Library of Congress to Showcase Programs, Mississippi Recordings at First Mississippi Book Festival
Congressman Gregg Harper to Conduct Veteran Interview
The Library of Congress will distribute information and display examples of Mississippi cultural materials from its collections in Washington, D.C., at the first Mississippi Book Festival, Aug. 22 at the Mississippi State Capitol building in Jackson, Mississippi.
Festivalgoers stopping by the Library’s booth in the Mississippi Capitol Rotunda can listen to rare sound recordings of Mississippi musicians dating back to the 1930s, learn how to contribute their own interviews with local military veterans to the Library’s collection of veterans’ oral histories and pick up materials about free educational resources for teachers and library services for the blind and physically handicapped. The booth is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
“The Library of Congress is a rich treasure-trove of resources and programs for all Americans, free and accessible online,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “We are bringing Library experts, program information and also some examples of Mississippi culture to share with festivalgoers as Mississippi celebrates this first of what is sure to be many great gatherings of book-lovers.”
Mississippi’s own Rep. Gregg Harper, vice chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress, said “It is such an honor for me to serve on the Committee on the Library of Congress, and I am so excited that Dr. James Billington has chosen to send a team from the Library of Congress to be a part of this first-ever event in Mississippi! In addition to hearing from and meeting native Mississippi authors, the public will also be able to experience a number of recordings from the Library of Congress collections. This will be a wonderful addition to what is already an outstanding event, and something that folks of all ages and interests will not want to miss.”
The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress (AFC), the world’s largest collection of ethnography materials, houses significant holdings from the Magnolia State, including field recordings, photographs and manuscripts. Festivalgoers stopping by the Library’s booth can experience rarely heard recordings, and view compelling, seldom-seen historic images documenting cultural life in Mississippi over the past two centuries. Highlights include materials dating to the 1920s by iconic Mississippi performers such as Son House, Mississippi John Hurt and McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield.
The Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) collects, preserves and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. VHP staff will demonstrate for festivalgoers how to participate in the most extensive oral-history project in the United States by interviewing friends, family, coworkers and others who served in the U.S. military and submitting the recordings to the Library of Congress. VHP staff will provide field kits containing all the resources needed to submit an interview to the project. Harper will participate in the project on site at the festival by interviewing an area veteran for the project. The public will be able to watch this interview as it is being recorded and preserved for the Library of Congress at 11:30 a.m. in Room 103.
Calling all teachers: the Library’s Educational Outreach division will share strategies for using the Library’s millions of digitized historical primary sources to support reading and literacy skills, and distribute information about professional development opportunities and primary-source sets for teachers.
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) administers the Library of Congress braille and talking-book program, providing free library service for people who cannot see to read regular print or use print materials because of a physical disability. NLS staff will provide information on how eligible Mississippians can use the program to obtain access to more than 65,000 titles of braille and talking books through their local NLS-cooperating library or through a new BARD mobile app that enables users to download talking books on their smartphones and tablets.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions.