March 07, 2016

SIU Press celebrating 60th anniversary

Southern Illinois University Press is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2016 with year-long events to mark more than half a century of publishing regional and scholarly works. 

“It’s a great accomplishment to have succeeded and endured this long in scholarly publishing,” SIU Press Director Barb Martin said. “I think our commitment to scholarship and quality has endured.” 

As part of the 60th anniversary celebration, the press will offer 60 percent off select books across a variety of subjects throughout 2016. Martin said the sales celebrate all of the work SIU Press produces. 

Southern Illinois University President Delyte Morris founded SIU Press in 1956 with Vernon Sternberg as the first press director. Since then, the press has published award-winning books for both scholarly and general readers. The press currently publishes as many as 40 new books each year in multiple disciplines, including archaeology, criminology, film, philosophy, poetry, rhetoric and composition, theater, and American history, particularly the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. 

One area the current director is especially proud to highlight is the publication of works related to the region, including books about the wineries of Southern Illinois, local hiking trails, and regional politics. 

“Having a local and regional focus is incredibly important to us,” she said. “There are presses that focus on the Midwest and on Illinois, but I can’t think of another press that pays attention specifically to Southern Illinois, and we are absolutely filling that niche.” 

Martin, who has been at the press for 17 years, said much of the publishing process has evolved with the times. 

“We’re digital, far more so than when I started,” she said. “How we publish, how we reach our audience, has changed. We probably wouldn’t have survived this long if we hadn’t made those changes.”

Martin hopes Sternberg would be pleased if he could see the press now – though she suspects the famously hard-driving administrator wouldn’t let anyone rest on their laurels. 

“I like to think he’d say, ’You’re doing great; keep up the good work,’ but I also know that he had very high standards. I think he would challenge us and say, ‘You can do better,’ and that’s always our goal as well.” 

The schedule of monthly 60 percent-off sales is as follows:

March: Studies in Rhetoric and Studies in Feminism series

April: Baseball

May: Regional travel guides

June: Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland series

July: Theater

August: Regional history

September: Chicago

October: Illinois politics

November: Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant

December: Press favorites 

Visit and sign up for the SIU Press e-mail list to receive all information about any special offers.