Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

June 11, 2009

Center for the Book Establishes Affiliate in Virgin Islands

New Virgin Islands Center for the Book Is First in U.S. Territories

The Library of Congress and the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands have announced the creation of the Virgin Islands Center for the Book, the first center affiliate in the United States territories. Gov. John P. deJongh Jr. and Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole made the announcement during a National Library Week reception at the Government House in St. Croix.

"This exciting development presents the Center for the Book with new reading-promotion opportunities and perspectives," said Cole. "The Virgin Islands has a rich historical tradition that includes French, Dutch, Danish and—since 1917—U.S. influences. The center will become part of a national network that includes affiliates in every state and the District of Columbia."

The principal organizer of the new center is Ingrid Bough, territorial director of Libraries, Archives and Museums. She said that one of the first long-range projects presented to the planning committee for the Virgin Islands Center for the Book will be for a Virgin Islands Book Festival. She said the concept came from the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., where for the past four years she has coordinated the representation of the U.S. territories in the Pavilion of the States. Bough said she hoped it would "become an annual event hosted by the center in rotating years on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John."

Bough said that the Virgin Islands center would eventually have its own building in the historic area in Frederiksted, St. Croix. "The new center will be built on the site of the Farrelly Family House, the birthplace of Alexander A. Farrelly, the fourth elected governor of the Virgin Islands [1987-1995], a proud veteran, attorney, judge, senator and an accomplished musician. However, until the construction is completed, the Athalie McFarlane Petersen Public Library in Frederiksted will serve as its host institution."

The Virgin Islands Center for the Book brings the number of affiliated Centers for the Book to 52—with one in each state and the District of Columbia. Members work with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, as well as independently, to promote the literary heritage of their region and the importance of reading. Representatives from the affiliated centers meet annually at the Library for an "idea exchange" day, in which representatives learn what their fellow centers are doing to advance reading and literacy.

The Center for the Book was created in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading. For information about its programs, publications and national reading-promotion networks, visit www.loc.gov/cfbook/. The center also organizes the author program of the National Book Festival, which will be held Sept. 26 this year on the National Mall in Washington. For more details see www.loc.gov/today/pr/2009/09-107.html.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may be accessed through the Library’s website, www.loc.gov, and via interactive exhibitions on myLOC.gov.

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PR 09-118
06/11/09
ISSN 0731-3527

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