First lady Laura Bush, joined by Sens. James Jeffords (R-Vt.) and Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Dr. Billington and journalist Bob Woodward, spoke out on behalf of literacy, reading and libraries at the Library on March 20.
NBC Television's Barbara Harrison moderated the event, which was cosponsored by the Library's Center for the Book and Everybody Wins! D.C., the largest literacy mentoring program in the Washington metropolitan area. The evening's theme was "Celebrating the Children of Our Nation's Capitol."
In his introduction of Mrs. Bush, Dr. Billington praised her "quiet, persistent and effective way of supporting education and what is best about Americans," noting that "we have much to learn from her example and her determination."
Mrs. Bush praised the one-on-one tutoring program of Everybody Wins! D.C. and called attention to the president's plans to emphasize education and reading.
Other speakers in the program, which was filmed by C-SPAN for weekend viewing on Book-TV, included Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole, Joanie Chase and Mary Salander of Everybody Wins! D.C., and Nick Chabraja, chairman and CEO of General Dynamics, an Everybody Wins! D.C. participant and supporter.
Everybody Wins! D.C. was launched by members of the House and Senate in 1995 with 40 volunteers reading to students in two schools on Capitol Hill. Today more than 1,400 children are being served in schools throughout the region, and more than 400 congressional staff and several members of Congress, including Sens. Jeffords and Kennedy, read in the program each week.
Everybody Wins! is one of the Center for the Book's 90 national reading promotion partners. This was the seventh reading promotion event sponsored by the Center for the Book in 2001.