Sunday, December 07, 2008
Liberia: A Visit Through Books - what an adventure!
Let me take a moment to share a personal story. It's almost quilt-related! Last year at a book signing for "Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria," I met a remarkable woman, Izetta Roberts Cooper. She is a retired librarian from Liberia. Now, I have a collection of library cards from each city I've lived in (Los Angeles to London) - so talking with her was fascinating!
She mentioned that her master's thesis was on historical books about Liberia. I wanted to read her thesis. Eventually, I was invited to her home, read the report, and thought it should be published for a wider audience - especially given the 14 year civil war in Liberia that destroyed so many books. So, in March of 2008, she and I started meeting about once a month to outline and write what would be a book about her life and her love of books.
Well, her book is now available, Liberia: A Visit Through Books. This 96 page softback includes her thesis as well as a biography of her career as a librarian (she actually worked with Arna Bontemps and she introduced the Dewey Decimal System to the University of Liberia library!). Mrs. Cooper is a career woman (though retired), loving wife, dedicated mom. I was surprised to learn that for two years she hosted and produced a TV show in Liberia called The World of Books. Summaries from various shows are included in the book. We also have an extensive timeline from 1900 - 2008 chock-full of historical events, literary publications, blogs, and films about Liberia.
We published her book via Lulu.com, a site that can print a single-copy of a book once it's purchased. I'm thrilled to have worked with Mrs. Cooper on her book, which has great historical and valuable insights for Liberia. Mrs. Cooper recently celebrated her 79th birthday and can see completing another book! I hope you have a look at her book.
So, how does this tie to quilting? As a quilter, have you thought about how your quilts and your sewing stories will survive in the next 50 or 100 years? If Jennie Smith had not recorded Harriet Powers' words in the 1890s on what motivated her as an artist, would we know Mrs. Powers' deepest creative insights in 2008? Mrs. Cooper's career as a librarian is now recorded. How are you recording YOUR quilts? How would you like to? Do post a comment!