Bad news for North Carolina book lovers: the N.C. Festival of the Book, which was to take place in Chapel Hill this coming spring, is probably not going to happen.
"We took a really hard look at this in the context of our priorities and our budget for 2008, and we certainly wouldn't be planning to do anything next year at this point," said Judith Panitch, director of library communications at UNC.
Although the initial reaction for many was to point an angry finger, some colleagues admit that UNC is not fully to blame.
"It's a very major event to organize," said Deborah Jakubs, the Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway university librarian and vice provost for library affairs at Duke. "It takes well over a year to really get it together to do it right. The reservations of the people at UNC are not based on any lack of appreciation for what a fabulous event it is or any lack of commitment to it. It's really been a question of timing."
This thing happens every other year in one of three locations (Duke, UNC, NC State) yet they can't put together enough time, money, and resources to stage it? This is pathetic, especially for an area of the country that wants to pride itself on its literary culture. It may be time for book lovers in the Triangle to come up with a plan to stage a book festival which won't be run by the universities and their budget-strapped libraries.