Library Life

Publitzer Prize

You nominated, the experts judged, and now it's time to vote. It’s been a fast and rollicking road to the final lineup in the first ever Publitzer Prize for Fiction – the Kansas City Public Library’s democratically driven answer to the real Pulitzer committee’s inability to award a prize for fiction for 2012.

After collecting your nominations all week long, on Friday, we posted  the Publitzer readers’ booklist, which featured many thoughtful and compelling comments sent in by lit-lovers like you. It was a fantastic roundup of the fiction books that most resonated with our local reading community this past year. Seriously, if you've been looking for a good new novel to read, look no further.

Publitzer Prize

As our jurors prepare to hunker down and choose the finalists for  the first-ever "Publitzer" Prize for Fiction, it’s time to share what books you, the public, nominated.

Folks who have been following the race know that over the past week, the Kansas City Public Library has been conducting a campaign to undo the wrong wrought by the Pulitzer committee in giving no award for fiction for 2012.

We’ve been asking readers to nominate their favorite works of fiction from 2011, and our jurors would take your nominations and choose three finalists to be put to the vote beginning Monday, April 30.

We wanted you to be the faction that picks the fiction, and that’s exactly what you were. Well done.

As you dig in to what your fellow readers submitted below, check out the jury’s nominations:

Steve Paul

When the Pulitzer Prize board failed to award a prize for fiction this year, we came up with one of our own, the Publitzer Prize. This week, we’re letting you – the public – nominate potential finalists.  But first, our team of expert jurors will share their official nominations.

Last week, when the Pulitzer board failed to reach a majority vote, three finalists were summarily stiffed: The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, and Swamplandia by Karen Russell.

To make up for the Pulitzerian failure, we’re asking  you to nominate your favorite fiction book from 2011 to enter the running for the Publitzer Prize. (Nominate now.)

Because any good fiction contest needs guidance from the experts, we’ve assembled a top-notch team of local literati to help direct the proceedings: Steve Paul of The Kansas City Star, Scott Wilson of The Pitch, novelist Whitney Terrell (New Letters writer-in-residence at UMKC), and our own Kaite Mediatore Stover, director of Readers’ Services.

Whitney Terrell

When the Pulitzer Prize board failed to award a prize for fiction this year, we came up with one of our own, the Publitzer Prize. This week, we’re letting you – the public – nominate potential finalists.  But first, our team of expert jurors will share their official Publitzer nominations.

Last week, when the Pulitzer board failed to reach a majority vote, three finalists were summarily stiffed: The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, and Swamplandia by Karen Russell.

To make up for the Pulitzerian failure, we’re asking  you to nominate your favorite fiction book from 2011 to enter the running for the Publitzer Prize. (Nominate now.)

Because any good fiction contest needs guidance from the experts, we’ve assembled a top-notch team of local literati to help direct the proceedings: Steve Paul of The Kansas City Star, Scott Wilson of The Pitch, novelist Whitney Terrell (New Letters writer-in-residence at UMKC), and our own Kaite Mediatore Stover, Director of Readers’ Services.

Scott Wilson - The Pitch

When the Pulitzer Prize board failed to award a prize for fiction this year, we came up with one of our own, the Publitzer Prize. This week, we’re letting you – the public – nominate potential finalists.  But first, our team of expert jurors share their official Publitzer nominations.

Quick re-cap: As true fictionados like you already know, last week the Pulitzer board announced that due to a deadlock in voting, no fiction prize could be awarded in this year’s awards. Three finalists were summarily stiffed: The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, and Swamplandia by Karen Russell.

This week we’re asking you to make up for the Pulitzer committee’s failure by nominating your favorite book, any fiction work from 2011, to enter the running for the 2012 Publitzer Prize. (Nomination Form)

Battleship Potemkin movie poster

Silent movies were almost never silent. There was always music. The Library and the People’s Liberation Big Band will recreate the silent film experience with a screening of the classic Soviet silent feature Battleship Potemkin.

Kaite Stover, Publitzer juror

When the Pulitzer Prize board announced that there was no fiction winner this year, we came up with an award of our own: The Publitzer Prize. This week, we're letting you – the public – nominate potential finalists. But first, our jurors share their official Publitzer nominations.

Quick re-cap: As true fictionados like you already know, last week the Pulitzer board announced that due to a deadlock in voting, no fiction prize could be awarded in this year’s awards. Three finalists were summarily stiffed: The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, and Swamplandia by Karen Russell.

As the literary world looks back in anger, we’re asking you to make up for the Pulitzer committee’s failure by nominating your favorite book from 2011 to compete in a vote to determine the winner of the 2012 Publitzer Prize. (Nomination Form)

Crosby Kemper III

The Pulitzer Prize board’s failure is your opportunity, says Library Director Crosby Kemper III. When it was announced that no Pulitzer award for fiction would be given in 2012, the Library launched a new prize in letters – one that’s ruled by the people.

Publitzer Prize Medal

When it was announced earlier this week that no award was given for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, we thought: Why not let the public decide? So, we cooked up the first-ever Publitzer Prize for Fiction. Cast your vote now!

Pin Your Perfect Library

If you were thinking of founding a library anytime soon, we have some exciting news: Our Pin Your Perfect Library Pinterest contest created a plethora of patron-sourced ideas for what objects, people, and books should go into the Perfect Library

For those just walking through the virtual turnstile, here's what went down. For National Library Week, April 8-15, 2012, we invited library-loving Pinterest users to collect their ideas for what items should go in their vision of “the perfect library." Books, bookshelves, fireplaces, hammocks, writers-in-residence, pets, plants, celebrity staffers, food, crafts -- if you could dream it, you could pin it.

Over the course of the week, entrants filed in from New York to Los Angeles. There was a strong local contingency, too. All in all, ten Pin-testants contributed 460 pins. The ideas ranged from eye-popping public art displays, to quirky bookshelves, to Ryan Gosling memes.

Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson

Have you ever spotted letters in unlikely places? Perhaps it’s a crack in the sidewalk shaped like an “R,” or a bridge railing that looks like an “N.” Stephen T. Johnson’s Caldecott Honor book Alphabet City is full of images of ABC’s spotted in city scenes.

This week at the Library, we want you to hit the streets of KC to find your own letters in the landscape and share them with us on social media.

An award-winning artist and children’s book illustrator, Stephen T. Johnson grew up in Kansas and lives in Lawrence. He got the idea for Alphabet City over ten years ago.

He was walking down a New York sidewalk and saw an ornamental keystone that looked like the letter S. “Then suddenly I saw the letter A in a construction sawhorse and the letter Z in fire-escapes,” he writes.

Pretty soon, he’d found the whole alphabet.

Johnson’s Alphabet City paintings are part of an exhibit at Central called Art, Language & Play. He will be conducting a kids’ workshop on Friday, April 20, at 10:30 a.m. at the Central Library (RSVP now).

Pinterest

We’re only a couple of days into our Pin Your Perfect Library Pinterest contest for National Library Week, and the collective inspiration level is higher than a 12-foot cabinet of vertical files.

For those just catching up, on Monday we began inviting people on the social network Pinterest to start gathering and posting (“pinning”) their ideas for the perfect library. It’s in celebration of National Library Week, April 8 – 14, 2012, the American Library Association’s annual campaign to raise awareness for libraries nationwide.

Because Pinterest is a platform built for sharing visual ideas, and because people who love to read often also love images of libraries, bookshops, bookshelves, library cats, and the like, we thought a great way to celebrate NLW would be to crowdsource the perfect library.

If you’d like to take part, the rules are simple: (1) Follow the Kansas City Public Library on Pinterest. (2) Create a board called The Perfect Library and add the description “This is my board for @kclibrary’s Pin Your Perfect Library Contest for #NLW12.” (3) Start pinning things you’d like to have in your ideal library. (4) E-mail us the URL of your board to enter the contest, which ends at midnight on Sunday, April 15, 2012.

Pinterest Logo

What would you put in your perfect library? April 8 – 14, 2012, is National Library Week, and to celebrate, the Kansas City Public Library is holding a Pin Your Perfect Library Pinterest Contest.

What is Pinterest?

It’s a social network that lets you collect your favorite photos, videos, and links and post them to visual “pinboards.” These boards form collages of your favorite areas of interest, whether it’s arts and crafts, fashion, food, books, travel destinations, or other odds & ends from around the web.

Pinterest is currently invitation-only, so if you don’t have an account, you should request an invitation. (Or, you can e-mail me, and I’ll send you an invitation.).

Pin Your Perfect Library Contest: April 9-15, 2012

If you were to build your perfect library, what would it look like? What books would you stock on the shelves? What kinds of furniture would you set out for patrons to lounge in as they read?

Starting Monday, April 9, through midnight on Sunday, April 15, 2012, we want you to build your perfect library on Pinterest.

Booketology prize pack

It was an epic bracket. Booketology, the Library's March tournament of titles, began with 64 books representing eight genres. Over the past two weeks hundreds of voters narrowed the field down to just two: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and To Kill a Mockingird.

The two all-star classics met on the Booketology Championship court yesterday from noon to midnight. Sherlock wore his best tweed and deerstalker, and Atticus Finch sported his finest (slightly frayed) cream-colored suit.

Both books had fought their way across a worthy bracket. Starting out in Classics, Mockingbird tossed Pride & Prejudice, Slaughterhouse-Five, and The Great Gatsby out of its nest, then jettisoned Sci-Fi champ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Not so easy to dispatch was Final Four favorite The Fellowship of the Ring, which cut through Booketology like John Rhys-Davies through a pack of orcs – until it heard Mockingbird sing.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Tonight, April 2, 2012, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the two “most winningest” teams in the NCAA – the University of Kansas Jayhawks and the University of Kentucky, um … what’s their mascot again?

Sorry about that. Honestly, we’re a little distracted.

Though we’re excited for our nearby collegiate athletes, their faculty, and their fans, we’ve got a much bigger game on our hands.

It’s time for the Booketology Championship Round!

Two books are going into the final matchup: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

How did it come to such a dizzying duel?

Over the Final Four weekend, Mockingbird beat Tolkien’s fantasy-genre-definer The Fellowship of the Ring by just five votes. (Sorry, Fantasy fans.) Meanwhile, Sherlock squashed Capote’s true crime masterpiece In Cold Blood by a margin of 50.

Now it’s a cross-pond, cross-century book battle for the ages!

Vote Now: Booketology Championship Round

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