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Literacy and Reading

In keeping with the mission of the State Library, the activities of the Louisiana Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and other programs support literacy and reading and celebrate the writers of the state.

During its first seven years, the Center's premier event, the Louisiana Book Festival, grew to be the largest literary event in Louisiana, reaching an attendance of more than 25,500 in 2009.  Additional components prior to the festival, which is held in the fall of each year, include outreach programs in area elementary and middle schools that celebrate literacy and the value and joy of reading. The day before the festival, the Center offers WordShops, writing workshops geared towards nurturing the writing talent in the state.

The Center recognizes the significant writing accomplishment of a Louisiana author annually with the presentation of the Louisiana Writer Award.

Through the annual Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice program, school children proactively become involved in selecting winners from among a slate of nominated books and in the process get a lesson in civics and democracy, with many schools including the voting machine experience as part of the process.

The State Library and Center support Louisiana public libraries’ Summer Reading Program for children and teens, now expanding to include adults.

The Center’s most recent partnership is with Louisiana Writes! Run by Ann Dobie and Harriet Castille, Louisiana Writes! is a statewide writing contest for students in grades K–12 designed to encourage their writing. Students who have submitted outstanding compositions are honored at a ceremony held each fall as part of the Louisiana Book Festival. In the Junior Division, composed of students in grades K-6, Louisiana Writes! welcomes submissions in French or English prose (fiction or nonfiction) or poetry. Students in grades 7-12 are invited to enter the Senior Division. Students may enter writings in all categories within their age group.

Other special programs and events in support of readers, writers, books, literacy, and the freedom to read are also sponsored by the State Library and Center for the Book. The Black History Month author presentation and the Louisiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial programs held in the Library’s Seminar Center are examples.  The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s traveling exhibit on censorship, “Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burning” was made available to Louisianans through the efforts of the State Library and the Center for the Book.