Day 5 of the Princeton University Press Week Blog Tour is already underway, but we thought Day 4 was a particularly exciting day on the tour (and not just because Princeton University Press’s scheduled slot kicked things off!). We posted an insightful Q&A with local bookstore owner, Dorothea von Moltke. Labyrinth Books is a fixture in Princeton, NJ, and they have been true supporters and partners for the types of books and authors university presses publish. We are grateful she agreed to participate in the festivities surrounding University Press Week this year, though truly, every week seems to be University Press Week in her store.
The next leg of the tour took us to Indiana University Press where former intern Nico Perrino, made a case for university presses as an essential cog in the “Sophistication Machine”:
Just as actors need a stage to put on a performance and a factory needs a loading dock to send customers their widgets, scholars and researchers need these university presses to disseminate their research to students, politicians, and other scholars and scientists who depend on their work to innovate and push the endless quest for knowledge forward.
Fordham University Press Director Fredric Nachbaur describes one of the critically important ways university presses impact the world around us. Whenever something unexpected occurs in the world — it doesn’t always have to be a disaster, but conceivably could be something really positive as well — the media turn to university press resources, books, and authors to explain what is happening, what history led to this moment, and what it means for the future.
Witnessing all the damage caused by Sandy has me feeling a melancholy. I was born and raised in New Jersey and spent many summers “down the shore.” In recent summers I have taken my daughter to some of the same beaches I enjoyed as a kid. I’ve been a New Yorker since 1991 and am a regular visitor to Coney Island, and lived for a short time in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It is quite devastating to see all the massive destruction done to our great city and state and to our neighbors in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. As I was preparing to write my post for University Press Week, I reflected on how university presses have bonded together in the past during times of tragedy to help us all understand what is happening at the moment and how we can move forward. “Books for Understanding” was developed by the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) soon after 9/11 to bring the latest and most valuable scholarship to readers in an easy to find and easy to use place. The AAUP instantly became a resource for people who wanted to know more and to find it from reliable sources—University Presses—the pillars of knowledge. The day after hurricane Sandy hit, a reporter from the Huffington Post contacted me about a Fordham University Press (FUP) author who wrote a history of the NYC subways. She wanted to interview him about the flooding of the tunnels and the mass transit shutdown. It is a prime example of how the media turns to university presses for expertise during times of crisis.
Texas A&M University Press author Loren Steffy reflects on his family’s relationship with TAMU Press. Both he and his father are authors, and neither of their stories could have been told anywhere else, according to Steffy. He also provides a lovely take-away thought, “The value of a university press, like an ancient shipwreck, can’t be measured in dollars or commercial success.”
Jacqueline Beilhart, the publicist at Georgetown University Press, explores the unique role university press’s have in language teaching. Prompted by Nina Ayoub’s observation that university presses offer a lot of books in Less Commonly Taught Languages. She also helpfully provides a complete list of the offerings from university presses, including our own Princeton Language Program: Modern Chinese (http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/series/plpmc.html)
For a complete schedule of the tour, click here.