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In celebration of National Poetry Month, the State Library on Tuesday, April 20, 2010, will host Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque at a noon program, presented by the Louisiana Center for the Book in the Seminar Center of the State Library.  At this event, free and open to the public, Dr. Bourque will discuss his recent laureate activities and read from his works, talking about inspirations, origins, and histories of selected poems.  A book signing will follow.

What We’ve Done in the Past
In celebration of Black History Month, the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana on Thursday, February 4, 2010, presented author, scholar and educator Reggie Scott Young, who spoke on “Ernest J. Gaines and ‘Those Twenty-Six Letters’ of Influence.”

Also in February, the Center hosted a grand finale event of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission celebration.  On Thursday, February 11, author, playwright and chair of the Lincoln Commission presented his one-man short play, “The Sultana Sinks as Lincoln's Funeral Train Crosses America,” in which he spoke as twelve of the 500 survivors of the sinking of the Sultana in the Mississippi and narrated the simultaneous movement of Lincoln's funeral train from Washington to Springfield, Illinois. With the catastrophic sinking of the steamboat Sultana into the Mississippi River, 1,400 Union soldiers perished, the worst maritime disaster in American history.

The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana had a year before helped kick off the Louisiana Commission’s celebration of Lincoln’s bicentennial with “Imagining Lincoln: The Louisiana Poetry Project.”  At this event on Sunday, February 8, 2009, moderated by Commission Chair David Madden and featuring Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque and other Louisiana poets, participants read original or other poets’ works about Lincoln, as well as a poem by Lincoln himself.

The State Library was privileged to have been chosen as a venue for the traveling exhibition “Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings,” on loan from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.  After an opening event on August 27, 2009, the expansive interactive multimedia exhibition was on display during library hours through September 20, 2009.

The signature event of the Louisiana Center for the Book is the Louisiana Book Festival,  drawing thousands of children, teens, and adults to the Louisiana State Library, Louisiana State Capitol, and the Louisiana State Museum venues and grounds each fall for the Louisiana’s celebration of reading, literacy, and books, featuring scores of poets and writers and, in particular, showcasing Louisiana’s wealth of writing talent.  At the festival, an award ceremony honors the annual recipient of the Louisiana Writer Award, and winning authors and books in the Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice statewide balloting are recognized.

The festival is preceded annually by a full day of WordShops, writing workshops featuring creative writing instructors, authors, and others to nurture Louisiana’s writing talent and help writers hone their craft and pursue publication.