.
Walch – Since his retirement, he has completed books on Presidents Hoover and Eisenhower, and the Urban Catholic education experience. He is working on two other books. He volunteers at the West Branch Public library, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and University of Iowa Center for the Book in the conservation area.
Craig – Iowa City had another successful book festival sponsored in 2013 by the City of Literature (UNESCO) rather than the University of Iowa Libraries. The festival was moved from July to October. Everyone was happy with the change. The City of Literature is working on the “One Book, Two Book” Festival set for January 2014. She noted that Iowa City just finished another remodeling of the public library. There is a new teen center on the second floor.
Prineas – Noted her next book will come out in January and another in the fall. She has also sold two more to her editor. She is working on the fourth book in her Magic Thief series.
Wright – Said a new director was named to the University of Iowa Libraries. Mike said he’s looking forward to a lot of positive changes and recommended folks stop by the library. The new commons area is beautiful as is the remodeling of an old, tired building.
Meyer – Participated in the “Wonder of Words” book festival in Des Moines. Authors Amy Tan, Mary Swander, Pat Mora (author of Thomas the Library Lady), and a diversity forum were part of the festival. There was no local author fair this year. Meyer said she has had a lot of events at her book stores, including 13 author events this month. There will be a poetry reading tonight with poets from the University of Iowa, ISU and the Writers Workshop.
Stricker – Randy Landgrebe, program director for the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, has resigned, and Gail will be taking his place on the Advisory Council. She noted the Library for the Blind has a new application for iPhones and iPads so that people can download books from the Library’s website. It’s a free service for those who qualify for Department for the Blind services. She is working on the Braille Challenge – a contest for blind students who come to Des Moines and compete in Braille-related contests. Iowa and other states’ winners go on to California. Iowa had one student compete nationally. Striker said Iowa has the largest Braille collection in the world housed in the ILBPH facility. She invited council members to stop by the library sometime. She and her staff participated in the “Hands on Book Fest for Kids” which she said was very rewarding. Striker leads an All Iowa Reads discussion every year through telephone conference calls, and said they are very successful.
Bessman-Taylor – She noted that the University of Iowa’s School of Library Information Science’s director has returned and is leading them as they continue to revise the library school’s mission and strategic plan. Among other things, their website will be redesigned. They have increased their partnership with the University’s Center for the Book which is also housed under the School of Library and information Science now. Staff are also working with digital communities on campus. Bessman-Taylor said there are more library students who want to do practicums. She may be asking for more libraries to participate. She said she has found an academic press who may be interested in publishing the book she has been working on.
Kessler – Noted that the new Dean of the Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa, has been in place for a year now. The library has been remodeled, and they are in the process of integrating some of the campus’s museum collections into the library. They also developed a Rural Schools archival website. In the spring they will launch an institutional repository for items related to the archive and are working with the University of Iowa and Iowa State. The library collaborates in UNI’s Common Read program for incoming freshman known as “Cornerstone.” The library’s website features programs and resources that support the Cornerstone’s year-long community discussions on social justice issues.
Barrett – The U of Iowa Center for the book just hosted a visit by Mark Dimunation, Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress. Dimunation lectured on the challenges and joys of building a comprehensive collection of contemporary book art on top of a collection of one million items at LOC. Barrett said he learned that Mr. Dimunation must meet with every person who wishes to donate his or her book to the Library of Congress. It is not true that LOC must add them to the collection though. Dimunation said the “gifts” range from bad to gorgeous.
Steingreaber – Working against local legislation that would allow schools to share staff. Mt. Pleasant is sharing a librarian with Keokuk and some superintendents are sharing a business manager. She said Katherine Perkin’s radio series was fantastic with wonderful stories of Iowa. She is using them as resources for 6th graders.
9. The third year of the “Hands on Book Fest for Kids” (several reported) – was held on Friday November 8, 2013 at the Des Moines Public Library. About 200 fifth-graders from underserved Des Moines communities attended. Martin said that the books and scripts in foreign languages caught their attention. One fifth-grader read from an image from the Koran; another read to friends from a miniature book written in Spanish. Martin arranged for the American Miniature Book Society to lend their traveling exhibit this year. The kids had never seen “little books.” Some had never been to a library. Prineas said from her participation last year that some kids didn’t know libraries exist. Wegner noted that since there are few great libraries in Des Moines public schools, holding the event at DMPL is very special.
10. Nominating Committee. Prineas appointed a committee to bring a nomination for Chair of the Advisory Council forward at the spring 2014 meeting. ICB Chairs serve for two years. Members on the committee are Martin, Gohlinghorst and Glenn.
11. Other business. Prineas said there is room on the Council for another at-large member. It was suggested that a college or high school student would offer a younger perspective to the group’s mission. It could possibly be a graduate student, a library school graduate student, or a Letters About Literature student. Steingreaber suggested having one student from Des Moines and another from Iowa City. A Council member would have to be responsible for getting the students to meeting. They could be asked to serve one-year terms. Craig mentioned that would require a change in the Bylaws. It was also suggested that a new member could be an illustrator or photographer. Could members bring a youth with them which wouldn’t be the same as being a member? Walsh said it was important that the Council have a publisher on the Committee at all times; he suggested we make the at-large person a publisher and therefore not have to change the Bylaws. Students could be invited at any time. We might start with Letters About Literature winners and have them read from their letters. Transportation and timing during the school year are potential problems.
12. Set date for next meeting. People prefer Fridays. The next meeting will be in the spring in Des Moines. An online poll will be sent out.
13. Walsh moved to adjourn the meeting; Prineas seconded the motion.
Annette Wetteland, Communications Coordinator, IaLS