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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 28, 2009

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Rod Wagner
402-471-4001
800-307-2665

Awards for Promotion of Literature Presented

The Nebraska State Historical Society's Nebraska History Museum was the site of the 2009 Nebraska Book Festival, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Humanities Council, Nebraska Library Commission and the Nebraska State Historical Society. The festive occasion featured an awards luncheon with readings by Nebraska Book Award winners, including Kristine Gerber, Design award for BVH Architects: Forty Years; Ron Hansen, Fiction award for Exiles; Stew Magnuson, Design Honor and Nonfiction award for The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder, and Keith Terry, Nonfiction Honor award for Nebraska's Cowboy Trail. The Nebraska Book Festival also provided the occasion for presentation of the Nebraska Center for the Book's Mildred Bennett Award and Jane Pope Geske Award.

The Mildred Bennett Award is given to an individual who provides leadership and service in the promotion of Nebraska literature. This year's recipient is Ted Kooser. Ted Kooser is one of the nation's most highly regarded poets and served as the United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004 - 2006. During his second term he won the Pulitzer Prize for his book of poems, Delights & Shadows (Copper Canyon Press, 2004). He lives on an acreage near Garland, Nebraska and has indeed made a significant contribution to the literary tradition in Nebraska. Kooser accepted the award and remarked, "We have a wonderful literary community in this state, very nurturing. It has been a privilege to be a part of it all these years."

The 2009 Jane Geske Award was presented to the Golden Sower Award Committee of the Nebraska Library Association's School, Children's, and Young People's Section. The Golden Sower Award is Nebraska's children's choice award for literature. Thousands of Nebraska students participate in the Golden Sower Award program each year, with 66,648 voting for their favorite reads this year.

The Nebraska Center for the Book annually presents the Jane Geske Award to an organization, business, library, school, association, or other group that has made an exceptional contribution to literacy, books, reading, libraries, or Nebraska literature. The Jane Geske Award commemorates Geske's passion for books, and was established in recognition of her contributions to the well-being of the libraries of Nebraska. Jane Geske was a founding member of the Nebraska Center for the Book and a long-time leader in many Nebraska library and literary activities.

Kimberly Thomas donated the artwork for the 2009 Mildred Bennet and Jane Geske awards. Thomas received her MFA degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and teaches photography at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha. Barbara Gehringer, of Clarkson Street Gallery in Fremont, donated the framing.

The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library Commission and brings together the state's readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is supported by the Nebraska Library Commission.

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As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, bringing together people and information. The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission home page, search on Library Commission News Releases


For more information, contact Mary Jo Ryan.