Willie Nelson was the talk of the town as the Library celebrated his work and career during a concert in November, as he received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
“When Willie took the stage to accept the Gershwin prize, you could see the pride on his face,” wrote Brendan Kownacki for Hollywood on the Potomac. “He joked the evening was ‘a lot of great music, and I remember SOME of it.’ Kidding aside though, he declared this ‘one of the greatest things to happen to me’ and noted that a lot has happened in his 83 years.”
“Willie Nelson concerts tend to be boisterous affairs, with hippies and hillbillies dancing to the music side by side,” wrote Juli Thanki for The Tennessean. “Wednesday night’s event at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., a star-studded tribute to Nelson, the 2015 recipient of the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, was a little more staid (the audience featured several members of Congress in suits and ties), but no less adoring.”
Don’t miss the broadcast Jan. 15 at 9 p.m. Eastern on PBS stations.
While Nelson was being inaugurated as the seventh Gershwin Prize winner, author Kate DiCamillo was enjoying her final days as the 2014-2015 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
She had this to say to The Washington Post: “When I first set out on my journey as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature … I wanted to let people know that we can all — young and old — connect more deeply through stories. But oddly, what happened is that as I worked to deliver the message, the message was delivered to me. By that I mean that I have traveled all over the country. I have visited people gathered together in classrooms, libraries, lunchrooms, bookstores, community centers, auditoriums, gymnasiums and theaters.
“And everywhere that I have gone, people have welcomed me. They have opened themselves to me. Over and over again, I have looked up from the page I am reading and seen faces gathered together, listening.”
Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the Library’s Veterans History Project (VHP) was also recognized.
“Americans will pause Wednesday to remember the nation’s veterans. But one Library of Congress project is working to ensure veterans’ stories are preserved for years to come,” Bridget Bowman wrote for Roll Call.
NBC4’s special report, “Saluting Our Veterans,” provided an in-depth look at the work the project does in collecting the wartime remembrances of our nation’s veterans.
The Washington City Paper highlighted a new VHP initiative: to collect the stories of D.C.-area veterans.
“A number of reasons may explain why D.C.-area vets are underrepresented in the Library’s archives,” wrote Andrew Giambrone. “(Andrew) Huber says the project has historically relied on word-of-mouth and its partner organizations to reach veterans; additionally, many veterans in D.C. area (especially affluent ones) may not take advantage of local services that function as access points for the VHP.”
The Veterans History Project is part of the Library’s American Folklife Center. In addition to collecting stories of the nation’s veterans, the center also partners with StoryCorps, whose oral interviews are archived at the Library. This Thanksgiving, StoryCorps introduced “The Great Thanksgiving Listen,” inviting any child to record an interview with a grandparent or another elder using a free StoryCorps app.
“‘There are certain things we don’t talk about, and don’t ask’ in ordinary conversation. But knowing people may listen to this generations from now, he (StoryCorp Founder Dave Isay) says, means we ‘talk about things you don’t usually,’” reported KJ Dell’Antonia for The New York Times. “‘Ask ‘is there anything that you want to tell me now that you’ve never told me before?’ Often these really surprising and wonderful things happen.’”