Recent Publications | October 25, 2011

New Book Honors John Cole’s Contributions to Library of Congress

Few individuals are recognized by essays published in their honor while they are still fully engaged in their chosen profession. John Y. Cole, Director of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is one of those exceptions.

"The Library of Congress and the Center for the Book: Historical Essays Honoring John Y. Cole," has been published by the Library of Congress and the University of Texas Press at Austin. Edited by Mary Niles Maack of the University of California at Los Angeles, the volume features nine essays marking Cole’s dual achievements as a scholar who is "known internationally as the foremost expert on the history of the Library of Congress" and as the founding director, in 1977, of the Center for the Book.

The essays were originally published as a special issue (2010, vol. 45, no. 1) of the University of Texas quarterly journal "Libraries & the Cultural Record: Exploring the History of Collections of Recorded Knowledge," also edited by Maack. This clothbound edition includes a new, illustrated essay by Cole ("A Life at the Library of Congress"), an updated bibliography of his writings 1970-2010 and a comprehensive index. The frontispiece is a poem, "Voyage," which was dedicated to John Cole in 2003 by U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. The volume’s dust jacket features a photograph of the Library’s Main Reading Room by Carol M. Highsmith and reproductions of Center for the Book posters and promotional items.

The invitational essays address topics representing different aspects of John Cole’s contributions and interests as a scholar and a librarian. The topics and their authors are:

    ??    "Histories of the Library of Congress," by Jane Aikin, National Endowment for the Humanities
    ??    "Properly Arranged and Properly Recorded: The Library of Congress Archives," by Josephus Nelson, Library of Congress
    ??    "The National and International Roles of the Center for the Book," by Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress
    ??    "The Center for the Book and the History of the Book," by Eleanor F. Shevlin, West Chester University of Pennsylvania and Eric N. Lindquist, University of Maryland
    ??    "The Choice of Books: Ainsworth Rand Spofford, the Ideology of Reading, and Literary Collections at the Library of Congress in the 1870s," by Carl Ostrowski, Middle Tennessee State University
    ??    "The Library of Congress in 1892: Ainsworth Rand Spofford, Houghton Mifflin and Company, and ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’" by Michael Winship, University of Texas
    ??    "‘Wake Up and Read!’ Book Promotion and National Library Week, 1958," by Jean Preer, Indiana University
    ??    "The Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Global Exchange of International Documents, 1834-1889," by Nancy E. Gwinn, Smithsonian Institution Libraries
    ??    "International Trends in Library History," by Donald G. Davis Jr., University of Texas

The 223-page book, "The Library of Congress and the Center for the Book: Historical Essays Honoring John Y. Cole," is available for $24.95 from the Library of Congress Sales Shop (888-682-3557) and online at It is also available from Oak Knoll Press (800) 996-2556 and online at

Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress ( has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for 52 affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading-promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center.
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