by Angeline Huang Evans
As one of the only community college presses in the nation, and the only one in California, Sierra College Press has been a pioneer in many ways. Established in 2002 to publish Standing Guard, which chronicled the internment of Japanese-Americans in the United States during World War II, the press now has five books under its belt and runs two electronic journals. In November 2010, the press took another step forward by signing a three-year partnership with Heyday Books, which co-published the press's most recent titles, The Illuminated Landscape: A Sierra Nevada Anthology and Tahoe Beneath the Surface. Sierra College Press joins a long list of Heyday partners, which include Santa Clara University, the California State Library, and University of California, Berkeley.
"The outreach of Heyday is nationwide, and really kind of international, too," says Sierra College Press Editor-in-Chief Gary Noy, a history instructor and director of the Sierra College Center for Sierra Nevada Studies. "What we have now is much greater access to authors and opinionmakers and decisionmakers in the publishing world and the academic world. It really broadens our horizons."
Under this new partnership, Sierra College Press will take the lead in acquiring books, including reaching out to authors or proposing content, while Heyday handles production, publicity, and marketing. Not that the roles are limiting—based on their previous collaborations and positive working relationship, they expect to overlap and help each other in all aspects of the process. Heyday's publisher, Malcolm Margolin, first worked with the Sierra College Press on The Illuminated Landscape, which was co-written by his good friend Rick Heide, a friend of the college.
"It was a wonderful kind of collaboration between them and between us in the doing of the book and then putting the book out," says Malcolm Margolin, publisher of Heyday Books. "You talk about roles, but I think that the basis of it all is friendship and mutual respect."
Subsequently, when Heyday was approached by Foothill College instructor Scott Lankford to publish his book, Tahoe Beneath the Surface, Margolin reached out to Sierra College Press, knowing they would be interested in co-publishing, with Heyday covering the production, distribution, and marketing expenses.
Of the community and for the community
Although Sierra College Press is located on campus and the school funds Noy's position as an instructor, Center for Sierra Nevada Studies director, and editor-in-chief, all other expenses are paid for through community funding. That, coupled with the fact that all royalties and revenues from Sierra College Press come back to the press and the college, make the enterprise a viable and even potentially profitable one for the school. Partners and funders include the Sierra College Friends of the Library and the Rocklin Historical Society, which paid for the printing of The Illuminated Landscape.
"Civic volunteer groups like Rocklin Historical Society and community college organizations like Sierra College Press need the energy, ideas, and personal involvement that each bring to the table for the common good and the overall benefit of the community at large," says Roger Lokey, past president of the Rocklin Historical Society and member of the Sierra College Press Advisory Board. "Working with Gary Noy and the Sierra College Press has given the Rocklin Historical Society a new insight into the quality of work of our local college staff."
Sierra College Press has also created a niche for itself that is directly influenced by its surroundings—the Sierra Nevada. Not only does the press contribute Sierra Nevada-related books to the California Legacy Project, but it also publishes the e-journal, Snowy Range Reflections, the Journal of Sierra Nevada History and Biography. Edited by Sierra College history professor Daniel DeFoe, the online journal comes out several times a year and includes both written and audio content.
Outward and onward
While the press is very much a local effort, the community it has formed is not insular in any respect. Sierra College Press intentionally seeks out authors and journal contributors from all over the state and from various disciplines. The new partnership with Heyday Books is just the beginning of expansion hopes for Sierra College Press. It also plans to add a fine arts journal to its offerings and deepen its literary contributions on the Sierra Nevada. Wherever it goes next, Noy is confident that the college will be supportive.
"One of the things that has always been a hallmark at Sierra College is support for innovation," Noy says. "All the way along the route, we've had nothing but support from the community, faculty members, and Board of Trustees. We really think it's part of the tradition here."