The Library of Virginia Newsletter
July 2009

Virginia Newspaper Project Contributes to Chronicling America

The Library of Virginia and the Virginia Newspaper Project have now contributed 100,000 pages to Chronicling America, a free national database and repository of digitized and searchable historical newspapers.

Chronicling America is a partnering effort funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and administered by the Library of Congress to provide free access to United States imprint newspapers published between the years 1836 and 1922.

The initial phase of the program focused on the years 1900–1910. The dates in subsequent grant cycles have expanded and, with a recent grant award from NEH to the Library of Virginia, the eligible dates have increased to 1860–1922.

Please take a moment to visit this dynamic site where you can browse through a wide selection of Virginia titles as well as newspapers from ten other states and the District of Columbia. Recent awards to Virginia and to seven additional states increase the ranks of partnering states to 21. Chronicling America will eventually contain 20 million pages of historic American newspapers dating from 1836 to 1922. In addition to the digitized pages, Chronicling America offers educational essays on every title represented and a directory of all newspapers published in the U.S. dating from 1690 to the present.
The Virginia Newspaper Project is sponsored by and headquartered at the Library of Virginia. Using grant funds made available through the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Virginia Newspaper Project was established at the Library of Virginia in 1993. The University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, and the Virginia Historical Society have served as co-sponsors.


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Finalists for Cardozo Children's Literature Award Announced

The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2009 Whitney and Scott Cardozo Award for Children's Literature. A juried panel reviewed 21 titles from authors whose works focused on literature for children ages three through eight, with a publication date of 2008. Nominated titles were accepted from the greater mid-Atlantic region.

The finalists are:
  • How I Learned Geography – written and illustrated by Uri Schulevitz (Farrar Straus Giroux)
  • Rain Play – written by Cynthia Cotten and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe (Henry Holt & Company)
  • A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams – written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers)
  • Christopher Counting – written and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev (Philomel Books)
  • Abe's Honest Words – written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Hyperion for Kids)

The winner will be chosen through public voting, and children and adults are invited to read each finalist's book and vote for their favorite. Voting boxes are now available at the Library of Virginia, the Children's Museum of Richmond, and at select public libraries and bookstores. Voting is also available online at Voting will take place July 1-August 7. The Cardozo Award was established in 2007 to recognize outstanding works of children's literature. The winner, who receives a $2,500 monetary prize, will be announced at the 12th Annual Library of Virginia Awards celebration on October 17, 2009.

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Grisham to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award on October 17

At the 12th Annual Library of Virginia Awards celebration on October 17, 2009, one of the nation's best-known and best-selling authors will receive recognition for a lifetime of literary achievement. The recipient of the 2009 Library of Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award is John Grisham. Grisham is the author of 22 books. Since publishing A Time to Kill in 1988 Grisham has written a novel a year and all of them have become international best sellers. His second book, The Firm, spent 47 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list, becoming the best-selling novel of 1991. The Innocent Man (2006) was his first work of nonfiction. More than 235 million Grisham books are in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. The New York Times Book Review says "John Grisham is about as good a storyteller as we've got in the United States these days." His trademark legal thrillers combine suspense and drama with taut narrative and are perennials on the best-seller charts.

In February 2009 Grisham received a governor's award for excellence in the arts from Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Grisham and his family divide their time between Mississippi and Albemarle County. He devotes time to charitable causes including his Rebuild the Coast Fund, which has raised $8.8 million for Gulf Coast relief. Grisham is a big baseball fan and funded the building of Cove Creek Park, a youth baseball complex near Covesville, Virginia. He serves as the local Little League commissioner.

Previous recipients of the Library of Virginia's Lifetime Award were Ellen Glasgow, Edgar Allan Poe, Anne Spencer, Booker T. Washington, Mary Lee Settle, Louis D. Rubin Jr., George Garrett, Merrill D. Peterson, William Styron, Tom Wolfe, and Rita Dove.

The 12th Annual Library of Virginia Awards Celebration Honoring Virginia Authors & Friends will be held on October 17 at the Library of Virginia. The winners of the annual awards for best fiction and poetry work by a Virginia author and best nonfiction work by a Virginia author or on a Virginia subject will be announced at the gala event. The winners of the People's Choice Award, the Weinstein Poetry Prize, and the Whitney & Scott Cardozo Award for Children's Literature also will be announced that evening. Winners of the Library of Virginia's literary awards will receive a $3,500 monetary award and a crystal replica of a book. For ticket information, please call 804-692-3900.

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Poe: Man, Myth, or Monster Opens July 20 at the Library of Virginia

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth, the Library of Virginia, in partnership with the Poe Museum, is presenting a major exhibition exploring the myths and legends surrounding Edgar Allan Poe, America’s first internationally renowned author. Poe: Man, Myth, or Monster covers the many facets of Poe’s life. He was born in Boston in 1809 but identified himself as a Virginian.

Who is Edgar Allan Poe? He has his own action figure and comic book. He has appeared in film, television, and other people’s novels. He is America’s first internationally influential author, the inventor of the modern detective story, a contributor to the genre of science fiction, author of some of the most thoughtful and piercing literary criticism ever written, a lyric poet, an amateur scientist, and inventor of nearly 1,000 new words. (Think tintinnabulation.) Poe’s influence on other authors is incalculable.

But much of what we think we know about Poe is not necessarily accurate. During his lifetime Poe often was less than truthful about his life. A University of Virginia dropout, he wrote an autobiography claiming to have graduated from the school. His account also had him traveling to Europe to fight in the Greek Wars of Independence and being imprisoned in Saint Petersburg. Subsequent biographers also were less than factual, erring either on the side of Poe the drunken madman or Poe the refined, ever-proper gentleman.

The exhibition includes three interactive stations: Poe’s Words (readings from Poe), Poe in Film (the 1928 silent film The Fall of the House of Usher), and Fact or Fiction (visitors get to test their knowledge of Poe).

Among the more 100 (digital and original items) in the exhibition are:

  • A copy of Tamerlane, Poe's first, but not widely distributed, published book of poetry (1827)
  • Posters in different languages from commercial films based (however loosely) on Poe's tales
  • An Edgar, the annual award given by the Mystery Writers of America
  • Illustrations of The Raven by James Carling (1857–1887)
  • Original manuscripts of "Eulalie: a Song," "To Elizabeth," and Poe's autobiography

Chris Semtner, curator of the exhibition, is the author of several articles on Edgar Allan Poe and serves as acting director of the Poe Museum.

Poe: Man, Myth, or Monster runs through December 5, 2009. The exhibition is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Monday through Saturday. Admission is free. Monthly curator-led tours and weekly docent-led tours are available. Please call 804-692-3592 for tour information.


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Virginia Press Women Donate Archive to Library of Virginia

The Virginia Press Women organization is donating its archive to the Library of Virginia. In addition, the VPW Board voted on June 7 to give $1,000 to the Library of Virginia to help defray the cost of processing the archive. The VPW archive is a rich collection of materials documenting the organization, its programs, and its members.

Virginia Press Women Inc. was founded in 1958 and incorporated in 1973. It is affiliated with the National Federation of Press Women. Both organizations promote the highest ethical standards, foster exchanges of journalistic ideas and experiences, offer continuing-education opportunities to members, and serve the public's right to know.

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DiYorio to Lead State Library Board

John S. DiYorio, of Wytheville, Virginia, has been elected chair of the Library Board. DiYorio, who was appointed to the Board in 2003 by Governor Mark Warner, received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from the College of Charleston and his doctorate degree in physical chemistry from the University of South Carolina. He served as professor of chemistry at Wytheville Community College from 1969 to 2002. He currently serves as adjunct professor of chemistry at Wytheville Community College.

From 1988 to 1994 DiYorio was a member of the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission. He served on the Wythe-Grayson Library Board from 1988 to 1994, filling two terms as chair of the Board.

Ronald S. Kozlowski, of Richmond, Virginia, was elected vice chair of the Library Board. A retired librarian, he served as interim director of the Richmond Public Library System and headed several other libraries including the Miami-Dade Public Library, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Library, the Louisville Free Public Library, and the Anne Arundel County Public Library.

Library Board members are appointed by the governor and serve five-year terms. They are eligible for reappointment.

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SHRAB Receives a SNAP Grant

The Virginia State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) received a grant for $19,994 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission in June 2009. State Archivist Conley L. Edwards is the Board's coordinator.

For more than three decades, SHRAB has worked cooperatively with repositories across the commonwealth to facilitate federal grants for archival work. SHRAB meets twice each year to review pending grant proposals. Since 1976, the board has facilitated grants for 31 records projects. SHRAB works with record keepers throughout Virginia-at local historical societies, archival institutions, museums, and other organizations-to save endangered records, preserve them, and make them available for all researchers. Ultimately, these records help illuminate the history of the commonwealth and the nation.

The State and National Archival Partnership (SNAP) grant provides administrative support for three board meetings during the 18-month grant period. The grant also will allow the board to continue its support of two cooperative projects that reflect its mission of education and advocacy-Virginia Archives Month and a conference for local Virginia historical societies.

The SNAP grant further strengthens Virginia's archives and historical records program and enables it to contribute toward a national archival network. With grant funds, the Virginia State Historical Records Advisory Board will be able to provide funds for the printing and distribution of the Virginia Archives Month poster and to collaborate on projects with other organizations to address common problems and shared opportunities within the state. A conference of Virginia historical societies, to be held at the Library of Virginia with grant funds in 2010, will help to address the need for affordable education, networking, and cooperation among the societies statewide.

By supporting board meetings, Archives Month, and a conference of local historical societies, the grant will allow SHRAB to develop outreach programs on preserving Virginia's documentary heritage.

For more on the State Historical Records Advisory Board, visit the Library of Virginia's Web site:

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VCOG Seeks Nominations for Freedom of Information Awards

VCOG's FOI Awards Information
Do you know someone who works hard to keep government open and accountable? Have you read an article, seen a television show, or heard a radio program that helped you understand the importance of government records and meetings? Has someone in local or state government demonstrated a real commitment to citizen access to government information?

The Virginia Coalition for Open Government is seeking nominations for its annual Freedom of Information Awards. The awards are given in three categories: citizen, media, and government. They are based on the nominee's outstanding efforts in using public records and meetings to keep government open and accountable to the people.

The coalition's citizen award, the Laurence E. Richardson award, is named for veteran Charlottesville broadcaster Laurence Richardson (1920–1999), a VCOG founder and longtime First Amendment and Freedom of Information supporter.

Past winners include David Poole, the founder of the Virginia Public Access Project; former Librarian of Virginia Nolan T. Yelich and the Library Board for ensuring that public records from former Governor James S. Gilmore's administration were transferred to the Library of Virginia; a citizen activist who successfully sued the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for spending records; the Virginia Beach FOI Office; and a Roanoke Times reporter who used the FOI Act to uncover a city councilman's double-billing practices.

Nominations should be accompanied by an explanation and any supporting materials (articles, letters, Web site links, etc.) that will help the judges evaluate the nominee's achievements.

Winners will be announced in conjunction with the coalition's annual conference October 15–16, 2009 in Staunton.

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