December 2014

Carolyn Ashcraft
Carolyn Ashcraft   
State Librarian
This month we are inviting you to the library to see our special exhibit of Little Golden Books.

We are also sharing news about some of our Arkansas Center for the Book programs, including Letters About Literature, the Arkansas Teen Book Award, and If All Arkansas Read the Same Book.

Finally we're sharing a new report on library programming released last week by the American Library Association. We encourage patrons to read the report and share feedback. 
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to a friend and encourage them to join our mailing list by using the button on the right.

In This Issue
Little Golden Books
If All Arkansas Read the Same Book
Letters About Literature
Arkansas Teen Book Award
Arkansas Teen Book Award

Little Golden Books on display at State Library during December
State employees are encouraged to drop by the Arkansas State Library at 900 West Capitol Ave. during December to view the special holiday display of Little Golden Books.
     The exhibit, which was put together by Kathleen Fowler, reference librarian, features holiday-related books in the special children's literature series collected by Jen Hughes of the Arkansas Secretary of State's office.
     "These are all books from Jen's personal collection," Fowler says. "Last year, she used these books to create the holiday exhibit at the State Capitol. She loaned the  collection to us this year so we could create this wonderful holiday display."
     An Arkansas native, Mercer Mayer, is one of the featured illustrators and authors in the exhibit. Mayer, who created the "Little Critter" and "Little Monster" series of Little Golden Books, was born in Little Rock in 1943.
        Hours for the Arkansas State Library are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The library will be closed on Dec. 19 for staff development and Dec. 24, 25 and 26 for the Christmas holiday. 

If All Arkansas Read the Same Book

Arkansas Center for the Book kicks off statewide reading program with Perfect Peace by Daniel Black

     Perfect Peace, an award-winning novel by Daniel Black, is the selection for the 2014 statewide reading program, If All Arkansas Read the Same Book.  

     The yearlong program kicked off in October with author visits to libraries and bookstores in Hot Springs, Van Buren, Conway, Little Rock, Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Morrilton, Wynne, Newport, Blytheville and Jonesboro.  

     To see a YouTube clip of Daniel Black reading at That Bookstore in Blytheville, click here.   

     To hear an hourlong program with Black recorded during his October visit, tune in to the program Arts & Letters hosted by UALR professor Brad Minnick at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16 on KUAR Public Radio 89.1 in Little Rock. You can listen online at or on iTunes radio. After it airs, the show will be archived here.

Perfect Peace cover      Perfect Peace is the story of the seventh child of the Peace family. When the child named Perfect turns eight, her mother Emma Jean tells her bewildered daughter, "You was born a boy. I made you a girl. But that ain't what you was supposed to be. So, from now on, you gon' be a boy. It'll be a little strange at first, but you'll get used to it, and this'll be over after a while."

     From this point forward, Perfect's life becomes a bizarre kaleidoscope of events. Meanwhile, the Peace family is forced to question everything they knew about gender, sexuality, unconditional love, and fulfillment.

     The story is set in rural Arkansas in the 1940s.

     Daniel Black was born in Kansas City but reared in Blackwell, Arkansas, where his great-grandmother played a key role in his life. "She spent her final days grooming my spirit for the life of a transformer," he says.

Daniel Black reading to students at Central High School in Little Rock

     After graduating from Morrilton High School, Black attended Clark College in Atlanta on a full academic scholarship where he earned his bachelor's degree in English. He received the prestigious Oxford Modern British Studies fellowship and earned a certificate in English literature.

     He earned his master's degree and doctorate in African-American Studies at Temple University. He currently teaches African-American Studies at Clark Atlanta University.

     Black is the author of three other novels - They Tell Me of a Home, The Sacred Place, and Twelve Gates to the City. His novels are published by St. Martin's Press.  

Daniel Black signs copies of Perfect Peace
for Anita Paddock, a trustee on the Fort Smith Public Library Board.

      If All Arkansas Read the Same Book is presented by the Arkansas Center for the Book at the Arkansas State Library and all programs are offered free-of-charge to the public. The project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Arkansas State Library under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.  Copies of Perfect Peace are available at all 230 public libraries throughout the state.

      The statewide reading program started in 2001 with author Terry Kay's To Dance With the White Dog. Other past programs have featured books by Laura Castoro, Rick Bragg, Sandra Cisneros, Doug Kelly, Charlaine Harris, Jennifer Paddock, Sid McMath, Jeff Shaara, Shirley Abbott and Kevin Brockmeier.

2015 Letter
s About Literature reading and writing contest underway

The Arkansas Center for the Book at the Arkansas State Library announces that entries for Letters About Literature, a national reading and writing contest for students, are now being accepted by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

      The Center encourages young readers in grades 4 - 12 to enter this year's letter writing competition.  The contest challenges young readers to write a personal letter of reflection to an author, living or dead, explaining how that author's work somehow changed the readers' view of their world.

     Letters About Literature awards prizes on both the state and national level in three competition levels: Level 1 for children in grades 4 - 6; Level 2 for children in grades 7 - 8; and Level 3 for children in grades 9 - 12.  The winning state letter at each level is entered into the national competition.

     One national winner in each competition level will receive a $1,000 cash award; one national honor winner in each level will receive a $200 cash award. One state winner in each level will receive a $100 gift card. Second place state winners will receive a $50 gift card and third place winners will receive a $25 gift card.

     State winners and finalists will be recognized at a special awards ceremony in Little Rock next Spring.

     There are two deadlines for this year's contest. All Level 3 entries should have been postmarked by Dec. 15. All entries for Levels 1 and 2 must be postmarked by Jan. 15, 2015.

     To learn more about the contest or download an official entry form visit or .

Winning titles announced for the 2014 Arkansas Teen Book Award

Arkansas teens have chosen six books to share the 2014 Arkansas Teen Book Award.

     The Level 1 winner, chosen by seventh- through ninth-graders, is Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine and Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate were voted honorable mention. 

     The Level 2 winner, chosen by students in 10th through 12th grades, is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne and Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo were voted honorable mention.

     The Arkansas Teen Book Award is in its fifth year of recognizing young adult books. A steering committee comprised of public librarians, school library media specialists, and a State Library representative oversees the award process. The primary sponsoring organization is the Arkansas Center for the Book at the Arkansas State Library.

     The intent of the Award is to encourage young adults to read for enjoyment; promote teacher, library and parent involvement in young adult literature programs; commend authors of young adult literature; and promote the use of libraries and media centers.

     Nominations meeting certain criteria are accepted from the public and all eligible materials are included in the yearly reading lists. These books are read and voted on by volunteer librarians and teachers across Arkansas in order to create a more manageable reading list for teens. The final reading lists are distributed across the state; teens read and cast their votes for their favorite titles to determine the ultimate winners of the awards. Students have 10 months to read and vote for books on the lists. Voting opens each November and closes the following August. 

    The Teen Book Award is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (Grant LS-00-14-0004-14).

ALA releases report on library programming impact, calls for feedback from the field

     A report released this week by the American Library Association (ALA) explores the growing area of library programming and proposes an ambitious, eight-year research plan to explore how programs reach library users and impact communities.

     The National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment (NILPPA) presents a research agenda to understand and quantify the characteristics, audiences, outcomes and impacts of library programming in the United States. The project also seeks to start a conversation among practicing library professionals and partners about programming efforts, accomplishments and concerns in their libraries.  

     Librarians, patrons and partners can share experiences at

     The report is the result of a one-year planning grant funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and led by ALA's Public Programs Office in collaboration with a team of library advisors and facilitated by researchers at New Knowledge Organization, Ltd. Among the key questions it poses are:

  • What counts as "success" in library programming?
  • What impact does programming have on participants and communities?
  • What skills must programming librarians hone to maximize impact and reach underserved communities?

    During the proposed three-phase research plan, researchers will "map the terrain" of library program types and experiences; collect quantitative and qualitative data to better understand programs, particularly program innovators; create tools and professional competencies related to library programming and develop a model to explain how programming responds to change, affects the perception of libraries and even predicts change in communities.

     Prior research has shown a marked increase both in library program participation and offerings. In 2011, 89 million people attended 3.8 million programs at U.S. public libraries, according to the 2011 IMLS Public Libraries in the United States Report. This represented a 32 percent increase in attendance and a 46 percent increase in the number of programs compared to 2004.

     The report is available at Readers are invited to comment on the report's findings and discuss their own practices, questions and concerns related to library public programming; reader comments will help inform the next phase of NILPPA research. Comments may be shared privately on the website. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #libraryimpact.

The Arkansas State Library provides the resources, services, and leadership necessary to meet the educational, informational and cultural needs of the citizens of Arkansas, and provides guidance and support for the development of local public libraries and library services. For more information on the library's services, visit


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