Chances are that if you watched made-for-TV movies on CBS from 1979 into the ?90s, you might remember ?Read More About It.? A joint project of CBS and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the segment involved celebrities offering recommendations about books that viewers could find at their local library to learn more about what they had just watched.
?Read More About It? was just one of many ventures by the Center for the Book (CFB), which celebrates its 30th anniversary on Oct. 13. On that date in 1977, President Carter signed on Public Law 95-129, creating the CFB.
The brainchild of former Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin, the mission of the CFB is to use the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading. He appointed John Y. Cole as the founding director, a position Cole has held since the center?s inception.
The center recently initiated a study to determine new directions, partnerships and projects for the center in the digital age. The final report and recommendations will come in March 2008.
Over the past 30 years, the CFB has developed state centers for the book in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and a network of about 80 organizations that promote literacy. The CFB was instrumental in the establishment of an African Centre for the Book within the National Library of South Africa and, in partnership with the Open Society Institute, the CFB helped develop a network of 30 reading centers in Russian libraries.
Throughout the year, the center sponsors programs and events at the Library, many of which can be viewed on the center?s Web site. The CFB is also a major player in organizing the Library?s annual National Book Festival, which drew a crowd of more than 120,000 to the National Mall on Sept. 29.
Russian First Lady Ludmila Putina attended the 2002 National Book Festival as a guest of First Lady Laura Bush, who has hosted the Library?s Book Festival since its inception in 2001.
Mrs. Putina was inspired to create her own book festival the following fall, which Mrs. Bush attended. Last week, the Librarian of Congress, John Cole and others from the Library attended this year?s Russian Book Festival.
(Photograph of Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Putina from the White House Web site.)