Contact: John Sayers, Library of Congress (202) 707-9216
Contact: Alberto Rojas, Ad Council (212) 984-1913

September 14, 2007

Library of Congress Launches New Literacy Campaign, Public Outreach Features on Web Site

Ad Council Literacy PSAs, New E-mail Bulletin Service, Podcast Series and Updated Home Page Launched

As a prelude to its annual National Book Festival in Washington on Sept. 29, the Library of Congress today launched a series of public outreach initiatives designed to promote the joy of reading and to better share the Library's programs and collections with the public.

Lifelong Literacy: "Explore New Worlds: Read"

The Library and the Advertising Council announced a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) developed to inspire young people to "explore new worlds" through reading and to promote literacy in all types of learning, including books, periodicals and cartoons, through a new Web site.

The new PSAs, created pro bono by The Geppetto Group, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and the Brigham Young University (BYU) Ad Lab, are based on fiction classics "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" and the "Chronicles of Narnia," as well as stories of King Arthur and the Round Table. The PSAs aim to inspire children in grades four to six to get more enjoyment out of reading and thereby inspire them to become lifelong learners.

"Young people who read throughout their lives are not only more knowledgeable, but they are also better citizens and more engaged in the world around them," said Dr. James H. Billington, who today marked his 20th anniversary as Librarian of Congress. "The Library of Congress promotes lifelong literacy because reading is the cornerstone of any nation's global competitiveness, cultural health and collective wisdom."

"Our partnership with the Library of Congress has been exciting and tremendously rewarding," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "Education is a core value of the Ad Council, and we’re proud to inspire kids to become lifelong learners with this campaign."

According to the National Institute for Literacy, success in school, and life, starts with literacy. When young people become good readers in the early grades, they are more likely to become better learners throughout their school years and beyond. While parental involvement is critical, it ultimately comes down to inspiring individuals not only to read books, but also to find their own passion about reading in all forms.

The new PSAs, which will be distributed nationwide this week, can be viewed on the Ad Council’s Web site at www.adcouncil.org and at the Library's Lifelong Literacy Web site at www.literacy.gov/about/.

The Ad Council is a private, nonprofit organization with a rich history of marshaling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit www.adcouncil.org.

Public Outreach: E-mail, Podcasts, Home Page

The Library also today announced an expansion of its home page at www.loc.gov to better organize and highlight the many programs, events and collections available to the public at no charge through its extensive, award-winning Web site, as well as a new section that gives users an easy search path to the most popular topics and collections.

In addition, the Library launched two services to address the many requests of its customers for the delivery of direct content. A new e-mail update function lets users choose from a number of different topics and receive regular updates by e-mail, depending on their interest. Update services include such varied areas as upcoming readings and concerts from the Library, news from the John W. Kluge Center, a poem each day, the latest in science reference, updates to copyright legislation and breakthroughs in the area of digital preservation. The service expands and enhances the series of RSS news feeds launched by the Library earlier this year.

Also, the Library will begin to make its unparalleled resources more accessible to the wired world with the launch of a series of podcasts. The introductory programs, available at www.loc.gov/podcasts/, feature interviews with and readings by authors who will be appearing in person at this year's National Book Festival in Washington. Future podcasts will include presentations from the more than 70 authors taped at the festival on Sept. 29. For more information on the National Book Festival, visit www.loc.gov/bookfest/.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, which bring to bear the world’s knowledge in almost all of the world’s languages and America’s private sector intellectual and cultural creativity in almost all formats. The Library seeks to spark the public’s imagination and celebrate human achievement through its programs and exhibits. In doing so, the Library helps foster the informed and involved citizenry upon which American democracy depends. Today, the Library serves the public, scholars, Members of Congress and their staff—all of whom seek information, understanding and inspiration. Many of the Library’s rich resources may also be accessed through the Library’s award-winning Web site, www.loc.gov.

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PR 07-178
09/14/07
ISSN 0731-3527

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