April 24, 2001 First Lady Laura Bush is Honorary Chair of New Library of Congress National Reading Promotion Campaign

Press Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today announced that First Lady Laura Bush will serve as Honorary Chair of Telling America's Stories, the Library of Congress's national campaign to promote reading.

"I'm thrilled to work with the Library of Congress to promote one of my lifelong passions - reading," said Mrs. Bush. "By tapping into the rich history of our country, it is our hope that Telling America's Stories will underscore the importance of reading and inspire Americans of all ages to read more."

Telling America's Stories will be the Library of Congress's reading promotion theme for 2001-2003. Schools, libraries, museums, and historical societies across the nation are invited to join the campaign. Projects already are being developed by many of the affiliates of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress in 41 states and the District of Columbia. "The First Lady's involvement gives an immense boost to the Library's continuing effort, which began with the creation of the Center for the Book in 1977, to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy, and libraries," said Dr. Billington. "We invite families and individuals, as well as organizations throughout the country, to become involved."

Telling America's Stories is sponsored jointly by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Library's American Folklife Center. The campaign takes advantage of recent Library of Congress initiatives such as the Local Legacies Project, begun last year as part of the Library's Bicentennial celebration; the new Veterans' Oral History Project; and America's Library, the Library of Congress's new Web site for children and families at www.americaslibrary.gov.

Telling America's Stories supports and encourages state and local projects such as the California Center for the Book's "Telling California's Stories" program; the Hartford (Conn.) Public Library's project, "Telling Passages: The Stories, Wisdom, and History of the City's Ethnic Minorities"; and "Iowa Stories 2000," a project of Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack.

This is the seventh national reading promotion campaign initiated by the Center for the Book. For more information and specific ideas about how to participate in Telling America's Stories, consult the center's Web site at www.loc.gov/cfbook.


PR 01-070
ISSN 0731-3527