Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-9191

May 1, 2000

Library of Congress Approves Mississippi Center for the Book

The Library of Congress has approved a proposal from the Mississippi Library Commission for the creation of a Mississippi Center for the Book that will be affiliated with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

"We're delighted to welcome Mississippi to our growing network of state centers for the book," said John Y. Cole, director of the national center. "It is our 40th state affiliate."

"Mississippi's Center for the Book will become a leader in both celebrating our state's enviable literary legacy and in strengthening our efforts to combat illiteracy," said John A. Pritchard, executive director of the Mississippi Library Commission. "The center will have permanent quarters in the new state library building authorized by the Mississippi legislature last year."

The statewide Steering Committee for the Mississippi Center for the Book met in Jackson on March 28 to complete work on the proposal to the Library of Congress. It includes authors, teachers, book and newspaper publishers, librarians, public officials, and representatives from the Mississippi Humanities Council. The 13 members of the Board of Directors will be selected by the Mississippi Congressional delegation and the Mississippi Library Commission. There also will be a 15-member Honorary Board of Advisors. Melanie Musgrove, Mississippi's first lady, is lending her personal support to the project.

Early Mississippi Center for the Book projects will include the creation of a Web site, the Authors in Libraries and Writers Talking statewide programs, and the development of a statewide book festival.

For information about the Mississippi Center for the Book, contact Thurman Boykin, coordinator, Mississippi Center for the Book, Mississippi Library Commission, 1221 Ellis Avenue, P. O. Box 10700, Jackson, MS 39289-0700, telephone: (601) 961-4123; fax: (601) 354-6713.

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PR 00-069
ISSN 0731-3527

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