"Telling America's Stories" is the Library's new national reading promotion theme, sponsored jointly by the Center for the Book and the American Folklife Center.
"Stories connect people to the world of books and reading," said Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole. "We invite schools, libraries, museums, historical societies, families and individuals to join the campaign. We also will enlist the Center for the Book's affiliated centers and reading promotion partners throughout the country."
"Telling America's Stories" takes advantage of existing Center for the Book projects, the Local Legacies project that documented the nation's cultural traditions during the Library's Bicentennial year in 2000, and America's Library, the Library's new Web site for children and families at www.americaslibrary.gov.
"The American Folklife Center is delighted to be part of this campaign," said Director Peggy Bulger. "In addition to complementing the congressionally sponsored Local Legacies project, it fits nicely with our American Veterans' Oral History Project and our plans to strengthen the center's storytelling collections."
America's Library, the Library's popular new Web site, was designed to stimulate interest in American history among families and young people. It presents lively stories from America's past using unique items from the Library's collections—letters, diaries, prints and photographs, film, sound recordings, sheet music and maps. It recently received the 2000 New Media Invision Bronze Award for Best Education Site for Kids and the Standard of Excellence Web Award. It was also named one of the "Hot Sites for 2000" by USA Today.
The items on the Web site are presented in five categories: "Meet Amazing Americans," "Jump Back in Time," "Explore the States," "Join America at Play" and "See, Hear and Sing."
"Telling America's Stories" is the seventh national reading promotion campaign organized by the Center for the Book since 1987. Previous themes have included "The Year of the Young Reader" (1989), "Books Change Lives" (1993-1994), and "Building a Nation of Readers" (1997-2000).
How to Participate in 'Telling America's Stories'
For Individuals and Families
- Attend a storytelling festival (see the Book Event Calendar at www.loc.gov/cfbook)
- Collect your family's favorite stories
- Establish a family read-aloud hour
- Visit a local "literary landmark"
- Research and write about an event in the history of your community
- Visit the Library of Congress "Local Legacies" Web site at www.loc.gov/bicentennial/legacies.html
- Join a book discussion group
- Create a family cookbook
- Volunteer to read to patients in a hospital or nursing home
- Go to a reading at your local library or bookstore
- Ask friends and family members to tell you about their favorite book
- Volunteer to help at the local library, museum or historical society
- Visit the "America's Library Web site: www.americaslibrary.gov
For Schools and Libraries
- Establish a storytelling group
- Create a local literary map
- Create a tour of significant or interesting places in your community
- Invite local authors, television stars and public officials to talk about their favorite books
- Ask local book collectors about their collections
- Study and document the history of an old building in your community
- Organize a field trip to the local historical society
For Organizations and Businesses
- Sponsor an oral history of your organization
- Become a sponsor of a community book fair or storytelling festival
- Establish an employee storytelling or book discussion group
- Organize a contest asking members or employees to describe "a book that changed my life."
- Form a reading promotion partnership with a local school or library
- Become a sponsor of a local museum, library or historical society
- Organize a field trip to a local "literary landmark"
Ideas Based on the 'America's Library' Web Site (www.americaslibrary.gov)
Meet Amazing Americans
- Read a book about or by one of the famous Americans featured on the site
- Plan a visit to the home of a famous American
- Write a one-page description of the most amazing American you've ever known
Jump Back in Time
- Choose your favorite period in American history
- Find out what happened on one day in American history—today, or on your birthday
- Chose a favorite display in your local museum and interview yourself about why you like it
Explore the States
- Memorize the state capitals and challenge friends and family members to memorize them
- Visit your state capitol and make a list of statues on the capitol grounds
- List the most famous writers and poets who have lived in your state
- Learn about book events and reading promotion activities in your state by visiting the Center for the Book's Web site: www.loc.gov/cfbook
- Learn about folklife events and activities in your state by visiting the American Folklife Center's Web site: www.loc.gov/folklife
Join America at Play
- Interview friends and family members about their favorite sports
- Start a new scrapbook about family vacations and travel
- Describe your first airplane ride
See, Hear and Sing
- Make a list of your favorite songs and when you think you first heard them
- Visit a restored movie theater
- Try to remember the first time you listened to the radio and the first television program you ever saw