The Center

The Center for Children's Literature and Culture is an interdisciplinary center based in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida. Members of the Center include faculty and researchers from the University community; teachers, librarians, media specialists, and others working directly with children; and artists and writers creating works for children in print and other media.

Our purpose is to encourage the exploration of this vital area of our cultural life through scholarly and critical investigations; through meetings, symposia, and seminars; and through the development of innovative ways to make the research and concerns of our members and outside scholars available to the general public.

One of the key resources in our endeavors is the Baldwin Collection of Historical Children's Literature, consisting of nearly 100,000 volumes, housed in the University of Florida's Special Collections. The Baldwin Library is one of the leading historical collections of children's literature in the country -- indeed, in the world. The Center is committed to working in close cooperation with the Baldwin Library to help raise public awareness of the contents of this remarkable collection.

John Cech, Director
Rita Smith, Associate Director
Kenneth Kidd, Associate Director

Current and Future Projects for the Center include

  • "Recess!" - a daily radio program of reviews, historical and biographical notes, commentaries, interviews, and sound essays that explores the dynamic cultures of childhood. The program is provided free of charge each moth via cd or satellite uplink to the nearly 500 interlinked public radio stations across the country. To date, over 1300 shows have been aired.
  • "Transforming Encounters II: Children and Science, Imagination and Inquiry" a colloquium to explore a range of innovative approaches, new and traditional, historical and contemporary, for bringing science into children's lives, sponsored by the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of English, and France Florida Research Institute. Other participants include the Florida Museum of Natural History, the University of Florida's College of Education, The Alachua County Library District, The Alachua County Schools and The Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature The conference is is scheduled for February 18-19, 2005, at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Please see the conference website: for more information. Past conferences include: Transforming Encounters: Children's Libraries Unbound and Children, Culture & Violence: Exploring Myths, Images & Realities
  • The Center will also be co-sponsoring speakers throughout the year, in conjunction with the Alachua County Library District and the Alachua County Reading Council.
  • A series of documentary films based on historical materials from the Baldwin Library of children's literature.
  • An exhibition of the boyhood photographs of the French photographer, Jacques-Henri Lartigue at the Samuel P. Harn Museum, University of Florida.
  • The Center is also one of the sponsors of The Childrenís Culture Study Group (CCSG), a graduate student-run organization at the University of Florida dedicated to the study of childrenís literature and culture. Consisting of both faculty and students, the CCSG provides the unique opportunity to examine the childrenís literature collection located in the Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections at the University of Florida.
    The CCSG meets throughout the semester to discuss topics like Caldecott Medal winners or Little Golden Books as well as popular films or graphic novels. For more information or to join the list-serv, please contact Julie A. Sinn.

"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."
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