Iowa Center for the Book Advisory Council
Friday, November 12, 2010 10:00 am
Iowa City Public Library
Members Present: Marv Bergman, Susan Craig, Katie Dunneback, Brianna Glen, Monica Gohlinghorst, Sid Huttner, Jan Kaiser, Robin Martin, Marilyn Mercado, Sarah Prineas, Kristin Steingreaber, Joan Bessman Taylor, Tim Walch, Mary Wegner, Annette Wetteland, and Charlotte Wright.
Not present due to conflicts: Kristin Gerhard, Mary Heinzman, Shannon McClintock, Katherine Perkins, and Chris Rossi; Tracy Morsek has taken a position in Illinois and has resigned.
Guest: Jeanette Pilak, Executive Director UNESCO City of Literature
I. Introductions. New members – Brianna Glenn, Director, De Soto Public Library and Dr. Joan Bessman Taylor, Assistant Professor, University of Iowa Graduate School of Library & Information Science
II. Minutes of May 14, 2010 approved.
III. Jeanette Pilak, executive director of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, spoke about her job and the activities taking place. She has been executive director since April 1, 2010. She said that libraries in Johnson County, including the University of Iowa, and local bookstores have had several activities related to literary culture. UNESCO has worked with the Iowa City Book Festival, Day of City of Literature, with businesses, book art activities and authors. The events were often attended by standing room only crowds. Twenty-five businesses have asked to be involved and University of Iowa faculty and staff are getting involved. They would like to plan a regional festival. UNESCO helped host “The Write Stuff,” an event held Oct. 13, 2010 during the Iowa Library Association’s (ILA) annual conference in Coralville. Pilak said that all Iowans are citizens of the City of Literature, and she would like to work with the Iowa Center for the Book on activities that involve authors.
Craig described the public art project that kicked off on December 1, 2010 in Iowa City and surrounding areas. UNESCO is also involved in the project which features five-foot tall bookmarks designed by artists around Johnston County. The art will be displayed June through October 2011. Sponsors will pay $1,000 to have a bookmark on site. They will be auctioned off in the end.
IV. State Library Report. Wegner said she looked forward to working with Jeanette Pilak and UNESCO City of Literature. Work continues on making the Iowa Center for the Book (ICB) a 501C3 organization so a foundation can be established to raise money. Wegner said she attended the National Book Festival in Washington, DC on September 25. Martin and Wetteland also attended. Former First Lady Christie Vilsack stopped by the ICB’s table, as did Mary Chute, Executive Director for Libraries, Institute of Museums and Library Services. 150,000 people came to hear more than 70 authors and to take part in other activities such as visiting the Pavilion of the States where Iowa’s table was located. Centers for the Book from around the country attend the festival to highlight literary events in their states. Iowa author Larry Baker, Flamingo Rising, was the ICB’s choice for a state book that appeared on the young people’s National Book Festival USA Map given to nearly everyone who attended. Wegner asked the group to consider donating items to take to next year’s festival and to attend if possible. Steingreaber suggested making bookmarks of all the Iowa Children’s Book Award winners and taking them to the Festival. Voting takes place in March of each year. Kaiser suggested they go on the ICB Web site, also.
Wegner also reported that she heard David Rhodes [Driftless
] speak at the 2010 ILA conference and said he was wonderful and received many fascinating, thoughtful questions. Dunneback also said he was an entertaining speaker who talked passionately about writing and editing his work.
Wegner reviewed the library reorganization report that was submitted to the Legislature in early November. The plan would bring the State Library and Library Service Areas together with one board and an advisory council. A copy of the report can be found on the State Library’s Web site
Wegner announced that Merri Monks was hired as the youth services coordinator for the State Library. She said she was happy to have Monks on board and that she will be a judge in the ICB’s Letters About Literature program.
V. ICB Coordinator Report. Martin said she attended the State Center Idea Exchange meetings in Washington, DC on June 28-29, 2010. Participants broke into groups to discuss different topics, including programming, fundraising and technology. There was a slideshow on the national Letters About Literature program of students holding their books. Iowa’s national winner Austin Helmink and Iowa’s Poet Laureate Mary Swander were featured.
Martin has publicized the 2011 Letters About Literature program to the Area Education Agencies, past participating teachers, the Iowa Reading Association Newsletter, and in a promotional booth at the Iowa Talented and Gifted Conference October 18-19, 2010. Iowa had a record number of student participants in 2010.
Martin also talked about “The Write Stuff Iowa Author Fair 2010” at the Coralville Public Library. There were 58 authors and 755 people attended. She added that 325 books were sold by Barnes & Noble and each author sold at least one book. There is a possibility that a 2011 author fair may be held in Council Bluffs at the 2011 ILA Conference. Prineas attended this year’s event and said it was well organized and lots of books were sold. She noted it was a great way for authors to meet with teacher librarians in the state. Walch noted that authors sat at tables alphabetically by name so genres were different from table to table. He thought it was a great location. Craig noted that authors had to have a 2009-10 book published to be invited. Martin said books had to have general appeal – Iowa history and children’s books are very popular. Craig said students heard about it from their teachers and many families came. Martin said it’s important to keep it open to the public. It should be promoted more (local newspaper, media electronic calendars, posters, bookmarks, websites). Kaiser suggested that more librarians need to attend. Bill it as a networking opportunity where librarians can meet authors who are willing to do programs in their libraries. A template explaining how to organize the author fair needs to be developed for the hosting libraries at ILA conferences. The group agreed that the Iowa Center for the Book should partner again with ILA to host a fair in Council Bluffs in fall 2011.
The idea of using Facebook, blogs and twitter accounts was mentioned. Kaiser said Des Moines Public Library has 1,000 Facebook fans of all ages. The library’s interim director, Sally Wisdom, is writing blogs. Kaiser said she thinks it would be a great public relations opportunity and that she would be willing to help set up accounts for the ICB.
There was discussion about the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ River of Words competition. The Library of Congress and Center for the Book hosts a poetry and art competition in DC. Perhaps the ICB could collaborate with the Iowa DNR on bookmarks and partner with them more when monetary resources are available.
Martin reported that 133 literary events were added to the ICB website in 2009 and 219 in 2010. Most are events in central Iowa. Mercado said she would try to get more events from the University of Northern Iowa added. Public libraries need to be reminded to add more. Martin said she is also working with bookstores to get their events listed. Kaiser suggested that an RSS feed be added to the calendar of events. 65 libraries sent in information about their All Iowa Reads events so far in 2010, said Martin.
VI. Criteria for inclusion on ICB Author List – Gerhard, Orgren, Walch, Martin
Proposed new criterion: At the discretion of the Center, the author may be asked to provide a paper format sample of one or more of his/her books for review by Center staff. These copies will be at the author’s expense; copies will be returned if a postage paid envelope is provided by the author.
The new criterion put forward by the ICB Authors Committee was considered. Discussion made abundantly clear there was sharp division in the Council on the question of inclusion/exclusion of texts existing purely in electronic form (i.e., had not seen, and were not expected to see, light of day in a paper format). Advisory Council Chair Huttner requested a sense of the body on two questions:
(1) Who is sympathetic to the existing criterion “Author’s book is in physical format, printed and bound?” One, perhaps two, members were very sympathetic; the majority was not.
(2) Who is sympathetic to retaining existing criteria for the moment, BUT extending two levels of discretion to the Coordinator: (a) if and when she has doubts or concerns as to whether a request for addition to the list is appropriate, to ask the applicant to supply a paper copy (returnable if the applicant supplies a postage paid envelope) or, perhaps, to provide temporary electronic access; and (b) to approve the request if the additional information confirms its appropriateness as a text intended for and available to non-specialist readers, or to defer a decision for discussion at the spring Council meeting? A substantial majority of the Council members were sympathetic with this method of proceeding.
Consequently, formal action on the proposed new criterion was held over for discussion at the spring meeting. The Coordinator will also seek members for a sub-committee to draft a disclaimer statement for the web page that gives viewers advice on what limits they should set on the meaning of an author’s name on the list.
VII. All Iowa Reads – Craig. Craig said the All Iowa Reads Committee visits the criteria for selecting a book every year. She said self-published books will probably never be selected because of accessibility issues. She announced the 2011 selection, Sing Them Home
, by Stephanie Kallos. The author has shown interest in speaking at the 2011 ILA Conference this October in Council Bluffs. Craig said the book has great themes, a Midwest setting, and family dynamics that all make for good discussions. Thorndike Press said it would publish large print copies for Sing Them Home.
The ICN session to discuss the book is scheduled for January 26, 2011. Craig said it is difficult to measure the success of All Iowa Reads because many libraries and other organizations do not enter book discussions to the AIR website. But she said many must hold discussions based on the number of libraries that have multiple copies.
Bergman named the other books considered in 2011: River of Heaven, Resistance, The Air We Breathe, Deaf Sentence, Little Bee, Border Songs
and The Weight of Silence.
Steingreaber suggested a title to consider for another year, Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25
selected by Naomi Shihab Nye.
VIII. Announcements. Pilak said UNESCO was working on author exchanges. Iowa’s Poet Laureate Mary Swander is going to Ireland and Robert Hemly has invited five authors from Melbourne, Australia (another UNESCO City of Literature) to visit Iowa. Bergman said a new book by R. Tripp Evans Grant Wood, a Life, was worth taking a look at. Martin is trying to update Advisory Council’s contact information. She asked for home telephone numbers.
IX. A Doodle poll will be used to decide on a spring 2011 meeting date for the Council.