As librarians from around the country gathered in the Washington Convention Center for the 2007 American Library Association annual conference in late June, the Library hosted a press conference to announce plans for the 2007 National Book Festival and to unveil a series of public service announcements (PSAs) produced as part of the Library's eight-year partnership with the Advertising Council.
Television, radio, print and Web PSAs will promote the love of reading to a key age group, children 9–12 years old. Kathy Crosby, senior vice president for the Ad Council, cited studies that say children lose interest in reading for fun as they grow older. "In the fourth grade, 45 percent of children read for fun every day," she said. "By the time they get to eighth grade, only 19 percent say [they do]."
The Library and the Ad Council have created a literacy-promotion campaign with the theme "Explore New Worlds: Read." A rough cut of the first television spot was shown—a warm, evocative piece with a fantasy train-travel motif; the full campaign will be launched later this summer. The ads will promote the Library's Lifelong Literacy Web site (www.loc.gov/literacy/ or www.literacy.gov), which will add new activity features in conjunction with the launch of the PSAs.
Director of Communications Matt Raymond discussed the lineup of authors who will participate in the Sept. 29 book festival and presented the 2007 NBF poster, the work of noted artist Mercer Mayer, illustrator of more than 300 children's books. The whimsical poster was inspired by the work of classic American illustrator N. C. Wyeth, a leading figure in American art in the first part of the 20th century; it includes a dragon, a giant and other fantastic creatures surrounding a family of enrapt readers.
"Both the book festival and our public service campaign are key parts of the Library's campaign to reach out to the public and encourage a love of the book and a lifelong joy of reading," said Raymond.
More information about the book festival can be found at www.loc.gov/bookfest/.