As policy appears to be stymied by the sharp rise in covid infections, an important move to sue the flagship University of Arkansas campus as a book-publishing mecca for the state was announced on last week.
As the University of Arkansas Press has published hundreds of books, catalogs, and journals since its inception in 1980 as an editorial arm of the university, a major donation has been announced that will have a significant impact on the future of UA Press titles.
The University of Arkansas Press was supposed to be celebrated last year but, with the covid outbreak, it extended its original 40th anniversary and will soon convert all of its titles to digital format while relying on its publications. artistic.
How did it all happen?
Take inspiration from the Springdale-based Tyson Family Foundation. According to a recent announcement, the foundation will provide a grant of $ 300,000 to support this AU press work.
While the pact was announced, it received little publicity in the NWA, but across the country several larger and more prestigious university presses sat down and took notice.
The foundation grant will establish the “Tyson Digital Library Fund” and the “Tyson Arts Publications Fund”, supporting the Press Division of Research and Innovation, according to the announcement of the pact.
And what a gift it will be for the preservation of all that has been written about Arkansas and in particular some of the most important books published by UA Press since its founding in 1980.
According to the Tyson Family Foundation statement, UA Press’s legacy of commitment and giving has once again been celebrated.
As many will remember locally, the Tysons have been involved since the initial founding of UA Press, but were certainly present when UA Press was threatened with closure by a previous chancellor. Part of the end of that effort was that the Tyson family stepped in with funding to ensure that book publishing continued on the Fayetteville campus.
“My family has proudly supported UA Press for over 20 years, a legacy that we are proud to carry on through artistic publications and digital initiatives,” said Olivia Tyson, President of the Tyson Family Foundation, in a written statement announcing the Don. .
The $ 300,000 giveaway may look pale compared to other dietary initiatives from protein supplier Springdale; however, the amount will certainly have a direct impact on UA Press for perhaps another four decades.
The Tyson Digital Library Fund will be used to recoup past investments in digital book technology, including converting approximately 300 titles to eBooks.
UA Press will also use the money for an ongoing investment in digital book technology, including the conversion of remaining titles in its catalog.
“For decades, my family have been proud to be a part of this legacy and continue to support them through this gift. Personally, I am honored to support our vital and vibrant literary community, and UA Press is proof that creativity and the arts thrive here in Northwest Arkansas, ”Tyson added.
The donation will continue a plan started by Mike Bieker, director and editor of the University of Arkansas Press.
The Tyson Art Publications Fund comprises the remainder of the grant and will support books on the Press Art List, with an emphasis on books written or to which Tyson Scholars have contributed. These scholars are doctoral students or equivalents, post-doctoral researchers, and senior scholars who are part of the Tyson Scholars of American Art Program, established in 2012 by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Since its creation, 46 researchers have been appointed.
The press regularly publishes about 20 books a year, Bieker said. It’s about 800 books, and almost all of them are still in print. New publications are available in digital and print format. He also publishes audiobooks.
Over the next three to five years, Bieker plans to continue working with AU Libraries, especially in low-cost, open-access educational resources for students. He is also looking to improve his online store and develop customer relationships.
Another goal is to expand its regional roster, and the press is making plans to publish smaller nature books, Native American poetry, and good works on Arkansas history.
Good news for the UA Press and the book publishing company on the flagship campus.
– Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several Northwest Arkansas publications. He can be contacted by email at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.