Iowa Center for the Book Advisory Council
Friday, November 6, 2009 10:00 am
Iowa City Public Library
Members Present: Timothy Barrett, Marv Bergman, Susan Craig, Kris Gerhard, Monica Gohlinghorst, Sid Huttner, Jan Kaiser, Marilyn Mercado, Robin Martin, Carl Orgren, Chris Rossi, Kristin Steingraeber, Timothy Walsh, Mary Wegner, Annette Wetteland
Guest: John Cole, Director, Center for the Book in the Library of Congress
I. Martin introduced Dr. John Cole who came to Iowa City at the request of the former Iowa Center for the Book (ICB) Coordinator, Katherine Von Wald.
Wegner announced the names of new ICB members – Sarah Prineas, at-large representative, Katie Dunneback, Library Service Areas representative, Katherine Perkins, at-large representative, and Tracey Morsek, Department for the Blind representative.
She also recognized Martin as the new ICB coordinator who officially began work on September 4th.
II. Martin congratulated Barrett who was recently named a 2009 MacArthur Fellow. Barrett was given a certificate of achievement by the ICB Advisory Board. He was named a Fellow for his work as a master craftsman and paper historian, and recognized by the MacArthur Foundation for “preserving and enhancing the art of hand-paper making through his work as a practitioner, scholar and teacher.”
III. Approval of the minutes of the ICB June 25, 2009 meeting were moved by Craig, seconded by Gohlinghorst and approved unanimously.
IV. The ICB nominating committee (Gohlinghorst, Martin and Wegner) moved the nomination of Sid Huttner ICB for Advisory Council chair. After Huttner’s acceptance, the motion was approved unanimously.
V. Wegner reported on State Library activities. She said a new library representative is needed on the ICB Advisory Board to represent Iowa libraries. It was suggested that someone from a small library be considered.
Christie Vilsack’s foundation is funding the legal fees to set up the ICB’s foundation. An attorney was hired to work on the project and Wegner is continuing with the process.
Wegner said that the State Library, like all Iowa government agencies, was required to make a 10 percent cut to its current fiscal year budget. She noted that the ICB is funded with federal dollars and should not be affected by the cut. Federal Library Services and Technology Act funding is stable so far, said Wegner, but maintenance of effort on the state side may be a problem in a year or two. Barrett asked Wegner to let the ICB Advisory Board know if funding for the ICB is ever in jeopardy.
VI. Martin reported on the Letters About Literature (LAL) 2010 program and the Iowa Author Fair (IAF). The deadline for students to have their letters in for LAL 2010 is December 12, 2009. The program was promoted in 2009 when Martin, Donna Niday (Iowa State University) and David Duer (Washington High School, Cedar Rapids) held a breakout session titles “Read! Be Inspired! Write Back!” on Oct. 2, at the Iowa Council of Teachers of English conference in Johnston. ICB representatives also had a booth at the Talented and Gifted conference on Oct. 5 and 6 in Coralville.
Fifty authors greeted nearly 500 people at the IAF event in the Des Moines Public Library on Oct. 21. Martin said the majority of attendees were the general public, including children and young adults. Authors were very pleased with the event and would like to see it continue. Beaverdale Books sold 407 books and 82 different titles. The Des Moines Register published 2 articles prior to the event. Kaiser, Barrett, Walsh and Martin volunteered for a working group on future author events around the state.
It was noted that Iowa author Barbara Moss died recently. The ICB Advisory Board asked Martin to send a sympathy note to her husband.
It was mentioned that the ICB may want to consider having a booth at the July, Iowa City book event. Barrett and Craig will look into it. Other book events are Des Moines Public Library’s AVID series and one held in spring in Adel.
VII. Dr. John Cole, who is the founding Director of the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book in Washington, DC, said it was his first trip to Iowa City and that he was enjoying his time there. He thanked Wegner for the good work the ICB is doing and said he appreciated how it has developed. He said there is no single way that centers for the book are run in the U.S.
He noted that Craig attended a reception during the National Book Festival in Washington DC in late September, and was recognized for her work in making Iowa City a City of Literature. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized Iowa City as the world’s third City of Literature in November 2008, joining Edinburgh, Scotland, and Melbourne, Australia.
Cole said he began his career in the Library of Congress 40 years ago as a historian and writer for the general public. He has been director of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress for three decades. He talked about the educational outreach role of the Library of Congress, including a new Young Readers Center for kids in grades K-12, which he described as a friendly place for families to come. Cole said he hopes in the future that each state’s Center for the Book could have a week dedicated to its work in the new Young Readers Center, where state legislators and a state author could visit with the public. The center will promote reading and book events for all ages. There is also a new Web site (www.read.gov) and a new children’s laureate, Jon Scieszka, author of Stinky Cheese Man, whose title is National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
Cole said that in 2002, all 50 states had a Center for the Book. They are located in state libraries, large city libraries, humanities councils and universities.
Cole explained that he does all of the author coordination for the National Book Festival held in Washington DC in late September. Seventy-five authors talked about their work and signed copies of their books at the 2009 festival. Over 100 thousand people attended. The ICB has a booth each year in the festival’s Pavilion of the States. The festival originated with First Lady Laura Bush and has been adopted by the Obamas.
VIII. Craig announced that Driftless by David Rhodes (Wisconsin) was chosen for All Iowa Reads 2010. Craig said Rhodes has not published a book in 30 years. This story is set in the Midwest. Milkweed Press has promised to produce large print and audio versions by January, 2010. Craig noted that Rhodes’ mother lived in Des Moines. Rhodes went to the Iowa City Writers Workshop and was a successful author until a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Craig encouraged the advisory council to read the selection and join a book discussion.
Martin said 2009 AIR author Carrie Brown (The Rope Walk) was luncheon speaker at the ILA conference on October 23. She also noted that she’s trying to collect information on how many people read The Rope Walk and how many book discussions occurred in Iowa in 2009.
IX. Wetteland reported on her trip to the National Book Festival in Washington, DC on September 26 where the ICB had a table in the Pavilion of the States. She was accompanied by Martin and Craig. Thousands of people walked through the tent with maps of the U.S. Each state has a sticker or stamp to put on the map. Attendees try to get “stamped” by all 50 states. Visitors also have questions about literary events, programs and projects in the centers for the book. Many are aware of the Iowa City Writers Workshop. Handouts about state programs are made available and this year Craig handed out posters about Iowa City’s City of Literature award.
X. Craig reiterated what Cole said about the UNESCO City of Literature award. She said that Cole, Christopher Merrill (Director of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program), Chris Rossi, (Executive Director of Humanities Iowa), and she were meeting that afternoon to talk about future endeavors to come from the award. A new association is being created, and they are advertising for an executive director. Craig said they will be working with Edinburgh, Scotland, and Melbourne, Australia on projects and hope to have good financial support and more awareness about the programs tied to the Iowa City award soon.
XI. Martin said she was looking for more information on the Iowa Author Map and Web site, a project undertaken by The Iowa Council of Teachers of English several years ago. They have asked for a spreadsheet with all the information that is on the ICB’s Iowa Authors List Web pages. Discussion followed. Cole noted $1,000 from the Library of Congress was available for a heritage map. Thirty states have produced them, but most are published in paper and are historical in nature. Martin said she would contact Mark Schillerstrom (Iowa Council of Teachers of English) and talk to Cole about what others have done. It was noted that Linda Scarth has a list of Iowa authors on Mount Mercy College Library’s web site, as do the University of Iowa and Des Moines Public Libraries.
XII. Cole talk about another new project taking place in Washington DC by Penn State Press having to do with Abigail Fillmore’s first White House library and other presidential first ladies who were involved in literary efforts.
Kaiser talked about OCLC’s Geek the Library campaign taking place in Polk, Dallas, Warren, and Story counties. Iowa and Georgia were the only two states selected to be part of the project. She said the “Geek” campaign aims to educate Iowans on the transformative powers libraries have on people. She asked if the ICB could help capture stories on how libraries or books have changed Iowans’ lives. Gerhard suggested public service announcements. Craig said more than anecdotes were needed. A committee consisting of Kaiser, Wetteland and Gerhard will look into possibilities.
XIII. Martin said she would create a Doodle poll to determine a good time for advisory council members to meet in spring 2010. She asked members to look at contact information that was distributed and to get back to her with corrections.
XIV. Meeting adjourned at 12:10 p.m. followed by lunch with Cole.