The Library of Congress and the Advertising Council launched a new national public service advertising (PSA) campaign on Oct. 13 designed to encourage children and adults to become engaged in reading and all other forms of literacy.
According to the National Institute for Literacy, success in school—and life—starts with literacy. When children become good readers in the early grades, they are more likely to become better learners throughout their school years and beyond. However, results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test found that 37 percent of American fourth-graders read below the “basic” level.
“The vision of the Library of Congress is to further the knowledge and wisdom needed for the sustenance of a free and informed citizenry, which is the very foundation of our democracy,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “Nothing is more important to this vision than the ability and desire to read and learn, and our efforts with organizations such as the Ad Council and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures to promote lifelong literacy are critical to that end.”
The new PSAs, aimed to reach children in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades and their parents, focus on engaging children in all forms of literacy, whether it is reading, studying history, visiting a museum or simply using their imaginations. The TV, radio, online and outdoor PSAs were developed in collaboration with the Ad Council and feature characters from the new film “Disney’s A Christmas Carol.” Additionally, a series of radio PSAs were created pro bono by BYU Ad Lab.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with the Library of Congress and to join with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures on this engaging and important campaign,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Advertising Council. “One of our missions is to ensure that all children have the opportunity to achieve their full potential in life. I am confident these PSAs will show children that literacy, in all its new and exciting forms, will enhance their lives in so many ways.”
All of the PSAs direct children and parents to visit the Library of Congress’ newly re-designed website, Read.gov. The new website is designed to promote reading and literacy and includes links to a companion educational center at www.thencba.org with resources and activities for teachers, parents and students. Also launching is “The Exquisite Corpse,” an exclusive online storytelling journey written and illustrated by a cast of award-winning authors and illustrators. (See story on page 203.) Over the next year, a new chapter will be posted every two weeks.
Since its launch in 2003, the Ad Council’s PSA campaign with the Library of Congress has received approximately $130 million in donated time and space from the media. Per the Ad Council model, the PSAs will be distributed to media outlets nationwide this week and will run and air in advertising time and space that is donated by the media.
The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org ) is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public-service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive healthcare, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.