Well ... there's nothing like being the last to the party!

The state of Illinois has been on a lockdown since Monday, March 16. Our latest date of return is scheduled for May 1. Despite this, the Director and chief Deputy Direct have been going into the office to hold down the fort. Yesterday, the Library Development Group had our first conference call with them since leaving the office on March 16th - the Center is part of this group.

the Illinois Center is a partner of the ILLINOIS READS program. The Kick-off Book Festival for the program scheduled for March 14 was cancelled amid concerns for the health and safety of the authors, illustrators, families and volunteers. ILLINOIS READS is a reading program highlighting Illinois authors, so it is still a go - people can read the books any time. The only thing that will change is the timing or medium of programs. 

The LETTERS ABOUT LITERATURE in Illinois judging deadline was today but, due to the abrupt closures of everything across the state,it is being extended until Monday. Our awards ceremony is scheduled for May 12 with the Secretary of State. While this date is still on the Secretary's books, it is unknown and doubtful (my thoughts) that this will be able to happen given this virus. If the ceremony can't happen, we will make sure the winner receives something special from the Secretary.  We will run into the same situation as others - trying to get the student's mailing addresses for certificates with some if not most schools being closed for the rest of the year, but we'll make it work.

We are still moving forward with our ILLINOIS EMERGING WRITERS COMPETITION GWENDOLYN BROOKS POETRY AWARD The entry deadline is June 30. While we depend on Illinois colleges, universities and public libraries to help communicate the competition, they are all closed right now. We do, however, also have the support of the Illinois writing community and the past Illinois Poet Laureate, who helped create the program. The award ceremony usually isn't until late November or early December so we'll hope that should be able to happen!

All the best to each of you 💟

Bonnie Matheis
Illinois Center for the Book, Coordinator

Illinois State Library
Gwendolyn Brooks Building
300 South 2nd Street 
Springfield,IL  62701

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From: Center for the Book state centers communication [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Lamolinara, Guy [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, March 23, 2020 2:35 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: External: working in the age of coronavirus

Dear Affiliates,

It is hard for me sometimes to believe how are lives and work activities have so drastically changed in just the past two weeks!

I just started teleworking last week and am still getting used to the lack of social interchange with my colleagues face-to-face. I have never teleworked before because I have always enjoyed coming into the office each day. It also puts me in a “work” mindset. The constant racket from the construction project next door is a constant and annoying distraction. If you know Alexandria, Va., and its historic district, then you know we all live in rowhouses in a densely populated neighborhood. I live in one of those rowhouses, attached on only one side. Right next door, about 12 feet away, they are erecting a large Sunrise senior living facility on what has been a parking lot for the entire 33 years I have lived in this house. At least when the times comes, I won’t have to move very far!

On a more serious level, I am writing to reach out and learn how all of you are coping, how your work, activities and plans have changed, and what I (and the Library of Congress) can do to support you. I can tell you we are planning to release online later this week the beginning of a series of reading and learning activities with some top authors who have agreed to work with us to reach out to young readers who are home from school. As soon as I have details, I will let you know. Perhaps it is something you can offer your users.

Can you tell us if you are engaging in any novel approaches to reaching your constituencies?

What activities have you been forced to cancel? Are you doing any virtual programming?

Are you involved in a state or local book festival? Are you making contingency plans?

Anything you would like to say to get the conversation going, please share.

Take care. I hope we return to “normal” soon, whatever the new normal may be.


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