The Ohio Center for the Book @ Cleveland Public Library is dedicated to promoting and celebrating books, reading, literacy, and libraries to Ohio’s residents and the book community at-large. We are the designated Ohio Affiliate of The Center for the Book at the Library of Congress and are part of a network of Centers for the Book across the country. The Ohio Center for the Book @ Cleveland Public Library also maintains a growing circulating collection of fiction and non-fiction books written by Ohio authors housed in the Literature Department at the Cleveland Public Library. Taking its cue from Ohio’s status as the “birthplace” of Superman and the state’s being home to significant historic and current comics creators, the Ohio Center for the Book adopts as one of its primary charges the promotion and advocacy of comics as an important and unique medium of expression.
When the Center for the Book was founded at the Library of Congress in 1977, there was no plan for establishing affiliated centers around the country. However, in 1984, Broward County Library in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, offered a proposal that would spark a nationwide burst of activity. Just as the Center for the Book in Washington, DC, uses the prestige and resources of the Library of Congress in fulfilling its mission, Florida wanted to use the prestige of the national Center for the Book and the resources of the Library of Congress in promoting books, reading, and their local literary heritage in their state. That same year, Pennsylvania also joined the “state center” family; with Illinois, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon and Wisconsin being added in 1985, bringing the total number of state centers to seven. In 1987, state centers continued to expand when California, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Texas and Virginia joined –- the most in a single year!
While Ohio’s Center was first established at the State Library of Ohio in 1987, the Ohio Center for the Book moved to its current home at Cleveland Public Library in 2003. On November 14, 2003, a celebration officially inaugurating the Center’s new location was presided over by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and John Cole, Director of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. Also in attendance at the event were Bob Ney, Congressman,18th District of Ohio; Michael Lucas, State Librarian of Ohio; and Edward A. D’Alessandro, former Director of Cleveland Public Library. The event was documented in the 2003 Annual Report of the Cleveland Public Library and in the Minutes of the November 2003 Meeting of the Cleveland Public Library Board of Trustees.
By 1992, a total of 26 states had affiliate Centers for the Book. Dr. Cole, who personally worked to establish state centers nationwide, continued his efforts; and, by 2003, there were 51 Centers nationwide. The U.S. Virgin Islands Center was established in 2009. Puerto Rico joined the network in 2018; and, in 2020, Centers in American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands were established, bringing the total number of affiliate Centers for the Book to 56.
You can learn more about the nationwide affiliate network and the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress at www.loc.gov/programs/center-for-the-book/about-this-program/.
The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in partnership with and in cooperation with affiliate state centers for the book, invited readers in grades 4 through 12 to enter Letters About Literature, a national reading-writing contest. To enter, readers wrote a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre– fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic, explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s way of thinking about the world or themselves.
Ohio Poetry Out Loud was a free national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, and administered in Ohio by the Ohio Arts Council. This program encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation.
Ohio Center for the Book @ Cleveland Public Library
325 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114
Email us: OhioCenterForTheBook@cpl.org