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In today’s digital and highly visual society, books and reading can be taken for granted. People may tend to forget the role that books and reading can play in understanding the world or society. To reinforce the importance of books and reading, an Act of Congress, Public Law 95-129, was signed by President Carter in 1977 which formed the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.
President Carter was committed to scholarly research and developing the public’s interest in books and reading. Establishing the Center for the Book would help stress the importance of books and the need to study and develop the written record which congress felt were “essential to our understanding of ourselves and our world.” (Cole, 1978).
The Center for the Book’s mission is to promote books, reading, literacy, libraries, and the study of books. With affiliates located in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Center for the Book and its affiliates carry out and raise awareness on the Center’s mission through the country.
Most of the Center for the Book’s funding to support all its activities comes from private funds, except for 5 staff positions which come from public funds. A national network of more than 80 reading promotion partners also helps maximize the Center’s efforts to promote its mission.
To stimulate interest in books and explore issues related to books and reading, programs are set up that help sponsor book festivals, author readings, and other events that promote and celebrate books and libraries. Programs related to books, literacy, libraries, and their local area’s literacy heritage are also created.
Anyone interested in expanding their knowledge or exploring the world of books and reading can visit the Center for the Book’s main website at www.Read.gov/cfb. Visitors to the national Center for the Book can find reading material about people, places, events, or stories for people of all ages.
Educators, education students focused on teaching literacy and language, and parents can also explore the Center to identify reading material or exercises that can help them generate an interest in books, reading, or writing. The Center for the Book also holds annual poetry and writing contests that people can participate in.
For more information on the Center for the Book or to participate in events sponsored by them, such as author discussions or symposia, visit http://www.read.gov/events.
United States Library of Congress. Bibliographic Enrichment Advisory Team. (1978). The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress: The Planning Year by John Y. Cole. Retrieved 5 March 2013 from: http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/toc/becites/cfb/79601307.html
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