Off The Board

Tomorrow I attend my last meeting as a regular member of the Board of Trustees of the Ohioana Library Association.  I’ve been a member of the Board for more than 20 years.

During that time Ohioana has morphed from an obscure archival organization crammed into ridiculously inadequate space into a vibrant, active member of the central Ohio and state arts community.  We’ve navigated the rocky waters of budgeting, mounted a first-ever capital campaign, partnered with WOSU TV and radio to develop some very cool programming, introduced and changed a website, and rolled out great new events like the Ohioana Book Festival.  It’s been very satisfying to see this wonderful piece of Ohio culture and history grow and evolve as it has, and to play a small part in that process.

I thought having long-time Board members was a good thing that showed commitment, but my perception was jarred a bit during a Board retreat some months ago.  (And after all, isn’t the purpose of a retreat to challenge perceptions?)  Our facilitator, who was terrific, noted that many Boards have term limits to make sure that new ideas and viewpoints are always represented.  That concept made sense to me, and I told Board leadership that it was time for me to step aside — and now that time has come.

I was recruited to the Ohioana Board by a female partner at our firm who was one of a long line of Vorys lawyers who had served.  I’m glad she reached out to me, because otherwise I probably never would have heard of Ohioana, or had a chance to get to know the great people who have worked so hard at Ohioana, my fellow Board members from across the Buckeye State, and the volunteers, authors, and artists who have helped to make Ohioana events such memorable ones.  Being a Board member on a charitable organization requires dedication and hard work, but it is rewarding.  I’m glad I did it.

Our firm will continue to be represented on the Ohioana Board by a new, energetic lawyer whom I’ll call Young Buck.  He’ll be a great addition.

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Books, Books, Authors, Food Trucks, Books

Get out your calendars, your book bags, and your wallets. The 2014 Ohioana Book Festival is less than a month away.

IMG_3700This year’s festival will be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center in downtown Columbus. The doors will open at 10 a.m. and close at 4:30, and in between the readers among us will be able to browse through a wide array of books, meet authors, listen to writers talk about their craft, and enjoy an interesting assortment of food trucks when their physical hunger overwhelms their intellectual curiosity. You can keep track of the authors, and the Festival schedule, here.

If you’re interested in volunteering at the Festival, you can information about available positions and activities here. Book festival volunteers will receive a cool Ohioana Book Festival t-shirt, as well as the undying gratitude of Ohioana staffers and Board members.

Learning About The House That Chic (And Howard) Built

Ohio Stadium, also known as the Horseshoe, is one of the most famous football stadiums in the land.  But who built that cavernous concrete edifice on the banks of the Olentangy River — literally and figuratively?

IMG_1827If you are a Buckeyes fan, you probably know the name of the figurative architect.  It’s Charles William “Chic” Harley, the great player who put Ohio State on the national gridiron map and started the quasi-religion that is Ohio State football.  Harley could run, pass, punt, and kick field goals and extra points, and he led Ohio State to its first undefeated season in 1916.  With Harley leading the way, Ohio State football became so popular that the Buckeyes outgrew their existing field and needed to look at a new — and much larger — home.

Which brings us to the literal architect, whose name was Howard Dwight Smith.  He not only designed Ohio Stadium, and won a gold medal for public building design from the American Institute of Architects in the process, he also oversaw the construction of St. John Arena and French Field House, which are other, well-known campus landmarks.

Want to learn more about these two legends of the Ohio State campus?  You can get ready for the Ohio State football season by signing up for a timely On the Road with Ohioana presentation on August 17.  The program will feature a tour of these and other campus landmarks, including the newly restored William Oxley Thompson Library, as well as remarks from OSU professor emeritus Raimond Goerler and Columbus Dispatch sportswriter Bob Hunter, the author of Chic and other books about Ohio State.  I’m pumped about the chance to learn a little bit more about my alma mater and my team and to support the Ohioana Library Association in the process.  If you’re interested in joining me, you can sign up here.  At only $35 for a four-hour tour and program, it’s a real Buckeye Bargain!

Ohioana Book Festival

I promised to post something about the 2013 Ohioana Book Festival last Saturday, and I’ve been remiss.

IMG_3700The Festival keeps getting bigger and better.  Having stood behind a table at the front entrance to the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center for four hours, giving away Ohioana quarterlies and pencils to visitors and hawking $5 Ohioana coffee mugs and tote bags — and thanks to every book lover who was gracious enough to accept my spiel and pony up a fiver, by the way — I can say with confidence that there were a lot of people there.   Positioned as I was directly across from the book-buying check-out line, I can also say that many books were being sold.

There were families and reading friends, would-be authors and genre fans.  At times, during the interim periods after one set of panel discussions ended and before the next began, the authors’ table area was jammed.  The picture above, taken from my table near the entrance, gives you some idea of the crowd.

Everyone I spoke to was enjoying the Festival and was glad they came.  Next year, maybe you can join us?

The Books, Authors, And Food Trucks Roundelay

If you’re in Columbus on Saturday and looking for something fun to do, why not stop by the Ohioana Book Festival?

The Festival runs from 10 to 4:30 at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center in downtown Columbus.  There will be interesting panel discussions, presentations by authors, and a day-long book fair and book sales.  A PDF of the program for the Festival is here.

Oh, yes . . . there will be food trucks, too:  Ajumama, which serves up some very sweet Korean street food; the Green Meanie, which dishes out an ever-changing menu of eclectic choices; Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, with its irresistible and stunningly creative options; Mikeys Late Night Slice, for the devoted pizza aficionados among us (and who isn’t, by the way); and the Short North Bagel Deli, for those craving bagels and deli sandwiches.

The awesome collection of food trucks strongly suggests a rhythm and roundelay to the day.  Grab a bagel, catch a panel discussion provocatively entitled Crime, True Crime, and the Unexplained, browse for books.  Savor some Korean chow, talk to some authors, check out a panel discussion on eating out in Cleveland.  And speaking of eating . . . Repeat, and repeat.  There are great choices on both the panel discussion and food truck fronts.

I’ll be there when the Festival doors open, volunteering for the Ohioana Library Association.  Stop by and say hello!

Big Book Buff Bulletin!

If you’re a bibliophile — and what rational person isn’t? — mark your calendars for Saturday, May 11, 2013, when the Ohioana Book Festival returns to the Fort Hayes campus in downtown Columbus.

IMG_3362This year, the Festival features a great list of featured authors from the Buckeye state, as well as dozens of different festival authors, poets, and artists who will be participating in the activities.  Once again, the Festival will confirm the remarkable depth and breadth of talent to be found in this little corner of the world.  And although the program schedule has yet to be announced, you can be sure that there will be interesting presentations by authors, thought-provoking panel discussions, and some quirky moments leavened with humor — because that’s what you tend to get when you bring together highly creative people.

I’ll be volunteering at the Festival again this year.  Last year, I was an “information volunteer,” which gave me a chance to harangue incoming guests are some of the great events.  If you’re interested in volunteering, you can find more information here.

I hope to see some of our readers and friends at the 2013 Ohioana Book Festival!

In The Statehouse Basement

Tonight the Ohioana Library Association presented the annual Ohioana Awards.  This year the ceremony was in the vaulted basement of the Ohio Statehouse, an interesting old building that is full of nooks and crannies.  The backdrop to our ceremony was the darkened Statehouse Museum, with a very cool backlit depiction of the Great Seal of Ohio.

There was a great crop of Ohioana Award winners this year, and as usual it was particularly interesting to hear writers talk about their craft.  These days our state may be known to the nation as “Battleground Ohio,” but at its soul Ohio is a quirky, creative place that is home to many fine writers, poets, and artists.  It’s nice to see that reality affirmed every once in a while.

Congratulations to all of the winners of this years Ohioana Awards!