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LOUISIANA POETS GATHER FOR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH EVENT AT STATE LIBRARY

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Public Invited to Attend Annual Program Hosted by Louisiana Poet Laureate Jack Bedell

BATON ROUGE, La.– In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Louisiana Center for the Book is pleased to announce the ninth annual “Just Listen to Yourself: The Louisiana Poet Laureate Presents Louisiana Poets” program. Louisiana Poet Laureate Jack Bedell will host the event on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Seminar Center of the State Library, 701 N. 4th St., Baton Rouge.

Bedell has invited six poets from across the state to participate in readings of their work. Participating poets include Mona Lisa Saloy, Genaro Ky Ly Smith, and John Warner Smith as well as previous Louisiana poet laureates Darrell Bourque, Ava Leavell Haymon, and Julie Kane.

“Louisiana is a state rich in culture, and poetry is no exception,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton and Poet Laureate Jack Bedell do a phenomenal job bringing together some of the best talent Louisiana has to offer.”

“Each year I look forward to the opportunity to hear the amazing Louisiana poets from all corners of the state assembled by our poet laureate,” said Rebecca Hamilton, State Librarian. “It’s an inspiring event that makes one proud to be a Louisianan.”

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch.

LouisianaTravel.com


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Contact:
Rebecca Hamilton
State Library of Louisiana
225.342.4923
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Julio Guichard/Bill Sherman
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
225.342.7009
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2018-2019 LOUISIANA YOUNG READERS’ CHOICE WINNERS ANNOUNCED

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2018-2019 LOUISIANA YOUNG READERS’ CHOICE WINNERS ANNOUNCED
 
Louisiana school children in grades 3-12 name their favorite books of the year!
 
BATON ROUGE, La. – The State Library of Louisiana is excited to announce the winners of the 2018-2019 Louisiana Readers’ Choice Awards, which include graphic novels winning both the grade 3-5 and grade 6-8 lists, and for the first time ever, a tie for first place for the teen readers’ choice list. With the program in its 20th year, Louisiana’s young people read more than 72,276 books and cast 22,741 votes this year alone.
 
The 2018-2019 Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice winners are:
 
Grades 3-5
The Bad Guys #1 (Scholastic) by Aaron Blabey
 
Grades 6-8
Ghosts (Scholastic) by Raina Telgemeier
 
Grades 9-12
Aging Out (The RoadRunner Press) by Alton Carter, Illustrated by Tim Jessell
 
Scythe: Arc of a Scythe Book 1 (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) by Neal Schusterman
 
Honor titles include Wish (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) by Barbara O’Connor for the grade 3-5 list, Projekt 1065 (Scholastic) by Alan Gratz for the grade 6-8 list, and Heartless (Feiwel & Friends) by Marissa Meyer for the teen list.
 
“The Louisiana Readers’ Choice program is not only a great way to introduce students to some fantastic reads, but encourages an interest in the democratic process by allowing them the opportunity to vote on actual voting machines,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser.
 
“We are so proud to have delivered this premier program to school aged children across Louisiana for the past 20 years,” said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “One of our central goals has always been to promote literacy, and the Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Awards does just that, providing students with high-interest titles selected by public and school librarians from all regions of Louisiana.”
 
Winners are selected from diverse booklists carefully chosen by committees of school and public librarians from across the state, and many students cast their ballots on voting machines supplied by the Secretary of State’s Voter Outreach Division.
 
An awards ceremony for honored book authors will be held at the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, November 2. For more information about the program, including previous winners, how to participate, and additional resources such as free bookmarks, posters, study guides, etc., please visit the Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice webpage.
 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Hamilton
State Library of Louisiana
225.342.4923
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Julio Guichard/Bill Sherman
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
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EXPLORING THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF MUHAMMAD ALI THROUGH POETRY WITH JOHN WARNER SMITH

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Louisiana Center for the Book Presents Annual Black History Month Program

BATON ROUGE, La.– The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana will celebrate Black History Month during the annual Black History Month program on Wednesday, February 13, at noon. Poet John Warner Smith will discuss his work, Muhammad's Mountain, the first-ever book-length collection of poetry on the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali in the State Library’s Seminar Center located at 701 North 4th Street in Baton Rouge. 

“Louisiana is one of the most diverse states in the nation, and we are so happy to be able to highlight the rich history of African-Americans in the United States,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “From the Caribbean islands immigrants to the Creole people who call Louisiana home, there is no shortage of the rich African-American culture here.”

Consisting of 45 poems, Muhammad's Mountain takes a poetic perspective in examining the life of Mohammed Ali, and in so doing examines the last half of the twentieth century through the significant events Ali witnessed during those turbulent times.

“We are proud to hold this annual event at the State Library celebrating black history and gleaning new insights and wisdom directly from members of the African-American community,” said Rebecca Hamilton, State Librarian of Louisiana. “It’s truly an honor to host such rich cultural programming presented for entirely for free.”

John Warner Smith, who calls Baton Rouge home, is the author of four collections of poetry:  Muhammad’s Mountain, published by in 2018; Spirits of the Gods, in 2017; Soul Be A Witness, in 2016; and A Mandala of Hands in 2015. Smith’s fifth collection, Our Shut Eyes: New & Selected Poems on Race in America, is forthcoming in 2019.

The presentation is free and open to the public, and attendees are welcome to bring a “brown bag” lunch. Registration is not required. Books will be available for purchase from the author.

LouisianaTravel.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Hamilton
State Library of Louisiana
225.342.4923
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Julio Guichard/Bill Sherman
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
225.342.7009
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NATIONAL POET LAUREATE VISITS LOUISIANA

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Videos of National Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith’s “American Conversations” event at the Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux, including interviews with her and attendees and Tracy’s reading, as well as the complete program, are now available on our You Tube channel.

TV segment with reading and interviews - https://youtu.be/nyqSYQbb_M4

Full Tracy K. Smith program - https://youtu.be/cWGa8khUaQM

The Library of Congress Center for the Book page featuring the Louisiana trip, the final leg of Tracy’s fall tour, with photos, interviews, and related links - including a post by Guy Lamolinara on LOC’s Poetry and Literature Center’s blog - may be found at http://www.read.gov/americanconversations/louisiana/index.html

Thanks to Director Laura Sanders and staff of Lafourche Parish Public Library and to the National Park Service for making it possible to meet Tracy’s request to go “down on the bayou” for the public programs.  We also thank Bette Billiot and the United Houma Nation for Tracy’s private meeting with them.  Thanks also to the Library of Congress’s Anya Creightney and Guy Lamolinara who accompanied Tracy on her Louisiana journey and brought with them the free copies of American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time given to attendees and donated to each Louisiana parish library system. And, of course, thanks to Tracy K. Smith for selecting Louisiana as a destination.

 

 

LOUISIANA STATE LIBRARY ANNOUNCES 2018-2019 LETTERS ABOUT LITERATURE CONTEST

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BATON ROUGE, La.– The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana announces the annual Letters About Literature contest, a Library of Congress national reading and writing competition for students in grades 4-12 and coordinated in state by the Louisiana Center. To enter the contest, a student writes a personal letter to an author, living or deceased, explaining how the author’s book, poem, play, or speech changed the student’s view of the world or self.

“Letters About Literature is just one of many programs offered through the State Library of Louisiana that help promote and encourage literacy in our young people,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “I hope teachers, school and public librarians, and homeschool parents across the state take advantage of this opportunity for their students to polish their reflective writing skills all while having the chance to win cash prizes and receive national recognition!”

Students may enter online at www.read.gov/letters through their school or local libraries, or on their own, in one of three competition levels: Level 1 for grades 4-6, Level 2 for grades 7-8, or Level 3 for grades 9-12.

“Literature has an amazing power to both inspire and to heal, and none so much as the books we read as young people,” said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “I’ll never forget how books such as Matilda, Charlotte’s Web, and The Chronicles of Narnia inspired my life-long love of reading. The Letters About Literature contest offers a meaningful opportunity for students at a variety of grade levels to reflect on the way reading has affected their lives.”

The national Letters About Literature team selects finalists for Louisiana in each competition level; then, our state winners are chosen by a panel of judges including teachers and librarians from throughout the state. Our Louisiana winners receive $100 for first place, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place. The winners are honored at the Louisiana Book Festival. First place winning letters are submitted to the Library of Congress for the national competition with the chance of winning up to $1,000.

Letters must be submitted directly to the Library of Congress by January 11, 2019. Official rules, a call for student letters, and a helpful video series guide for participating may be found at www.read.gov/letters, as well as teacher resources with lesson plans and instructions for submitting letters as a group.

The 2018-2019 Letters About Literature contest is made possible through a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries, and other organizations.

In Louisiana, the contest is made possible by the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana with the assistance of the Louisiana Writing Project and the Louisiana Library and Book Festival Foundation. Funding for prizes is provided by a Library of Congress grant.


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Contact:
Rebecca Hamilton
State Library of Louisiana
225.342.4923
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Julio Guichard/Bill Sherman
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
225.342.7009
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LOUISIANA READER’S CHOICE AWARDS ANNOUNCES NOMINATED TITLES

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BATON ROUGE, La.– Entering its 19th year, the Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice (LYRC) Awards Program is excited to announce the 2019-2020 nominated title lists for grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Every year tens of thousands of students from elementary to high school age vote on their favorite book from a list of titles curated by librarians serving on LYRC committees from across the state. Many students cast their ballot on real voting machines supplied by the Secretary of State’s Voter Outreach Division.

 “The Louisiana Readers’ Choice Awards is just one of many phenomenal programs offered through the State Library which inspires a love of reading among the young people of our state,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, adding “the value of literacy and programs that encourage an interest in books cannot be overstated.”

 The 2019-2020 nominated title list includes award winning authors such as Newbery Medal recipient Katherine Applegate; Newbery Honor Award, Coretta Scott King Award, and Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction recipient Rita Williams-Garcia;William C. Morris Award winner Jeff Zentner; recipient of the John Newbery Medal, Edgar Award for Best Young Adult, Michael L. Printz Award, and a National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature, Jason Reynolds; Jane Addams Children's Book Awards for Book for Older Children nominee,Mitali Perkins; and winner of the 2017-2018 Louisiana Young Reader’s Choice award for grades 6-8, Svetlana Chmakova, to only name a few. From fiction to nonfiction, picture books to novels, science fiction to romance, historical to contemporary, these carefully chosen booklists cover a variety of interests and genres, so there is something for every reader.

 “The titles on these lists are selected by professional school and public librarians from across the state with decades of experience working with children and children’s literature,” said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “The nominated titles represent a variety of interests and viewpoints, but what unites the titles is that they are high interest: these are books that kids will love and which will inspire them to keep reading, which is a key part of our mission here at the State Library.”

 The Louisiana Readers’ Choice is a reading enrichment program of the Louisiana Center for the Book, housed in the State Library of Louisiana. Its mission is to foster a love of reading in the children of Louisiana by motivating them to participate in the recognition of outstanding books. According to a 2017 Kids Count report, only 56% of Louisiana’s fourth graders are reading above the basic level, and even fewer reading at a proficient level. Louisiana is tied for third highest in the country in the number of teens not in school and not high school graduates. This is 25% higher than the national average. The Louisiana Center for the Book and the State Library of Louisiana believe fostering a lifelong love of reading among Louisianans will contribute to the state’s overall economic growth and quality of life.

 For information about the program including previous winners, how to participate and additional resources such as free bookmarks, posters, and study guides, please visit the Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Program webpage.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Hamilton
State Library of Louisiana
225.342.4923
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Julio Guichard/Bill Sherman
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
225.342.7009
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UNITED STATES POET LAUREATE TRACY K. SMITH TO VISIT LOUISIANA

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Smith brings “American Conversations: Celebrating Poems in Rural Communities” to the Pelican State

BATON ROUGE, La.– The Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana is pleased to announce that United States Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith will visit Louisiana December 14-15 as the fourth and final state included in her fall tour, “American Conversations: Celebrating Poems in Rural Communities.” Smith’s first event will be held on Friday evening, December 14, at the Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux with a one-hour reception beginning at 6 p.m. and the program to immediately following at 7 p.m. Her final event will be held on Saturday, December 15, from 10-11 a.m. at the South Lafourche Branch Library in Cut Off. The events are free and open to the public.

“We are honored that U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith has selected Louisiana as one of the stops across the United States for the ‘American Conversations’ project,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “I applaud her dedication to connecting with rural communities across the country, and especially the vibrant communities we have here in Louisiana.”

During the events, Smith will read selections of her own poetry and pieces from American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Timeand will engage audiences in discussions of the poems and the power of poetry. American Journal, was published this fall by Graywolf Press and The Library of Congress and features the works of 50 living American poets of different backgrounds, offering 50 different outlooks on America. Complimentary copies of the anthology will be available to all program attendees.

“The mission of the Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana is to stimulate public interest in books and reading. We do this through a range of programs and events, and perhaps are most well-known for hosting the Louisiana Book Festival. We are thrilled by the opportunity to host U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith and help her bring her contagious excitement for poetry to our state,” said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “I couldn’t agree more with Smith’s belief that poetry helps readers slow down and think more passionately and deeply, that poetry inspires us to see the world from another’s eyes, and that poetry is for everyone.”

Smith will also give a private reading to members of the United Houma Nation, including Principal Chief August Creppel, at their main office in Houma during her visit to Louisiana’s Bayou Country.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to take what I consider to be the good news of poetry to parts of the country where literary festivals don’t always go,” Smith said. “Poetry is something that is relevant to everyone’s life, whether they’re habitual readers of poetry or not.”

Smith was appointed as the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States on June 14, 2017, by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, and was reappointed to a second term on March 22, 2018. She is the author of four books of poetry, including Wade in the Waterpublished in April 2018; Life on Mars(2011), winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; Duende(2007), winner of the 2006 James Laughlin Award and the 2008 Essence Literary Award; and The Body’s Question(2003), winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Smith is also the author of a memoir, Ordinary Light(2015), a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Nonfiction and selected as a Notable Book by The New York Timesand The Washington Post.

 The visits have been organized in conjunction with the Poetry and Literature Center in the Library of Congress, and are being hosted with the generous support of the Lafourche Parish Public Library and the National Park Service in Louisiana. Since the beginning of the fall, Smith has visited Alaska, South Dakota, and Maine. This past spring, as part of a pilot for the project, she visited New Mexico, South Carolina, and Kentucky. Follow the visits on social media with the hashtag #AmericanConversations. For more information, please visit http://www.read.gov/americanconversations/louisiana.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Hamilton
State Library of Louisiana
225.342.4923
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Julio Guichard/Bill Sherman
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
225.342.7009
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