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The New Mexico Center for the Book table in the Roadmap to Reading at the National Book Festival; each state and U.S. territory has a table staffed by representatives from the Library’s Center for the Book network.

What’s the Center for the Book, and Where Can I Find One?

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This is a guest post by Guy Lamolinara, Head of Center for the Book

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress has a new website, one that will help connect you to the Library’s Affiliate in your state or territory.

What’s the Center for the Book?

The Center for the Book is a community of 56 Affiliated Centers that promotes books, reading, libraries and literacy across the country. These Centers also elevate and advocate for their state’s unique literary heritage, developed by writers whose works reflect distinctively American places. Their stories, novels, essays, poems and other written works, rooted in the nation’s extraordinary diversity of people and geography, are often featured in the programs supported by the Affiliated Centers for the Book.

All Americans are connected to the Library of Congress.

The Library’s vision is aspirational and speaks to the tangible and intangible connections that are possible with the nation we serve. Through our unequaled collections, services, events and products, users can connect with the Library in meaningful ways throughout their life journey.

One of the ways we achieve this vision is through the Affiliated Centers for the Book. No matter where you live, there is a Center for the Book that works to promote books, reading, libraries and literacy in your area.

There is an Affiliate Center for the Book in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Northern Marianas.

These Centers engage, inspire and inform diverse audiences through author talks, web-based events, podcasts, book festivals and more, designed to advance appreciation of the written word. Some examples of what our Affiliates are doing:

  • The Ohio Center for the Book has created “Page Count,” an interview-format podcast that celebrates authors, librarians, booksellers, illustrators, publishing professionals and literary advocates in and from the state of Ohio.

    Page Count: A Podcast from the Ohio Center for the Book
  • The Alaska Center for the Book offers a “reading challenge” in which you can win books written by Native Alaska authors.
  • The Massachusetts Center for the Book and the Oklahoma Center for the Book both sponsor long-running book awards that honor writers from their states.

    Massachusetts Book Awards ceremony; the Massachusetts Book Awards recognize significant works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature, and children’s/young adult literature written, illustrated, or translated by current Commonwealth residents. Submissions open each fall and close at the end of the calendar year.
  • Many sponsor their state’s own book festival.
Lois Lowry at Decatur (Ga.) Library, February 15, 2023; the event was sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book.

The Affiliates also play a role in the annual Library of Congress National Book Festival by naming a book to the Great Reads from Great Places project, and they send representatives to the festival to promote their state’s literary heritage to thousands of festivalgoers.

The Washington Center for the Book selected “Red Paint” as its 2022 choice of a book that represents the state’s literary heritage.

In addition, they help to promote the activities and initiatives of the Library of Congress, the Center for Learning, Literacy and Engagement, as well as those of the other Affiliated Centers for the Book.

A young reader collects a stamp on her brochure at the U.S. Virgin Islands Center for the Book table at the National Book Festival’s Roadmap to Reading. The map of the U.S. encourages kids to visit all the tables to learn about books from across America and its territories.

Check out what your state or territory is doing by visiting our new website. You may want to participate in one of their programs or get to know a new literary community near you.

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