The University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Information Sciences and the Library Sciences and Informatics Library will establish the first Puerto Rico Center for the Book in 2019 as the 53rd affiliate center of the Library of Congress, the two institutions announced. The Library’s Center for the Book is a network of U.S. sites promoting an interest in reading and literacy.
The newest affiliate center will be housed at the University’s Río Piedras Campus in San Juan. It will be based in the Library Sciences and Informatics Library, with an online presence to highlight Puerto Rican books and authors.
A launch event for the new center is planned for Jan. 25, featuring a reading and program with U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, who has been visiting several states across the nation to engage people in conversations about poetry.
The Puerto Rican Center will celebrate books and work to develop literacy skills, cultivate lifetime reading habits among young people and stimulate research into the history and culture of books and Puerto Rican literary heritage. The Center will also seek to enhance the role of libraries and information professionals to promote a culture of reading, writing, creativity and innovation.
“The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress welcomes the Puerto Rico Center for the Book into our family of affiliated centers,” said John Van Oudenaren, director of the Library’s Center for the Book. “We look forward to co-sponsoring events and other activities with our new center as they promote the rich literary heritage of Puerto Rico.”
Preliminary activities include guided walking tours of literary sites in Old San Juan, mini book fairs showcasing Puerto Rican books, writers and publishers, and other special events.
“The Graduate School of Information Sciences and the Library Science and Informatics Library at the University of Puerto Rico are highly honored to have the Puerto Rico Center for the Book included as the 53rd affiliate of the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book,” said Luisa Vigo-Cepeda, the Puerto Rico Center’s project director. “Efforts will be geared to develop a wide range of events, such as authors colloquia, workshops, reading festivals and contests to explore the making and writing of books. A makerspace is being developed at the site as well as in the virtual space to stimulate creativity and innovation in reading and writing.”
About the Poet Laureate
As poet laureate, Smith has traveled the country to connect with rural communities and engage Americans in conversations about poetry with her project “American Conversations: Celebrating Poems in Rural Communities.” This year she also unveiled a new anthology, “American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time,” featuring the works of 50 living American poets of different ages and backgrounds. She is also launching a new weekday podcast and public radio feature titled “The Slowdown.” Smith is the author of four books of poetry published by Graywolf Press, including “Wade in the Water” 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.
Born in Falmouth, Massachusetts, in 1972 and raised in Fairfield, California, Smith earned a B.A. in English and American literature and Afro-American studies from Harvard University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia University. From 1997 to 1999, she was a Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University. Smith has taught at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, at the University of Pittsburgh and at Columbia University. She is currently the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor in the Humanities and director of the creative writing program at Princeton University.
About the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress
Congress created the Library’s Center for the Book in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading. It has become a national force for reading and literacy promotion with affiliates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The affiliates meet every spring at the Library of Congress to exchange ideas. For more information, visit read.gov.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world – both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.