About Us

Missouri Center for the Book

The Missouri Center for the Book was established in 1993 “to bring the words and ideas of books into the thoughts and lives of Missourians.” The Center is a statewide organization that promotes the importance of books and reading to Missouri residents, celebrates the state’s literary heritage, and recognizes the contributions of Missouri’s authors, book illustrators, booksellers, publishers, librarians, and others involved in the literary arts.  The Missouri Center is an affiliate of the national Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which was established by law in 1977 to strengthen and celebrate the vital role of books, reading, and libraries in the cultural life of the nation.

The Center is governed by a board of directors composed of authors, publishers, librarians, editors, and community leaders. The board develops programs and plans activities that stimulate public interest in books and reading.

Missouri Authors Book Collection

The Missouri Authors Book Collection is a collection of more than 600 books written by Missouri authors. Recently relocated to the University of Central Missouri, Central Chapter of the the MCB, this special collection showcases the diversity of the state’s writers and represents works in many genres. Guidelines for submissions are in the process of being reveiwed and updated, with no material being accepted at this time.  




Board Information


Board Members

Officers, 2016
President: Naomi Williamson, Warrensburg
Vice President: James Baumlin, Springfield
Treasurer: Donna Essner, Cape Girardeau
Secretary: Madeline Matson, Jefferson City

Members, 2016


Haley Anthes, Columbia
Larisa Cassell, Richmond
Jacek Fraczak, Springfield
Annette Kolling-Buckley Greenlee, Columbia
Madeline Matson, Jefferson City
Scott Phillips, Webster Groves
April Roy, Kansas City

By-Laws of Missouri Center for the Book

(Please note: August 17, 2013.  Due to the recent reorganization of the Missouri Center for the Book, the by-laws listed below are currently under review and subject to change.  The committee responsible for undertaking this review: Missouri Center for the Book Board of Directors Members, John Hoover, Chairperson, supported by Annette Kolling Buckley and Larisa Cassell.  The committee will present their recommendations to the full Board for examination and discussion in advance of a vote to approve or disapprove.  Each section will be considered individually by the full Board.  The discussion period shall not be less than two full weeks (fourteen days) in advance of calling for a vote.  Respectfully submitted by Larisa Cassell, President, Missouri Center for the Book.)



The principal office of the Missouri Center for the Book shall be contained within the directors' offices of each Regional Chapter of the Missouri Center for the Book. The corporation may establish offices at such other places within the State of Missouri as the Board of Directors may from time to time designate.  
     The Missouri Center for the Book shall be governed by a Board of Directors. The Board shall operate as a not-for-profit corporation with the following goals:
     A.   The corporation is organized exclusively for literary and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law).
     B.   The corporation is organized exclusively for literary, educational, cultural, and social purposes acting as a catalyst, bringing together authors, publishers, librarians, scholars, teachers, and readers to promote Missouri’s literary heritage and the Missouri community of the book.
     C.   To stimulate public interest in books, reading and libraries through programs, publications, exhibits and other projects, both locally and statewide.
     D.   To serve as an affiliate of the National Center for the Book of the Library of Congress, which was established by law in 1977 (P.L. 95-129) to strengthen and celebrate the role of books in the human endeavor.
     E.   To accept, hold, invest, reinvest and administer any gifts, bequests, devises, benefits of trusts (but not to act as trustee of any trust) and property of any sort, without limitation as to amount or value and to diffuse, disperse or donate the income or principal thereof and to purchase, sell, lease, pledge, hypothecate or deal in any other way with real or personal property exclusively for the accomplishment of the aforesaid literary, educational, civil, cultural, and social purposes.
     F.   To give, convey or assign any of its property outright, or upon lawful terms regarding the use thereof, to other organizations, provided that:
          (1) such organization shall be organized and operated exclusively for literary and educational purposes;
          (2) transfers of property to such organizations shall to the extent then permitted under the statutes of the United States Government, be exempt from gift, succession, inheritance, estate or death taxes (by whatever named cause) imposed by the United States government; and
          (3) such organizations shall, to the extent then permitted under the statutes of the United States government, be exempt from income taxes imposed by the United States government.
     G.   To the extent permitted by law, to exercise its rights, powers and privileges, to hold meetings of the board of directors, to have one or more offices and to keep the books of the corporation in any part of the State of Missouri.
     H.   To do alone or in cooperation with other persons or organizations, any and all lawful acts and things which may be necessary, useful, suitable or proper for the furtherance, accomplishment or attainment of any or all of the purposes or powers of the corporation.
     I.   Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, the literary and educational purposes of the corporation shall at all times be accomplished in a manner consistent with the provision of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, specifically Section 501(c)(3) (or the corresponding provision of any future United State Internal Revenue Law), regarding the activities of exempt organizations.
     J.   The Board shall hire such professional staff and other employees as it may from time to time deem necessary.
     To accomplish this purpose by accepting, holding, investing, reinvesting, and administering any gifts, bequests, devises, benefits of trusts, and property of any sort, without limitation as to amount or value, and to diffuse, disperse, or donate the income or principal thereof for the above stated purposes and by purchase, sale, lease, pledge, hypothecation or any other form of dealing with real or personal property exclusively for the accomplishment of the aforesaid purposes. Provided, however, that the charitable purposes shall at all times be accomplished in a manner consistent with the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, specifically Section 501(c)(3), regarding the activities of exempt organizations.
[    Section 1.    The members of this Corporation shall be as follows: Individual, Family, Contributing, Supporting, Sustaining, Patron, and Benefactor. The levels of contribution associated with each of these categories of member are determined by the Executive Committee.
     Section 2.    The voting members shall be the members of the Board of Directors, both appointed and ex-officio, and each shall be entitled to one vote at any official meeting of the Board.
     Section 3.    The members of the Corporation, as such shall not be liable on its obligations.
     Section 1.    Number and Composition. The Board of Directors shall consist of not fewer than three (3) nor more than twenty-five members. The number of Board members should be determined by consideration by the Board, with reference to the needs of the Center in fulfilling its purposes and carrying out its projects. The immediate Past President of the Board of Directors shall be entitled to a position on the Board as an ex-officio (non-voting) member. Each of the remaining directors of the Board shall be elected by the Board in accordance with the terms of these By-Laws.
     Section 2Terms and Qualifications. The members shall be elected at the March meeting of the Board and shall serve a three-year term. Members may be elected to two subsequent terms, for a total of nine years. Former members may be considered for election after they have been off the Board for at least one year. In the event that the Board shall at any time increase or decrease the number of directors constituting the Board of Directors, then the term or classification of directors shall be as designated by the Board.
     Section 3Regular Meetings. The Board shall hold triennial meetings. The first annual meeting of the calendar year shall be the occasion of the election of officers and of new directors. Participation by means of conference telephone or other communication equipment shall be equivalent to presence in person, and shall count toward the quorum.
     Section 4Special Meetings.  Special meetings of the Board may be called at the request of the President or any two (2) directors. The person or persons calling the special meeting may designate the principal place of business of the corporation or any other acceptable location as the place for holding the special meeting. Notice of the special meeting must be provided at least ten (10) days in advance by written notice or e-mail to every director. A brief statement of the business to be transacted or the purpose of the meeting should be included.
     Section 5Quorum. A quorum consists of a quarter of the full membership present, providing it is either a stated meeting or one that has been properly called.
     Section 6Removal of Board of Directors Members. A member of the Board may be removed by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the Board at a regular meeting or a special meeting called for that purpose. 
     Section 7Vacancies. Any vacancy occurring in the Board, and any directorship to be filled by reason of an increase in the number of directors may be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining directors, though less than a quorum of the Board of Directors. A director elected to fill a vacancy shall be elected for the unexpired term of his or her predecessor in office.
     Section 8Resignations. Any director may resign at any time by giving written notice to the president or to the secretary of the corporation. A director’s resignation shall take effect at the time specified in such notice, and unless otherwise specified therein, the acceptance of such resignation shall not be necessary to make it effective. Any vacancy occurring in the board of directors may be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining directors, though less than a quorum.
     Section 9Compensation. Board of Directors Members, as such, shall not receive any stated salaries for their services. Board of Directors Members shall not be eligible to win any monetary award that is funded and administered in whole or part by the Missouri Center for the Book.
     Section 1Officers. The officers of the corporation shall be a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary and a Treasurer. The Board may elect or appoint such other officers, as it shall deem desirable, such officers to have the authority and perform the duties prescribed from time to time by the Board. Any two (2) or more offices may be held by the same person except the offices of President and Secretary. All officers shall be members of the Board.
     Section 2Election and Term of Office. The officers of the corporation shall be elected annually by the Board of Directors at the March meeting. If the election of officers shall not be held at such meeting, such election shall be held as soon thereafter as practicable. New officers may be created and filled at any meeting of the Board of Directors. Each officer shall hold office until his or her successor shall have been duly elected and shall have qualified. Officers may be elected for three consecutive terms; if the Board wishes to elect an officer for a fourth or subsequent term, for compelling reasons, that election must be preceded by a motion to suspend the rule, which must pass by a three-fourths majority of the Board.
     Section 3Removal. Any officer elected or appointed by the Board may be removed by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board whenever in its judgment the best interest of the corporation would be served thereby.
     Section 4Vacancies. A vacancy in any office because of the death, resignation, removal, disqualification or otherwise, may be filled by the Board for the unexpired portion of the term.
     Section 5President. The President shall be the principal executive officer of the corporation and shall execute the directions of the Board and the Executive Committee concerning all of the business and affairs of the organization. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Board and of the Executive Committee. The President may sign, with the Secretary or any other proper officer of the corporation authorized by the Board, any documents or other instruments which the Board has authorized to be executed, except in cases where the signing and execution thereof shall be expressly delegated by the Board or by these By-Laws or by statute to some other officer or agent of the corporation; and in general the President shall perform all duties incident to the office of President and such other duties as may be prescribed by the Board of Directors from time to time.
     Section 6Vice-President. In the absence of the President or in the event of his or her inability or refusal to act, the Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President, and when so acting, shall have all the powers of and be subject to all the restrictions upon the President. The Vice-President shall be a member of the Executive Committee and shall perform such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to him by the President, the Board of Directors or the Executive Committee.
     Section 7Treasurer. The Treasurer shall give a bond for the faithful performance of his or her duties in such sums and with such companies as the Board shall approve and shall be responsible for all funds and securities of the corporation; receive and give receipts for monies due and payable to the corporation from any source whatsoever; deposit all such money in the name of the corporation in such banks, trust companies or other depositories as shall be selected by the Board; and in general perform all duties incident to the office of the Treasurer and such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to him by the President, the Board of Directors or by the Executive Committee.
     Section 8Secretary. The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee in one or more books provided for that purpose; see that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provision of the By-Laws or as required by law; be responsible for the corporate records and the seal of the corporation and see that the seal of the corporation is affixed to all documents, the execution of which on behalf of the corporation under its seal is duly authorized in accordance with the provisions of these By-Laws; keep a register of the Post Office address of each directors which shall be furnished to the Secretary by such directors; and in general perform all duties incident to the office of the Secretary and such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to him or her by the President, Board of Directors or the Executive Committee.
     Section 1. The Executive Committee will be comprised of five (5) members including the permanent coordinator. The immediate past President of the board shall serve as an ex-officio (non-voting) member of the Executive Committee. The President shall serve as Chairman. Three (3) members shall constitute a quorum. The majority vote by those present and voting at any meeting of the Executive Committee shall constitute the action of the Executive Committee.
     Section 2. The Executive Committee shall exercise the powers of the Board in the interim between Board meetings except that the Executive Committee shall not have the authority of the Board of Directors in reference to amending, altering or repealing the By-Laws; removing any director or officer of the corporation; amending the Articles of Incorporation; adopting a plan of merger or of consolidation with another corporation; authorizing the sale, lease, exchange or mortgage of all or substantially all of the assets of the corporation; authorizing the voluntary dissolution of the corporation or revoking proceedings therefore or adopting a plan for the distribution of the assets of the corporation.
     Section 3Vacancies. The President shall fill any vacancies on the Executive Committee by appointing a member of the Board until his or her successor is installed for any unexpired term in office at the next regular Board meeting.
ARTICLE VII – Continuing Committees and Special Committees
     Section 1. The President shall appoint and supervise four regular or standing committees to assure that the ongoing and essential work of the Center for the Book will receive the continuing and responsible attention of the committee members. These committees–Nominating Committee, Events and Publicity Committee, Fundraising and Grants Committee, and Poet Laureate Committee–shall be responsible for the activities designated in their charges.
Section  2. The Continuing Committees should include not fewer than three (3) members, with the President and Coordinator as non-voting ex-officio members. 
Section 3. Nominating Committee: seeks nominations from Board members for new directors and for officers of the Board; accepts nominations from the Board about gaps that need filling; reviews the qualifications of nominees, providing information to the nominees about the expectations of Board membership as well as background information about the nominees to the members of the Board; schedules and supervises the election of both officers and new Board members; assures that new members are fully informed about the activities and responsibilities of Board members.
Section 4. Events and Publicity Committee: plans public events to be sponsored by the Center, including the Celebrations of the book and other events that might contribute to the mission of the Center; makes Center activities and purposes visible in various parts of the state; explores various methods (incorporating all media, old and new), to increase public awareness of the Center’s activities and the events it offers.
Section 5. Fundraising and Grants Committee: seeks financial support from private individuals, businesses or corporations, or other entities that might contribute to the work of the Center; oversees grant writing (and final reports on those grants) with the help of the Coordinator.
Section 6. Poet Laureate Committee: participates in the selection of the poet laureate (as specified in the Executive Order issued by Governor Nixon); keeps track of the Poet Laureate’s activities and finances; helps to promote awareness of the Poet Laureate as a public representative of the Center’s primary goals and mission.
Section 7. Other Committees: The Board of Directors may establish special committees, composed of Board members and including persons not members of the Board, where specific tasks or goals make such committees desirable. Committees should be provided clear charges in writing, stating the purpose and expected activities of the committee, as well as timelines where appropriate. The President shall appoint members of the committees, and shall serve, along with the Coordinator, as ex-officio (non-voting) members of the committee. 
      Section 8Term of Office. Each member of the committee shall continue as such for the term designated by the Board or if none is designated until the next regular meeting of the Board and until his or her successor is appointed, unless the committee shall be sooner terminated, or unless such member shall be removed from such committee, or unless such member shall cease to qualify as a member thereof.
     Section 9Chairperson.  One (1) member of each committee shall be appointed Chairman by the person or persons authorized to appoint the members thereof.
     Section 10Vacancies. Vacancies in the membership of any committee shall be filled by appointments made in the same manner as provided in the case of the original appointments.
     Section 11Quorum. Unless otherwise provided in the resolution of the Board of Directors designating a committee, a majority of the whole committee shall constitute a quorum and the act of a majority of the members present at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the committee.
     Section 12Rules. Each committee may adopt rules for its own government not inconsistent with these By-Laws or any rules adopted by the Board of Directors.
     Section 1Contracts. The Board President shall have the authority to enter into any contract or execute and deliver any instrument in the name of and on behalf of the corporation, and such authority may be general or confined to specific instances.
     Section 2Checks, Drafts, Etc. All checks, drafts or orders for the payment of money, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued in the name of the corporation, shall be signed by such officer or officers, agent or agents of the corporation and in such manner as shall from time to time be determined by resolution of the Board. In the absence of such determination by the Board, such instrument shall be signed by the Treasurer and countersigned by the President or Vice-President of the corporation.
     Section 3Deposits. All funds of the corporation shall be deposited from time to time to the credit of the corporation in such banks, trust companies or other depositories as the Board may select.
     Section 4Gifts. The Board may accept on behalf of the corporation any contribution, gift, bequest or devise for the general purpose or for any special purpose of the corporation.
     The corporation shall keep correct and complete books and records of account and shall also keep minutes of the proceedings of the Board and Executive Committee at its registered or principal office. All books and records of the corporation may be inspected by any director, or his or her agent or attorney, for any proper purpose at any reasonable time. The Board shall also keep a corporate seal which shall be in the form of a circle and shall have inscribed thereon the name of the corporation and the words, “Corporate Seal, Missouri.”
     Section 1Waiver of Notice. Whenever any notice whatsoever is required to be given under the provisions of these By-Laws or under the provisions of the Articles of Incorporation or under the provisions of the General Not-For-Profit Corporation Act of Missouri, waiver thereof in writing, signed by the person or persons entitled to such notice, whether before or after the time stated therein, shall be deemed equivalent to the given of such notice.
     Section 2Action in Lieu of Meeting. Any action required to be or that may be taken at a meeting of the Board or any committee designated by the Board may be taken without a meeting if consent in writing setting forth the actions so taken shall be signed by all the persons entitled to vote with respect to the subject matter thereof. Any such consent signed by such person shall have the same effect as a unanimous vote and may be stated as such in any document describing the action taken by the Board of Directors or such committee.
     Section 1. To the full extent permitted by law, the corporation shall indemnify and hold harmless any person, and his or her heirs, executors and administrators, made or threatened to be made a party to any action or proceeding, whether civil or criminal (including an action by or in the right of or otherwise involving any other corporation, partnership or entity of any type or kind, domestic or foreign, which any director or officer of the corporation served in any capacity at the request of the corporation), by reason of the fact that he or she is or was a director or officer of the corporation, or served such other corporation, partnership or entity in any capacity as aforesaid, against judgments, fines, amounts paid in settlement and reasonable expenses, including attorneys’ fees actually and necessarily incurred in connection with the defense of or as a result of such action or proceeding, or any appeal therein. Nothing contained in this Article shall be deemed to limit or in any way affect any rights to indemnification to which corporate personnel other than directors and officers may be entitled by contract or otherwise under the law.
     Section 2. The corporation shall have the right to purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the corporation protecting him or her against any liability while serving as such for this corporation or at this corporation’s request for any other corporation, whether or not this corporation has the right to indemnify such person under the provisions of laws.
     These By-laws may be altered, amended, or repealed and new by-laws may be adopted by a majority of the directors present at any regular or any special meeting; provided, however, that all directors shall be sent a copy of the relevant sections of the existing By-laws and of any proposed changes at least ten (10) days before the meeting at which the same shall be voted upon. No amendment of the bylaws, however, may occur if such amendment would jeopardize the tax exempt status of the corporation.
     The corporation will not have or issue shares of stock. No dividends will be paid. No part of the income or assets to the corporation will be distributed to its members, directors, or officers without full consideration. No member, officer, or director of the corporation has any vested right, interest, or privilege in or to the assets, property, functions, or activities of the corporation. The corporation may contract in due course with its members, directors, and officers without violating this provision.
     The fiscal year of the corporation shall be selected by the Board of Directors of the corporation.


Missouri Center for the Book

Timeline of Events


The Missouri Center for the Book celebrates Missouri’s literary heritage and promotes the vital role of books and reading in the cultural life of the state.



  • Center for the Book in the Library of Congress approved a proposal for the establishment of a Missouri Center for the Book. Governor Mel Carnahan issued a press release about the Center’s establishment, noting that First Lady Jean Carnahan would serve as honorary chair of the Center. Missouri was the 28th state to establish a Center for the Book. Articles of incorporation were approved for the Missouri Center for the Book on September 20, 1993.


  • The Inaugural Gala: “Missouri Authors Recognition Day” took place on September 23, 2003, at the Missouri State Capitol. This event attracted more than 200 authors, featured readings, an author roll-call, an exhibit of books by Missouri authors in the House Lounge, and a reception for authors and guests at the Governor’s Mansion. Attendance numbered more than 300. No such comparable event had ever been held in the state.


  • Missouri Authors Collection: The collection was established shortly before the inaugural event when authors were asked to donate a book to the Missouri Center. Many of these books have been autographed by the authors. The University of Missouri Press also donated 60 books to the collection. Housed at the Missouri State Library, the collection now includes approximately 1,000 volumes.


  • Compilation of the Missouri Community of the Book, was also begun in 1993. The author database of the state’s living authors, includes the author’s genre, contact information (when provided), a list of the author’s works, and the author’s preferences regarding speaking engagements and travel. A survey of the state’s bookstores, publishers,  and literary organizations was also begun at this time, with the intention of including that information in the same database.


  • Bylaws were developed in consultation with a representative from the Attorney General’s Office.



  • An advanced graphics class at the University of Missouri School of Journalism agreed to work with the Missouri Center on the development of a logo. The teacher, Dr. Birgit Wassmuth, was a nationally known graphic arts specialist.


  • Missouri Center received a $5,000 grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation to develop projects or publications for promotion of Missouri’s literary heritage and half of the project funds were used to print a poster listing more than 400 Missouri authors and to design and produce a Missouri authors t-shirt for sale at conferences and exhibits.  The poster was distributed to all Missouri libraries and schools.



  • Application for nonprofit status submitted to the Internal Revenue Service.


  • Co-sponsored (with the Missouri Humanities Council) a grant from the National Book Foundation (NBF) to conduct book discussion programs in five Missouri public libraries. This project was part of the NBF’s “Writing Life” series and focused on family issues.



  • Internal Revenue Service approved Missouri Center’s application for nonprofit status.


  • Missouri Center sponsored an exhibit on censorship, “The Bonfires of Liberties,” at the State Capitol from October to December.


  • Writing and research for Missouri’s Literary Heritage by Dr. Thomas F. Dillingham, Rebecca Schroeder, and Madeline Matson. The Missouri Division of Tourism collaborated with the Missouri Center on this project by contributing $5,000 for artwork from its advertising agency.


  • Three logos from Dr. Wassmuth’s class presented to the Missouri Center board. The winning design was created by Brooke Vangel, daughter of the principals of the Vangel advertising agency in Columbia.


  • Demonstration of the Missouri Center’s pilot author database debuted at the Missouri Library Association annual conference.


  • Missouri author t-shirts, mugs, and canvas bags featuring the Missouri Center’s logo produced for sale at literary and library events.



  • Completion of Missouri’s Literary Heritage, a 36-page booklet describing the state’s literary tradition from early settlement days to the present and including 60 photos of authors and literary sites. Generous grants from a number of state organizations enabled the Missouri Center to print 7,500 booklets. The booklets were distributed to the seven state tourism centers and to libraries, bookstores, authors, and schools.


  • Sponsored student essay contest for “Thomas Jefferson Days” in Jefferson City middle schools.


  • First Celebration of the Book was held in November. The two-day program encompassed lectures, panels, workshops, demonstrations, storytelling, readings, and book signings. It featured 65 Missouri authors (or those with ties to Missouri) and the involvement of 10 Columbia businesses. Total attendance was approximately 300, with an additional 200 participating in the downtown “Author Walk.”



  • All-board retreat held in January.


  • Popularity of Missouri’s Literary Heritage resulted in an additional printing of 10,000 copies, with costs shared by the Missouri Center and the Missouri Division of Tourism.


  • General brochure produced detailing the Missouri Center’s mission and activities.


  • Co-sponsored (with the University of Missouri School of Journalism) “An Evening with Mary Kay Blakely” (author and founding editor of Ms. magazine) in October. Theme was “The Art of Memoir Writing.” 



  • Co-sponsored (with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress) the Midwest “launch” of the Favorite Poem Project in St. Louis. The Missouri Center was one of five centers for the book to work on this project, which was poet laureate Robert Pinsky’s national outreach effort. Thirteen Missourians, including the mayor of St. Louis, read their favorite poems and were videotaped for the Library of Congress archives. The Center worked with the Creative Writing Program at Washington University to select readers and to publicize the event, which attracted an audience of 125.


  • Second Celebration of the Book was held in April with the theme “The Literary v. The Commercial: Books & Bucks.” Keynote speakers included Jane Smiley and Paul Nagel. Thirty-five authors, editors, publishers, and bookstore owners served on eight panels or made special presentations during the two-day event. Attendance topped 500.


  • First issue of BookMarks, the Center’s newsletter, published.


  • Missouri Center’s website debuted. Three years in the making, the website offers detailed information on more than 400 resident authors as well as Missouri publishers, literary organizations, and bookstores. Also included are links to other book-related sites, a listing of Missouri newspapers, the full text of Missouri’s Literary Heritage, and general information about the Center. The website has been praised by the national Center for the Book for its comprehensiveness.



  • Missouri Center received the Daniel Boorstin State Award of $5,000 in recognition of its programming and collaborative efforts. Award conferred at the annual meeting of state centers for the book at the Library of Congress.


  • Third Celebration of the Book was held in November with the theme “Books & Bytes: The Future of the Book.” Key presenters included authors Sven Birkerts and Clifton Taulbert, NPR book reviewer Alan Cheuse, and library visionary Clifford Lynch. Six panels featured Missouri authors who discussed how technology affects writers, archivists, book publishers, booksellers, and libraries. The Celebration also featured an exhibit by Missouri publishers, book signings, and an evening of readings by 12 Missouri authors. Attendance numbered 250.



  • Revision of the Missouri Center’s general brochure and development of a bookmark.


  • Through an anonymous donation, the Center embarked on a five-year compilation of winning letters from the state Letters About Literature contest.


  • Increased the Missouri Authors Collection through efforts of board members.


  • Fourth Celebration of the Book—“Meet Missouri Authors”—was held in November and included several components: a book fair featuring 100+ Missouri authors and nine author “conversations” (panels) on biographical and historical writing, mystery, science fiction, local history, sports writing, romance, translation, and Missouri’s literary journals. A special lecture and book signing by Calvin Trillin concluded the Celebration along with a reception sponsored by the University of Missouri chancellor. The Celebration attracted 450 attendees.



  • Books Change Lives, a 78-page book of student contributions from the state Letters About Literature contest, was published in the spring with financing from an anonymous donor. The book was distributed to all public libraries in the state, to the students and their teachers, and to school libraries at the students’ schools. This book became a model for other state centers.


  • The Missouri Center president and other board members researched and prepared background materials on state poet laureate programs. The Center was the lead organization for the planning of this project. However, this project is at a standstill.


  • The Missouri Center’s website was moved to the Columbia Online Information Network (COIN), a community information network.



  • Poetry in Missouri Public Libraries—a one-day conference held in March and conducted by staff from the Poets House in New York City. The Missouri Center sponsored this conference with the Missouri State Library. Also involved as a key presenter was a Missouri poet who served on the Center’s board of directors. Several other Center board members and the coordinator consulted on the project and made presentations at the conference.


  • The Missouri Center’s board initiated a membership drive, with a selection of Missouri literary journals as a membership “hook.” Editors from five literary magazines donated current back copies for this project. A board member designed a membership flyer, which was distributed at conferences, arts festivals, and other events.


  • Fifth Celebration of the Book—“Missouri Authors Read” featured 13 distinguished authors from all parts of the state who presented readings every half hour during the day. The Celebration was held in November at a coffee house/cultural center, which was well suited to the program format. Attendance ranged from 150 to 200 throughout the day.



  • Why I Read Statewide Poetry Contest—This statewide contest was extensively promoted in print and online during one month in the summer. The contest drew more than 300 entries, some of which were compiled into a 24-page chapbook, Missourians Write About Reading, for distribution at the book festival and to Missouri public libraries. Contest judges were three Missouri Center board members (two well-known poets and a professor of English). The winning poet received an all-expense-paid trip to the National Book Festival.


  • Board members and MCB coordinator developed a series of bookmarks featuring Missouri authors that were distributed at the Second National Book Festival. Categories included fiction, nonfiction, poetry, state history, folklore, biography, and children’s literature. The State Library financed the printing of these bookmarks.


  • The State Librarian, MCB coordinator, and a State Library staff member (a former MCB board member) staffed the Missouri exhibit at the Second National Book Festival. Missouri’s exhibit was “content rich” compared to other states’ exhibits.



  • The Missouri Center inaugurated a new electronic project, Missouri Author E-views,” on the Web. Each month, a different author is interviewed by a board member or someone familiar with a particular author’s work. The interviews are published on the Center’s website along with a photo of the author and a listing of his/her works.


  • Sixth Celebration of the Book, was held in St. Louis with the co-sponsorship of St. Louis Public Library. Eight Missouri authors read from their works, answered questions from the audience, and signed books. More than 500 people attended the event.


  • The Missouri Center’s general brochure was redesigned into a large bookmark.



  • To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Missouri Center for the Book, two author celebrations were held in September and November. The Kansas City Public Library cosponsored an author celebration that featured ten Missouri authors and was held in conjunction with the annual Thorpe Menn awards luncheon and the Maple Woods Community College Writers’ & Readers’ Conference.  The St. Louis Public Library cosponsored the other author celebration, where eight authors read from their works and signed books for the audience at the Schlafly branch location.


  • The Center staffed the Missouri exhibit at the 2004 National Book Festival in Washington D.C. The State Library invited a St. Louis area public library director to attend and promote Missouri’s various “one book” programs at the exhibit. The MCB coordinator and vice president also attended. Materials promoting Missouri’s libraries, authors, and literacy efforts were distributed to the thousands who participated.





  • Since 1995, 11,987 students have participated in Missouri’s Letters About Literature contest.


  • Throughout the years, board members have staffed exhibits at annual conferences of the Missouri Library Association, Missouri Association of School Librarians, Missouri Folklore Society, and at the Columbia Festival of the Arts.


  • The Missouri Center’s Web site averages more than 15,000 “hits” per month.


  • The Missouri Center continues to co-sponsor the Missouri Heritage Readers, a series of books for adult new readers published by the University of Missouri Press. To date, more than 50,000 books in the 19-book series have been sold.


  • Over two hundred authors have participated in the Missouri Center’s programs during this 11-year period (This does not include the authors who participated in the inaugural event).




*Original timeline prepared by Madeline Matson

Mission Statement

The mission of the Missouri Center for the Book mirrors that of the National Center of the Book, “promote books, authors, and the larger community of the book." It is a statewide organization that promotes the importance of books and reading to Missouri residents, celebrates the state’s literary heritage, and recognizes the contributions of Missouri’s authors, book illustrators, booksellers, publishers, librarians, and others involved in the literary arts.  


The Missouri Author Collection


The Missouri Author Collection includes books published by writers living in Missouri at the time of publication.  Books submitted for inclusion in the collection must be commercially published and must  be approved by the board or a subcommittee of the board.  Due to lack of space in the collection, only representative works for each author will be included.