Gregory Tague and his wife Fredericka Jacks, the owners of a publishing company called Bibliotekos, admit that their firm isn’t on the scale of giant publishing conglomerates like Simon and Schuster. But they believe they have carved out a small, but important corner in the world of books.
Tague and Jacks operate their publishing company on a shoe string budget out of their Bay Ridge home. The company, named for the Lithuanian word for books, publishes literary anthologies featuring contributions from both well known writers and unknowns. Their most recent book, “Being Human: Call of the Wild,” published in February, features 15 short stories with a common themes of the human character as it relates to the environment.
“We feel we’re doing our part to keep books alive,” Tague, a, English professor at Saint Frances College, said. “Even though everyone is reading e-books these days, we like to think that the print book will never go out completely. It has a purpose.”
The first book published by Bibliotekos name “Pain and Memory: Reflections on the Strength of the Human Spirit in Suffering,” a book of essays which was issued in 2009. Other titles include “Battle Runes: Writings on War,” and “Common Boundary: Stories of Immigration.”
It takes the couple approximately a year to complete the process of publishing each book. They start off by soliciting submission from writers on literary websites, pouring over the submissions to narrow down the list of those to be included in the book, and then edit the submissions. The final product is a paperback book. The couple chooses the writers carefully, Jacks, a homemaker, said. “These are people who value writing. Many of them are award winners,” she said.
The couple has a 15 year old daughter and work hard to balance family life, Tague’s academic career, and their literary pursuits.
Jacks grew up in Midwood and attended P.S. 152, Andreas Huddy Intermediate School, and Midwood High School. She majored in philosophy and religion at Wagner College. She was on her way toward earning a master’s degree in religion, with an eye toward teaching, from New York University when her father died and she decided to forgo the degree. “I had completed a year and a half. After my father passed away, I did a lot of thinking and decided that teaching wasn’t what I wanted to do,” Jacks recalled.
She went to work for Robert Morganthau, who was the Manhattan district attorney at the time, the 1980s, when Jacks was changing her career aspirations. “I worked in the community affairs office. I represented Mr. Morganthau at community meetings,” she said. Jacks enjoyed the job. “Mr. Morganthau did more than just prosecute crimes. He worked hard to improve neighborhoods. In my time there, I saw major improvements in neighborhoods in Manhattan,” she said.
Jacks left her job in 2004 to care for the daughter she and Tague had adopted from Lithuania. “We adopted our daughter in 2001. I decided to stop working because I felt I needed to focus on her,” she said.
Tague was born and raised in Bay Ridge. He is a graduate of Our Lady of Angels School and Saint Francis Prep. “I went there when it was in Greenpoint. It was a long commute!” he said. He earned a degree in English from Brooklyn College and went on to earn a PhD in English from New York University. He worked in a corporate law firm, writing reports and working in the library. “I was doing that while I was going to graduate school. Large law firms have tons of people working for them and many of them aren’t lawyers,” he said.
Tague, who always wanted to teach, found a job as an adjunct professor at St. Francis College. “Something opened up,” he said, and he was offered a full time position.
The idea for Bibliotekos came to Tague and Jacks a few years ago when they were talking about the types of books they would like to read and that they did not see in book stores. They decided to become publishers. “We’re trying to do a lot for the literary community,” Tague said.