Librarian and historian John Y. Cole has served the Library of Congress since 1966. In 1976, Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin named Cole chairman of a one-year Library of Congress Task Force on Goals, Organization, and Planning. When the Task Force's work ended in 1977, Dr. Boorstin asked Cole to become the founding director of the new Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, established by Boorstin to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading and to encourage the historical study of books and their influence.
Cole is a graduate of the University of Washington (B.A. in history, 1962, Master's degree in Librarianship, 1963); the Johns Hopkins University (Master's degree in Liberal Arts, 1966); and the George Washington University (Ph.D. in American Civilization, 1971). His major scholarly interest is the role of the Library of Congress in American life and culture.
He is a tireless promoter of books, reading, and libraries. Under his leadership, the Center for the Book has grown into an office of national and international importance. All fifty states and the District of Columbia have established affiliates of the national center at the Library of Congress. Moreover, the Center for the Book has inspired the creation of centers for books and reading in several other countries, including England, Scotland, South Africa, and Russia.
To honor Dr. Cole's distinguished service to the profession of librarianship, in 2000 the American Library Association presented him with its prestigious Lippincott Award.
Dr. Cole has published extensively about the history of books and libraries in society and the history of the Library of Congress. His most recent book, co-edited with historian Jane Aikin, is the Encyclopedia of the Library of Congress: For Congress, the Nation, and the World (Bernan, 2004). He is the author of the popular Library of Congress volumes, Jefferson's Legacy: A Brief History of the Library of Congress (1993) and On These Walls: Inscriptions and Quotations in the Buildings of the Library of Congress (1995). He has edited 14 books published by the Center for the Book, including Television, the Book, and the Classroom (1978), Books in Our Future: Perspectives and Proposals (1987), and Books Change Lives (1996).
From March 1990 until February 1992, Dr. Cole served concurrently as director of the Center for the Book and as the Library of Congress's Acting Associate Librarian for Cultural Affairs. From September 1993 until May 1995, he had the additional duty of Acting Director of the Library's Publishing Office. From October 1997 through December 2000, he was co-chairman of the steering committee for the commemoration of the Library of Congress's Bicentennial in the year 2000. From 1997 to 2001, he chaired the Reading Section of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).
Under Dr. Cole's direction, the Center for the Book plays a major role in the National Book Festival, coordinating the Festival's author and reading promotion programs.
Center for the Book
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