Library of Congress press contact: Matt Raymond (202) 707-0020

NEA press contact: Samantha Kappalman, (202) 822-7268 or (202) 316-3980

February 27, 2009

Library of Congress to Host NEA's Read Across America Program on March 2

First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Members of Congress Join Local Area Children To Celebrate Reading in the Nation’s Library

The National Education Association (NEA) has selected the Library of Congress – the de facto national library – as the setting for the national kickoff of 2009 Read Across America Day from 10:45 a.m. to noon on Monday, March 2, in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, members of Congress, the Librarian of Congress and NEA President Dennis Van Roekel will read to nearly 400 local area school children at the Library of Congress. They will spread a very important message: Children who read—and are read to—do better in school and in life.

"It is fitting that we gather here today to celebrate the joy of reading and the importance of education," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, who will make opening remarks. "As the largest repository of knowledge and creativity within a single institution in the history of the world, the Library of Congress has been encouraging and training teachers and students to use its electronic resources in the classroom to create a nation of lifelong learners and readers."

All media covering the event must pre-register with the NEA press contact by 5 p.m., on Friday, Feb. 27. Press set-up time is 6–7 a.m. on March 2. Enter through the Carriage entrance on the ground floor of the Jefferson Building. Media may return to cover the event between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. Enter/exit through the Jefferson Building’s main entrance on the first floor. The building will be closed to the public all day, but open to researchers through designated entrances.

NEA’s Read Across America, an award-winning literacy campaign and the nation’s largest reading celebration, is sponsored by the NEA, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. and more than 50 national partners. Now in its 12th year, the program encourages children and adults in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author and illustrator Dr. Seuss. The 2009 theme is "Reading is Cool!"

Founded in 1977, the Center for the Book has actively promoted reading and literacy for more than three decades. The Library makes many reading-promotion resources available at www.literacy.gov and the Center for the Book’s Web site at www.loc.gov/cfbook/.

The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. For more information about NEA and the Read Across America program visit www.nea.org.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its Web site at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at myLOC.gov.

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PR 09-043
02/27/09
ISSN 0731-3527

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