The Ohioana Library Association thanks everyone who has expressed their views and concerns regarding diversity in our programming, particularly the 2018 Ohioana Book Awards held last October at the Ohio Statehouse, and the 2019 Ohioana Book Festival, held on April 27 at Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Main Library.
This year marks Ohioana’s 90th anniversary. Throughout our history, Ohioana has served diverse communities and looked for new ways to reach out to those communities, both live and virtual. Our programming and events are open to all, regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or political beliefs.
More than 400 books every year are considered for the Ohioana Book Awards, which are the second oldest state literary prize in the nation. These books are nominated by authors, publishers, and the general public. There are only two criteria. First, the author must be an Ohioan or a non-Ohioan whose book is on an Ohio subject. Second, the book must have been traditionally published (not self-published) in the past year. Any author whose work meets these criteria is eligible. Five finalists are chosen by volunteer judges in each of six categories, and one in each is selected as the winner. Throughout the history of the book awards, the winners have reflected a variety of viewpoints and backgrounds, including persons of color and other minorities.
The Ohioana Book Festival is open to any Ohio author who has had a book traditionally published in the past year. Ohioana takes applications from authors from July to November, and participants are selected in December. While some authors are specifically invited, including past Ohioana Award winners, the majority are chosen via the open application process. Every festival has included authors of color, authors who are LGBTQAI+, and authors with disabilities. The number of participants in these groups can vary from year to year, based on how many authors in these groups apply with books that qualify.
The festival itself is free and open to the public. April 27’s event, presented for the first time at Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Main Library, drew a record 4,400 attendees. They represented a wide and diverse audience of readers from Columbus and beyond, and 68% who took our on-site survey said it was their first festival. Reaching new audiences was an important goal in moving the festival to the Main Library.
We recognize we can do more to create a more diverse representation on all fronts: in our awards review process; in selecting authors for the book festival, including distributing the application in places where it can be found by writers who are not familiar with Ohioana or the festival; and in recruiting members for our board. Identifying ways to improve in these areas, and then implementing those identified changes, will be a major focus for the Ohioana Library over the coming months.
We appreciate that several people, including those who have been among our biggest supporters and our most vocal critics, have expressed their willingness to help. We look forward to working with them and the community to discuss what next steps Ohioana can take, both formal and informal, to encourage greater diversity and inclusiveness.
Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, an inspiring day of generosity across the globe. We hope you’ll support your favorite nonprofit organizations, including the Ohioana Library Association.
Celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2019, Ohioana connects thousands of readers with Ohio writers through programs including the Ohioana Book Festival, the Ohioana Awards, and the Ohioana Quarterly, and promotes our state as one of America’s great literary centers.
For #GivingTuesday, we are partnering once again with The Columbus Foundation to help you give AND receive! On #GivingTuesday, when you give to Ohioana and one or more other nonprofits through the Foundation’s Giving Store, you’ll receive a $20 Charitable Gift Card as part of the “Give Two on #GivingTuesday” promotion. Redeemable at any of the 1,000+ nonprofits in The Giving Store, these gift cards make excellent presents or stocking stuffers, and are a wonderful way to keep the good going this holiday season.
Are you an author who was born in Ohio or has lived in Ohio for five or more years? Have you published a book in the last year? Then fill out an application to attend the 2019 Ohioana Book Festival – and hurry, the deadline is coming up on November 15th!
The Ohioana Book Festival is an annual celebration of literature, featuring all authors with Ohio connections. Authors of all genres for all age levels are welcome, from picture books to nonfiction. The 2019 Festival happens to be a very special occasion, as we will be holding it for the first time at the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library in Downtown Columbus. Our new space will allow us to be bigger and better than ever!
At the Festival, you’ll be able to sell your new book, as well as up to four older titles if you’d like to. You will be able to interact with readers, as well as other Ohio authors. In addition, you may be able to tap into your expertise by participating in a panel or children’s room program.
The 2019 Ohioana Book Festival is taking place on April 27th, 2019 from 10am-4:30pm. You can find out more about applying on our application page or if you think you’re ready to apply, go ahead and download and fill out the application here. We hope to see you at the Festival!
Although autumn doesn’t officially start until September 22nd, it certainly already feels as if the seasons have changed. The chilly, rainy weather of this past week might bring to mind thoughts of changing leaves, pumpkin pie and shorter days. Here at Ohioana, it also reminds us of the myriad of literary events that happen around the state during the autumn. Whether you’re looking to hear your favorite author speak about their work, get a book signed, or buy something new to read, there should be something to satisfy you in the coming months. Check out our list below for some literary events around Ohio this fall that you shouldn’t miss.
Cleveland Public Poetry: Featuring Maxwell Shell
When: September 15th, 12:00pm-1:00pm
Where: Literature Department, Main Library, 325 Superior Ave., 2nd FL
What: “Ohio Center for the Book and Cleveland Public Library invite you to celebrate the changing of the season amidst the readings of written and spoken-word poetry, with our special guest reader poet MaxWell Shell. After a brief Q&A, the mic will open for others to read an original or favorite work. Free refreshments and snacks provided. Door prizes, too!”
What: “In partnership with Columbus City Schools, Gramercy Books welcomes award-winning author and journalist, Wil Haygood, to Columbus East High School for his national book tour launch of Tigerland:1968-1969: A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing. Haygood will share the story of Columbus’ own East High School Tigers, who won baseball and basketball state championships in the midst of the racial turbulence and segregation of the late 1960s, and how they inspired a community.”
Admission: Free, but tickets must be reserved through Eventbrite
Where: Schottenstein Theatre at Bexley High School
326 South Cassingham Road
Bexley , OH 43229
What: “Join us in welcoming Columbus’ own, Wil Haygood, for a special afternoon featuring his new book, Tigerland:1968-1969: A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing, an emotional, inspiring story of two teams from a poor, black, segregated high school in Columbus, who, in the midst of the racial turbulence of 1968/1969, win the Ohio state baseball and basketball championships in the same year. This program, to include an author talk, reading and book signing, is presented in partnership with Bexley Public Library.”
What: “Wil Haygood, Pulitzer-nominated journalist and New York Times best-selling author of The Butler and Showdown will be discussing his new book, Tigerland: 1968-1969: A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing. Tigerland tells the story of Columbus’ East High School Tigers, baseball and basketball teams from a poor, black, segregated high school that each won two Ohio state championships in the same year, uniting a racially-charged community in the aftermath of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Haygood is praised for connecting the civil rights movement and its iconic heroes with current events and enduring struggles. Above all, he brings the powerful perspective that this is the history of all Americans, shaping our national identity and common values. Haygood will be interviewed by his friend, Michael Carter, chief diversity officer at Sinclair Community College. Copies of Tigerland, in addition to other titles by Haygood, will be available for purchase. A book signing will follow the presentation.”
What: “This year’s festival will feature accomplished visiting writers, a book fair, a caucus for literary arts nonprofits, panels on many aspects of the literary arts, craft talks, workshops and readings in fiction, nonfiction and poetry.”
When: September 27th-30th, check website for times
Where: Varying locations, check website for more information
What: “CXC is a free, citywide arts festival hosted every year by people and places with a passion for cartoon arts. CXC connects the global family of cartoon storytellers, comic makers, and animators with the people who love and are inspired by their art. Together, they celebrate the stories that can only be told in visual media that are as diverse as the people who imagined them.”
What: “The Ohioana Book Awards are the second oldest, and among the most prestigious, state literary prizes in the nation. Nearly every notable Ohio writer of the past 76 years has been honored. Tickets for the Awards go on sale on September 15th.”
What: “The premiere event is the Books by the Banks Cincinnati Regional Book Festival held annually in downtown Cincinnati. The day-long festival, which is free and open to the public, features national, regional, and local authors and illustrators; book signings; panel discussions; and activities for the entire family to enjoy.”
What: The Pickerington Teen Book Fest is free and open to the public! Add this event now to your calendars, and get ready to spend one incredible day with twelve incredible authors of teen and young adult fiction!
This is not a drill: Ohioana’s operating support has been eliminated from the state budget, or at least the version passed May 2 in the Ohio House of Representatives. I’m sure you’re as surprised and shocked as we are.
Ohioana promotes and celebrates our great state and is one of the nation’s leading literary centers. It directly serves 150,000 Ohioans every year and serves ALL Ohioans as the caretaker of our state’s rich literary heritage.
Eleven Ohio Governors and 34 consecutive General Assemblies since 1949 have recognized the public value of Ohioana’s work by providing it with operating support. This support is even a part of state law under the Ohio Revised Code.
Of course, you already know that Ohioana has value because you love books, reading, and storytelling. Perhaps you were at the 11th annual Ohioana Book Festival on April 8 in Columbus and you had a chance to meet one of 120 authors and attended a festival panel. You read the Ohioana Quarterly for book reviews and articles about literary Ohio. Maybe you follow the Ohioana Awards and cheer for your favorite authors when they are nominated.
So today we’re asking for your help. Will you call your state senator and ask them to restore funding? Here are just a few of the reasons to keep Ohioana, reasons that you can mention when you call:
The Ohioana Library Association directly serves 150,000 Ohioans each year.
It serves ALL Ohioans as the caretaker of our state’s literary heritage.
It costs the state a penny-and-half per Ohioan to support Ohioana.
Ohioana generates more than $1 for every $1 provided by the State.
Just go to this link and under “Find Your Senator” enter your zip code + 4.
Yes, state revenues are tight. Yes, the state has many priorities. But Ohioana’s history proves it has yielded major dividends for a modest investment. Don’t just take our word for it – ask the eleven Ohio Governors and 34 General Assemblies that have supported us since 1949.
Ohioana has always worked hard to be a good steward of both public and private money. And we have faced shortages before. But removal from the budget could not just hinder our ability to serve the people. It could, if not halted, ultimately jeopardize our very existence. So please help and make your voice heard – it has never been as important before as it is now! Take a moment and call your state senator before May 10.
After all, what is any place without its stories and its storytellers?
It’s so exciting to have a new bookstore in town! Gramercy Books in Columbus suburb city Bexley opened its doors just about six weeks ago.
What? Aren’t independent bookstores dead? Didn’t they get buried in the rise of the big box stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders? Yes and no. Borders, of course, is gone. And you can buy books at the grocery or drug stores (nothing new there). What about online retailers like Amazon? And what about the rise of the e-book?
True story: independent bookstores began returning after the Great Recession of 2008, which seems to defy explanation and logic. Per the American Booksellers Association, 2009 was the year when independent bookstores experienced a resurgence in numbers and popularity.
Turns out people like stores that specialize in books. Don’t you make sure to visit bookstores when you travel? Of course you do.
Columbus is part of the trend, which is gloriously reassuring. We’ve got craft beer, vibrant arts scenes in different parts of the city, tech innovation – and an indy bookstore!
What makes the whole thing even more special is that store owner Linda Kass is also a novelist. Her book, Tasa’s Song, about music, survival, and World War II, has been the source of musical inspiration. If you visit her website to learn more about her book, you can hear original music composed by Charles Wetherbee of the Carpe Diem String Quartet.
Book stores inspire as well. There’s nothing like the experience of stepping into a well-stocked space and meeting a new book, sure to be your new best friend.
Congratulations to Linda Kass! We look forward to many visits and many purchases!
Hello to our Ohioana friends and family! Hope you are doing well and taking time to read lots of great books by Ohioans, about Ohio, or both!
We’re re-animating the Ohioana blog and will provide weekly updates on all things Ohioana:
• The 2017 Book Festival
• Other Ohioana events
• Oldies but goodies from the collection
• The latest from Ohio authors
• Book-related events from around the state
There’s no shortage of topics here at Ohioana. A quick trip to the stacks or a glance at the new books provides all the fodder we need to generate ideas. For example, we’ll be honoring Black History Month as well as observing Valentine’s Day in February. Spring is just around the corner and Ohioana is well-fortified with books on plants and nature, so we’ll see what we can share with you in March. The Ohioana Book Festival is on April 8 this year, and we’ll have updates and follow-ups on the blog.
The blog also gives us a chance to give some love to our friends, like the fine folks at the Book Loft (our bookseller for 2017) and our friends at the new Gramercy Books in Bexley. We’ll also revisit the current issue of the Ohioana Quarterlyjust as a reminder in case you haven’t had a chance to read it.
And we want to hear from you! Want to say “hi” and tell us what’s up? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you again next week!
The Ohioana Book Festival is celebrating its tenth birthday, and you’re invited! Join us at the Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square on Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for a fun-filled day with more than 120 Ohio writers (including ten featured authors), panel discussions, special activities for children and teens, a book fair, and more! The book festival offers something for every reader of every age—and it’s FREE!
For the complete list of 2016 festival authors, see our February Newsletter here.
(Author lineup is subject to change without notice.)
Earlier this year we did a special series of blog posts in support of Banned Books Week. From now until December 2 you have a unique opportunity not only to support the freedom to read, but also to score some great holiday gifts in the form of original artwork by children’s book illustrators!
The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is holding a holiday auction. Children’s book illustrators who have contributed original artwork include Eric Carle, Judy Schachner (of Skippyjon Jones fame), Tom Angleberger (creator of Origami Yoda), and Ohio’s own Adam Rex. You can head on over to the auction by clicking the image above, and you can learn more about the ABFFE by clicking here.