Louisiana State U. Press Will Not Close, Director Says

July 10, 2009

There’s good news from Baton Rouge. Louisiana State University Press will not be forced to close despite the state’s budget troubles.

Mary Katherine Callaway, the press’s director, confirmed in an e-mail message to The Chronicle that the press would live to publish another day. “Yes, it is good news,” she wrote. “We will need to retool several parts of our operation due to the budget cuts, but we’re focused on what we need to do and optimistic about the future.”

That puts an end to two months of deep and widespread anxiety about the press’s fate. Word got out in early May that LSU might cut its subsidy so drastically that the press would have to shut down.

With its reputation for publishing some of the best writing and scholarship from and about the South, the press has many supporters inside academe and in the larger literary community. They rallied to lobby the LSU administration and the state’s governor, Bobby Jindal, to keep the press alive.

The university agreed to appoint a panel of deans to look into ways to save the press. The directors of two other university presses, Douglas A. Armato of the University of Minnesota Press and Arthur M. (Lain) Adkins of Southern Illinois University Press, were scheduled to travel to Louisiana in late June to help with that effort. —Jennifer Howard