UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Library of Congress recently renewed its agreement with the Pennsylvania Center for the Book for a sixth three-year term, extending the partnership through 2018. Since 2000, the Pennsylvania Center for the Book has been sponsored by Penn State’s University Libraries and Barbara I. Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications. The center’s mission is to study, honor, celebrate, and promote books, reading, libraries and literacy to the citizens and residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“The Pennsylvania Center for the Book is one of the University Libraries’ most significant partnerships outside the University, and one we value highly for the great impact it has in supporting and fostering literacy across the Commonwealth,” Dewey said. “We are pleased to be one of just a few academic research libraries nationwide that sponsors its state’s Center for the Book.”
Steven Herb, the center’s executive director for the last 16 years and an educational and behavioral sciences faculty librarian at the University, has guided the Pennsylvania Center for the Book’s progress, focusing on poetry, literacy and children’s books. Its annual initiatives include the promotion of the Pennsylvania section of the “Letters about Literature” writing contest for children in grades 4-12, the national Lee Bennett Hopkins award for children’s poetry, the Lynd Ward Prize for graphic novel of the year in North America, and the much-anticipated A Baker’s Dozen best list of books for family literacy.
Since 2000, the center also has published 69 poetry posters, distributed in the tens of thousands throughout Pennsylvania and the nation, through the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., with its juried Public Poetry Project.
The online family literacy curriculum, developed by the center in partnership with the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy and the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy, continues to serve as the primary family literacy resource in thousands of libraries in all 50 states through the Collaborative Summer Library Program consortium.
Another resource developed by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, the Literary and Cultural Heritage Map of Pennsylvania — a graphic display of the literary history of the Commonwealth — includes more than 1,100 biographies and 300 essays about Pennsylvania people, places and historical events. Content from this map has been used by curriculum developers, test makers and by hundreds of teachers of Pennsylvania history in the public schools.
An act of Congress established the Library of Congress Center for the Book on Oct. 13, 1977, to serve as a focal point for celebrating the legacy of books and the printed word. In 1984 it began establishing affiliate centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and, more recently, the U.S. Virgin Islands.