Bruce Gilbert, Professor of Librarianship, was recently appointed to the All Iowa Reads (AIR) Committee. Established in 2003, the All Iowa Reads program is one of the first projects to be provided by the Iowa Center for the Book. (For the current year, the All Iowa Reads selection is Lila by Marilynne Robinson).
The primary work of the committee is to choose the All Iowa Reads title each year and to promote the program. Members also make suggestions at the beginning of the process and familiarize themselves with the titles on the nominee list.
Each committee member contributes to a variety of promotional and maintenance type efforts throughout the year, such as working on other reading lists, reviewing the Iowa Center for the Book AIR website, helping people who are doing book talks, and preparing for and participating in the Webinar that is held each January to kick off the AIR new year.
The purpose of All Iowa Reads is to foster a sense of unity through reading. We encourage Iowans statewide to come together in their communities to read and talk about a single book title in the same year. Libraries, book clubs, schools and other local organizations are encouraged to sponsor discussions of the title.
On March 5, Assistant Professor Hope Grebner presented on a panel at the Mid-America American Studies Association (MAASA) 2016 Conference at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. The presentation was entitled, “Windows/Mirrors, Yesterday/Today: Why You Should Visit Your Local Congressional Archive,” and focused on how modern congressional collections are a mirror into which we can see our own communities, our own identities, and the issues that shape our political discourse. Such collections are revealing sources for scholars of the American experience – the cultural, social, communications, political landscape – and the intersection of these. Her session introduced congressional collections as expansive – and largely untapped – resources for American studies scholars interested in the historical trajectory of contemporary issues. She also shared examples of how you can work in partnership with congressional archivists to support undergraduate instruction and research, as well as facilitate digital humanities projects.
MAASA encourages the development and sharing of scholarship by sponsoring a biennial Spring meeting. The MAASA meeting offers academicians—from graduate students to emeriti, and from independent scholars to affiliated professionals—an opportunity to exchange ideas and perspectives in a convivial atmosphere. The theme of this year’s conference was “Battleground Midwest: Defining Who and What Matters in the U.S. and Beyond.”